Scenes of writing: Beckett and the technology of inscription

Paul Sheehan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Writing as a form of information technology has historically inspired suspicion, mistrust and downright hostility. This essay considers the recent (re)conception of writing as a cognitive artefact, assisting in the mind's extension into the world. The discussion focuses on two of Beckett's 'writing-oriented' novels, Malone dies and How It Is, and applies the Extended Mind (EM) thesis to the most revealing and forcible episodes of inscription in each work. Although Beckett abjures the benefits that cognitive extension can bring, reading these two novels in this light can elucidate both the potential applications and the pressure-points of the EM thesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-149
Number of pages12
JournalSamuel Beckett Today - Aujourd'hui
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Extended Mind
  • Extortion
  • Kafka
  • Modernism
  • Selfhood
  • Writing


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