Broadcasting the Mind: Extended Cognition in Beckett’s Radio Plays

  • Olga Beloborodova
  • Pim Verhulst
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature book series (PMEL)


This chapter argues that the radio medium had an important influence on the development of Beckett’s ‘postcognitivist modernism’. While his first radio play, All That Fall, was still quite conventional in the way it resorts to dramatic techniques and depicts fictional minds as an interaction between inside and outside, Embers set off on a radical course leading to the later ‘bare’ soundscapes. Critics have typically defined the evolution of Beckett’s radio drama as an extreme form of the ‘inward turn’, completely obliterating the ‘outside’ world, following the trajectory of the so-called ‘trilogy’. Drawing on theories of extended cognition, we seek to nuance this position by proposing that Beckett does not exclude external reality but instead collapses the distinction between ‘external’ and ‘internal’, so that ‘what are called outside and inside are one and the same’, as Beckett wrote about the painter Bram van Velde to Georges Duthuit in 1949.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga Beloborodova
    • 1
  • Pim Verhulst
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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