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Elias Canetti


Elias Canetti was actually born in Bulgaria or, rather, in what became Bulgaria, specifically the town of Ruse, which, at that time, was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But he is as Austrian as, say, Kafka and Rilke. In fact, he left Ruse when he was six, going first to Manchester, England and then drifting round Bulgaria, Switzerland and Austria, before returning to England when Hitler took over Austria. He stayed in England till his death in 1994, having long since become a British citizen, apart from a brief spell in Zurich in the 1970s. So what does that make him? Austrian like Kafka or Rilke? He did, after all, write in German. Or British? Whatever he is, I have made him Austrian though his mother tongue was Ladino and not German.

Canetti was born in 1905. He studied in Zurich and decided to write in German. He continued his studies in Vienna in chemistry. He met Bertolt Brecht, Isaac Babel and Georg Grosz in Berlin. At this time he decided to write a series of eight novels on madness, the first of which – Die Blendung (UK: Auto da Fé; US: The Tower of Babel) – became his best-known work. Also influential on his writing was a mob attack in 1927 in Vienna on the Palace of Justice which gave him a picture of the power and psychology of the mob, leading to his book Masse und Macht (Crowds and Power), though his dramatic work was also influenced by his interest in mobs and fascism. He won the Nobel Prize in 1981. He died in 1994.

Books about Elias Canetti

Thomas H. Falk: Elias Canetti

Other links

Elias Canetti
Elias Canetti
Elias Canetti (in German)
Elias Canetti (in German)
Elias Canetti (in German)
Canetti, Elias (in German)


1932 Hochzeit (Wedding)
1934 Komödie der Eitelkeit (Comedy of Vanity)
1935 Blendung (UK: Auto da Fé; US: The Tower of Babel)
1960 Masse und Macht (Crowds and Power)
1964 Die Befristeten (The Numbered)
1964 Dramen
1965 Aufzeichnungen, 1942-1948
1967 Die Stimmen von Marrakesch (The Voices of Marrakesh: a Record of a Visit)
1969 Der andere Prozess. Kafkas Briefe an Felice (Kafka’s Other Trial; the Letters to Felice)
1970 Alle vergeudete Verehrung; Aufzeichnungen, 1949-1960
1972 Die gespaltene Zukunft; Aufsätze und Gespräche
1972 Macht und Überleben; drei Essays
1973 Provinz des Menschen Aufzeichnungen, 1942-1972 (The Human Province)
1974 Der Ohrenzeube: Fünfzig Charaktere (Ear Witness)
1975 Gewissen der Worte (The Conscience of Words)
1975 Der überlebende
1976 Der Beruf des Dichters
1977 Die gerettete Zunge : Geschichte einer Jugend (The Tongue Set Free : Remembrance of a European Childhood)
1980 Die Fackel im Ohr: Lebensgeschichte 1921-1931 (The Torch in my Ear)
1980 Hebel und Kafka
1981 Hochzeit (The Wedding)
1985 Das Augenspiel: Lebengeschichte 1931-1937 (The Play of the Eyes)
1987 Das Geheimherz der Uhr : Aufzeichnungen, 1973-1985 (The Secret Heart of the Clock : Notes, Aphorisms, Fragments, 1973-1985)
1992 Die Fliegenpein: Aufzeichnungen (The Agony of Flies : Notes and Notations)
1993 Aufzeichnungen, 1942-1985
1994 Nachträge aus Hampstead Notes from Hampstead: the Writer’s Notes, 1954-1971)
1995 Wortmasken
1996 Aufzeichnungen, 1992-1993
1999 Aufzeichnungen, 1973-1984
2003 Party im Blitz; Die englischen Jahre (Party in the Blitz)
2003 Über den Tod (The Book Against Death)
2005 Aufzeichnungen für Marie-Louise
2005 Werke X: Aufsätze – Reden – Gespräche