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Canetti and Power

John Bayley, 17 December 1981

Auto da Fé 
by Elias Canetti, translated by C.V. Wedgwood.
Cape, 464 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 224 00568 5
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The Tongue Set Free: Remembrance of a European Childhood 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Continuum, 268 pp., $12.95, June 1979, 0 8164 9103 8
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The Human Province 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Continuum, 281 pp., $12.95, June 1978, 0 8164 9335 9
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Crowds and Power 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Carol Stewart.
Penguin, 575 pp., £2.95, October 1978, 0 14 003616 4
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Kafka’s Other Trial: The Letters to Felice 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Christopher Middleton.
Marion Boyars, 121 pp., £5.95, October 1976, 0 7145 1136 6
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The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit 
by Elias Canetti, translated by J.A. Underwood.
Marion Boyars, 103 pp., £5.50, January 1978, 0 7145 2579 0
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The Conscience of Words 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Continuum, 246 pp., $12.95, May 1979, 0 8164 9334 0
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... moment, every advantage’. Paradoxically, the same would be true of the literary personality of Elias Canetti. Behind its approachable modesty, its avoidance of every publicity and image-making process, there is a loftiness, an assurance, a stance of absolute superiority. Indeed the modesty and the dignity make the same point: why make a fuss about ...

Serious Dr Sonne

Philip Purser, 6 December 1990

The Play of the Eyes 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Deutsch, 329 pp., £14.95, August 1990, 0 233 98570 0
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Yellow Street 
by Veza Canetti, translated by Ian Mitchell.
Halban, 139 pp., £11.95, November 1990, 1 870015 36 3
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... At the beginning of the third volume of his autobiography, Elias Canetti is still in his twenties. He has been cooped up for a year in a bed-sitter on the outskirts of Vienna with only a print of the Isenheim altar as company, working on the grim novel that was eventually to be called Auto da Fé. Early one morning he catches the first workman’s train into town, dashes through empty streets and lets himself into the apartment of his loved one, later his wife, Veza – she has given him a latchkey against such an eventuality ...

Canetti’s Later Work

J.P. Stern, 3 July 1986

The Conscience of Words 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Deutsch, 166 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 9780233979007
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The Human Province 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Deutsch, 281 pp., £9.85, October 1985, 0 233 97837 2
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... In The Conscience of Words Elias Canetti has collected 15 mainly literary essays and addresses written between 1964 and 1975 (the German edition, first published in 1975, contained a slightly different selection). The Human Province (first published in 1973) consists of aphorisms and reflections from Canetti’s notebooks, most of them written while he was working on Crowds and Power (1960), which he regards as his most important contribution to 20th-century thought ...

Cuban Heels with Twisting Tongues

Salman Rushdie, 4 June 1981

Three Trapped Tigers 
by G. Cabrera Infante.
Picador, 487 pp., £2.95, August 1980, 0 330 26133 9
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... Jump-cut to the present. Cabrera Infante is now living in London, almost completely ignored, like Elias Canetti before him, by the capital’s lovers of literature: however, his acclaimed novel Three Trapped Tigers has at last been published in England; a mere 13 years after its completion. In paperback, too: a snip at under three pounds. Hurry while ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: ‘Migrations’, 8 March 2012

... meets everyone from James Dean, ‘one of the first people to encourage my art’, to Elias Canetti, ‘the writer of Auto da Fé, with whom I drank cups of coffee in the cafés of Hampstead, while discussing the merits of Chinese civilisation’.) Demos finds something facile in nomadic cosmopolitanism, relating it to the ‘triumphalist ...

Gentlemen Travellers

Denis Donoghue, 18 December 1986

Between the Woods and the Water 
by Patrick Leigh Fermor et al.
Murray, 248 pp., £13.95, October 1986, 0 7195 4264 2
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Coasting 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins, 301 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 00 272119 8
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The Grand Tour 
by Hunter Davies.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11907 3
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... that character’s father, Rudolph Virag of Szombathely, and he has forgotten to restore to ‘Elias Cavetti’ his proper name, Elias Canetti. Minor details, indeed. As a song of the open road, Between the Woods and the Water is a lively, engaging book. On 1 April 1982, Jonathan Raban set out from Fowey Estuary in ...

Mountain Novel, Hitler Novel

D.A.N. Jones, 1 October 1987

The Spell 
by Hermann Broch, translated by H.F. Broch de Rothermann.
Deutsch, 391 pp., £11.95, May 1987, 0 233 98049 0
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Hermann Broch: A Biography 
by Paul Michael Lützeler, translated by Janice Furness.
Quartet, 329 pp., £25, June 1987, 0 7043 2604 3
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... then he became a professional writer, got divorced and was hard-up. I consulted his old friend, Elias Canetti, who tells me: ‘In 1934/5, when Broch was working on the first draft, he used to speak of it as the Bergroman.’ The mountain novel, I suppose, though some have translated it as ‘the chthonic novel’: anyway, it suggests that the ...

One blushes to admit it

D.J. Enright, 11 June 1992

The Heart of Europe: Essays on Literature and Ideology 
by J.P. Stern.
Blackwell, 415 pp., £45, April 1992, 0 631 15849 9
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... and merge, if the distinction between them is repealed, then discord will follow. He observes of Elias Canetti that in his earlier work, specifically Crowds and Power, his thought is uneasily located somewhere between extended metaphor and literal truth. In the manner of fiction, its arguments are ‘picturesque’; the particulars are tellingly ...

Tsk, Ukh, Hmmm

Michael Newton: Forgetting to remember to forget, 23 February 2006

Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 287 pp., £18.95, May 2005, 1 890951 49 8
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... him. In Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language, Daniel Heller-Roazen recounts a parallel story. Elias Canetti grew up in Bulgaria speaking Ladino, the ‘largely medieval Spanish of the Sephardim’. Bulgarian was the language used by the family servants. However, while Canetti, his family and friends spoke ...

City of Blood

Peter Pulzer, 9 November 1989

The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph 
by Robert Wistrich.
Oxford, 696 pp., £45, June 1989, 0 19 710070 8
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Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History 
by Steven Beller.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £27.50, August 1989, 0 521 35180 4
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The German-Jewish Economic Elite 1820-1935: A Socio-Cultural Profile 
by W.E. Mosse.
Oxford, 369 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 822990 9
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Decadence and Innovation: Austro-Hungarian Life and Art at the Turn of the Century 
edited by Robert Pynsent.
Weidenfeld, 258 pp., £25, June 1989, 0 297 79559 7
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The Torch in My Ear 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Deutsch, 372 pp., £13.95, August 1989, 0 233 98434 8
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From Vienna to Managua: Journey of a Psychoanalyst 
by Marie Langer, translated by Margaret Hooks.
Free Association, 261 pp., £27.50, July 1989, 1 85343 057 9
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... be. They would be gratified by the retrospective confirmation of their theses in autobiographies. Elias Canetti, born in Bulgaria, was even less of Vienna than those who were Habsburg citizens. But when he arrived there at the age of 19 he soon acclimatised: ‘The young people I associated with hadn’t been to war. But they all attended Karl Kraus’s ...

Homesickness

Eric Hobsbawm, 8 April 1993

Jews and the German State: The Political History of a Minority, 1848-1933 
by Peter Pulzer.
Blackwell, 370 pp., £35, March 1992, 0 631 17282 3
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The Jews of Germany: A Historical Portrait 
by Ruth Gay.
Yale, 336 pp., £19.95, September 1992, 0 300 05155 7
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... have experienced the force, the grandeur and beauty of that culture, which made the Bulgarian Jew Elias Canetti write in the middle of World War Two that ‘the language of my intellect will remain German,’ can fully realise what its loss meant. Only those whose surnames still record the Hessian, Swabian and Franconian villages and market-towns of ...

Kafka’s Dog

P.N. Furbank, 13 November 1997

The Treasure Chest 
by Johann Peter Hebel, translated by John Hibberd.
Libris/Penguin, 175 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 14 044639 7
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... Gogol loved his stories, Tolstoy knew some of them by heart, and Walter Benjamin, Heidegger and Elias Canetti have paid ardent tribute to them. The praise is well deserved. This Treasure Chest strikes me as quite a treasure; and the new edition, with its chaste green jacket and endpapers, spacious layout and most ‘speaking’ woodcut illustrations ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: The Almanach de Gotha, 2 July 1998

... Franz Joseph Maximilian Maria Antonius Ignatius Lamoral, ninth Prince von Thurn & Taxis. As Elias Canetti has it in ‘The King-Proclaimer’, the first part of his Earwitness: It is touching to see her with forgotten kings, she never forgets them, she retains even the worst has-beens among them, writes to them, sends them suitable small ...

Baby Power

Marina Warner, 6 July 1989

The Romantic Child: From Runge to Sendak 
by Robert Rosenblum.
Thames and Hudson, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1989, 0 500 55020 4
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Caldecott & Co: Notes on Books and Pictures 
by Maurice Sendak.
Reinhardt, 216 pp., £13.95, March 1989, 1 871061 06 7
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Dear Mili 
by Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Ralph Manheim and Maurice Sendak.
Viking Kestrel, £9.95, November 1988, 0 670 80168 2
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Grimms’ Bad Girls and Bold Boys: The Moral and Social Vision of the ‘Tales’ 
by Ruth Bottigheimer.
Yale, 211 pp., £8.95, April 1989, 0 300 04389 9
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The one who set out to study fear 
by Peter Redgrove.
Bloomsbury, 183 pp., £13.95, April 1989, 0 7475 0187 4
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... performances of Druidic rites – again a form of nativist revival, and highly dubious. Elias Canetti wrote: ‘Folk tales can teach us what we can expect from the world.’ Those who oppose fairy-tales’ pretensions to universal and timeless truth find in the stories a record of specific, shared anxieties of a particular time and ...

How Montale earned his living

Clive James, 17 February 1983

The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays of Eugenio Montale 
translated by Jonathan Galassi.
Ecco, 354 pp., $17.50, October 1982, 0 912946 84 9
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Prime alla Scala 
by Eugenio Montale.
Mondadori (Milan), 522 pp., October 1981
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Eugenio Montale’s Poetry: A Dream in Reason’s Presence 
by Glauco Cambon.
Princeton, 274 pp., £16.80, January 1983, 0 691 06520 9
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... essays in modern times, but the earlier Auto da Fé of 1966 (Montale must have been unaware that Elias Canetti had given the English version of Die Blendung that same title) is its necessary complement, being concerned with the question of mass culture – a question made more vexing for Montale by the fact that, although he didn’t like mass ...

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