Elias Canetti

Last updated
Elias Canetti
Elias Canetti 2.jpg
Born(1905-07-25)25 July 1905
Ruse, Bulgaria
Died14 August 1994(1994-08-14) (aged 89)
Zürich, Switzerland
OccupationNovelist
LanguageGerman
NationalityBulgarian, British
Alma mater University of Vienna
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Literature
1981
SpouseVeza Taubner-Calderon
(m. 1934–1963)
Hera Buschor(m. 1971)

Elias Canetti ( /kəˈnɛti,kɑː-/ ; [1] Bulgarian : Елиас Канети; 25 July 1905 – 14 August 1994) was a German-language author, born in Ruse, Bulgaria to a merchant family. They moved to Manchester, England, but his father died in 1912, and his mother took her three sons back to the continent. They settled in Vienna.

Contents

Canetti moved to England in 1938 after the Anschluss to escape Nazi persecution. He became a British citizen in 1952. He is known as a modernist novelist, playwright, memoirist, and non-fiction writer. [2] He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981, "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power". [3] He is noted for his non-fiction book Crowds and Power , among other works.

Life and work

Early life

Born in 1905 to businessman Jacques Canetti and Mathilde née Arditti in Ruse, a city on the Danube in Bulgaria, Canetti was the eldest of three sons. [4] His ancestors were Sephardi Jews. [5] His paternal ancestors settled in Ruse from Ottoman Adrianople. [4] The original family name was Cañete, named after Cañete, Cuenca, a village in Spain.

In Ruse, Canetti's father and grandfather were successful merchants who operated out of a commercial building, which they had built in 1898. [6] Canetti's mother descended from the Arditti family, one of the oldest Sephardi families in Bulgaria, who were among the founders of the Ruse Jewish colony in the late 18th century. The Ardittis can be traced to the 14th century, when they were court physicians and astronomers to the Aragonese royal court of Alfonso IV and Pedro IV. Before settling in Ruse, they had migrated into Italy and lived in Livorno in the 17th century. [7]

Elias Canetti's native house in Ruse, Bulgaria Elias Canettis fodested.JPG
Elias Canetti's native house in Ruse, Bulgaria

Canetti spent his childhood years, from 1905 to 1911, in Ruse until the family moved to Manchester, England, where Canetti's father joined a business established by his wife's brothers. In 1912, his father died suddenly, and his mother moved with their children first to Lausanne, then Vienna in the same year. They lived in Vienna from the time Canetti was aged seven onwards. His mother insisted that he speak German, and taught it to him. By this time Canetti already spoke Ladino (his native language), Bulgarian, English, and some French; the latter two he studied in the one year they were in Britain. Subsequently, the family moved first (from 1916 to 1921) to Zürich and then (until 1924) to Frankfurt, where Canetti graduated from high school.

Canetti went back to Vienna in 1924 in order to study chemistry. However, his primary interests during his years in Vienna became philosophy and literature. Introduced into the literary circles of First-Republic-Vienna, he started writing. Politically leaning towards the left, he was present at the July Revolt of 1927 – he came near to the action accidentally, was most impressed by the burning of books (recalled frequently in his writings), and left the place quickly with his bicycle. [8] He gained a degree in chemistry from the University of Vienna in 1929, but never worked as a chemist.

He published two works in Vienna before escaping to Great Britain. He reflected the experiences of Nazi Germany and political chaos in his works, especially exploring mob action and group thinking in his novel Die Blendung ( Auto-da-Fé , 1935) and non-fiction Crowds and Power (1960). He wrote several volumes of memoirs, contemplating the influence of his multi-lingual background and childhood.

Canetti's tomb-stone in Zurich, Switzerland Elias Canetti tomb-stone.jpg
Canetti's tomb-stone in Zürich, Switzerland

Personal life

Canetti Peak, Antarctica, named after Elias Canetti Canetti Peak.jpg
Canetti Peak, Antarctica, named after Elias Canetti

In 1934 in Vienna he married Veza (Venetiana) Taubner-Calderon (1897–1963), who acted as his muse and devoted literary assistant. Canetti remained open to relationships with other women. He had a short affair with Anna Mahler. In 1938, after the Anschluss with Germany, the Canettis moved to London. He became closely involved with the painter Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, who was to remain a close companion for many years. His name has also been linked with the author Iris Murdoch (see John Bayley's Iris, A Memoir of Iris Murdoch, which has several references to an author, referred to as "the Dichter", who was a Nobel Laureate and whose works included Die Blendung [English title Auto-da-Fé ]).

After Veza died in 1963, Canetti married Hera Buschor (1933–1988), with whom he had a daughter, Johanna, in 1972. Canetti's brother Jacques Canetti settled in Paris, where he championed a revival of French chanson. [9] Despite being a German-language writer, Canetti settled in Britain until the 1970s, receiving British citizenship in 1952. For his last 20 years, Canetti lived mostly in Zürich.

Career

A writer in German, Canetti won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981, "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power". He is known chiefly for his celebrated trilogy of autobiographical memoirs of his childhood and of pre-Anschluss Vienna: Die Gerettete Zunge (The Tongue Set Free); Die Fackel im Ohr (The Torch in My Ear), and Das Augenspiel (The Play of the Eyes); for his modernist novel Auto-da-Fé (Die Blendung); and for Crowds and Power , a psychological study of crowd behaviour as it manifests itself in human activities ranging from mob violence to religious congregations.

In the 1970s, Canetti began to travel more frequently to Zurich, where he settled and lived for his last 20 years. He died in Zürich in 1994. [10]

Honours and awards

Works

See also

Related Research Articles

Ruse, Bulgaria City in Bulgaria

Ruse, is the fifth largest city in Bulgaria. Ruse is in the northeastern part of the country, on the right bank of the Danube, opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, approximately 75 km (47 mi) south of Bucharest, Romania's capital, 200 km (124 mi) from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and 300 km (186 mi) from the capital Sofia. It is the most significant Bulgarian river port, serving an important part of the international trade of the country.

Hermann Broch Austrian writer

Hermann Broch was a 20th-century Austrian writer, considered one of the major Modernists.

Tomas Tranströmer Swedish poet, psychologist and translator

Tomas Gösta Tranströmer was a Swedish poet, psychologist and translator. His poems captured the long Swedish winters, the rhythm of the seasons and the palpable, atmospheric beauty of nature. Tranströmer's work is also characterized by a sense of mystery and wonder underlying the routine of everyday life, a quality which often gives his poems a religious dimension. He has been described as a Christian poet.

Peter Rosei Austrian literary writer

Peter Rosei is an Austrian literary writer.

Austrian literature is the literature written in Austria, which is mostly, but not exclusively, written in the German language. Some scholars speak about Austrian literature in a strict sense from the year 1806 on when Francis II disbanded the Holy Roman Empire and established the Austrian Empire. A more liberal definition incorporates all the literary works written on the territory of today's and historical Austria, especially when it comes to authors who wrote in German. Thus, the seven volume history of Austrian literature by the editors Herbert Zeman and Fritz Peter Knapp is titled Geschichte der Literatur in Österreich. The Austrian literature must be considered in close connection with German literature in general, and the borderline between proper German literature and the Austrian one is porous, due to rich and complex cultural exchanges.

Christoph Ransmayr Austrian writer

Christoph Ransmayr is an Austrian writer.

Germans in Bulgaria settlement of Germans in Bulgaria

Germans are a minority ethnic group in Bulgaria. Although according to the 2001 census they numbered 436, the settlement of Germans in Bulgaria has a long and eventful history and comprises several waves, the earliest in the Middle Ages.

Peter von Matt Swiss philologist

Peter von Matt is a Swiss philologist and author.

<i>Auto-da-Fé</i> (novel) literary work

Auto da Fé is a 1935 novel by Elias Canetti; the title of the English translation refers to the burning of heretics by the Inquisition.

Theodor Kramer Austrian writer

Theodor Kramer was an Austrian poet of Jewish origin. He was persecuted during the Second World War and fled to the United Kingdom. After his death his significant poetic output fell into obscurity, but has been rediscovered in recent decades. Several of his poems have been set to music.

Dame Cicely Veronica Wedgwood, was an English historian who published under the name C. V. Wedgwood. Specializing in the history of 17th-century England and Continental Europe, her biographies and narrative histories are said to have provided a clear, entertaining middle ground between popular and scholarly works.

Jacques Canetti French businessman

Nessim Jacques Canetti was a French music executive and a talent agent. Born into a Sephardic Jewish family, his parents were Jacques Elias (Elieser) and Matilda Canetti. He was the brother of the Nobel Prize-winning author Elias Canetti (1905-1994) and of Georges Canetti (1911-1971), a researcher and professor at the Pasteur Institute. Canetti studied at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales.

Ventseslav Konstantinov Bulgarian writer and Translator

Ventseslav Konstantinov was a Bulgarian writer, aphorist and translator of German and English literature.

Oleksiy Logvynenko was a Ukrainian translator who specialized in translating from German and English.

Israel Calmi

Doctor Israel Moshe Calmi was an attorney in the city of his birth and afterwards in Sofia. Later, he was a member of the Jewish Consistory of Bulgaria. He took an active role in the struggle for the restoration of the rights of the Jews after the Second World War.

David Gordon John Roberts is an Australian professor of German studies. He was awarded a Ph.D at Monash University in 1968, supervised by Leslie Bodi. His main areas of research are modern German literature, socio-aesthetics of literature and the arts, and the aesthetic theory and cultural history of European modernism.

Anna Kim Austrian writer

Anna Kim is an Austrian writer.

Events in the year 1981 in Bulgaria.

References

  1. "Canetti". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .
  2. Lorenz, Dagmar C.G. (2009). "Introduction" . A Companion to the Works of Elias Canetti. Twayne Publishers. pp.  350. ISBN   978-080-578-276-9.
  3. nobelprize.org. "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1981" . Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  4. 1 2 Lorenz, Dagmar C. G. (17 April 2004). "Elias Canetti". Literary Encyclopedia. The Literary Dictionary Company Limited. ISSN   1747-678X . Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  5. "Heroes – Trailblazers of the Jewish People". Beit Hatfutsot.
  6. "The Canetti House – a forum for alternative culture". Internationale Elias Canetti Gesellschaft. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  7. Angelova, Penka (2006). "Die Geburtsstadt von Elias Canetti" (PDF). Elias Canetti: Der Ohrenzeuge des Jahrhunderts (in German). Internationale Elias-Canetti-Gesellschaft Rousse. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  8. Stieg, Gerard, Fruits de Feu - l'incendie du Palais du Justice de Vienne en 1927 et ses consequences dans la Littérature Autrichienne. Université de Rouen ( ISBN   9782877750080), 1989.
  9. Patrick Labesse (10 June 1997). "Jacques Canetti, Le découvreur de Brassens et de Brel". Le Monde. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  10. Encyclopædia Britannica profile
  11. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 348. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  12. "Hanser Verlag author page" . Retrieved 12 November 2013.

Bibliography

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. http://www.capacitedaffect.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Brighenti-2011-Elias-Canetti-and-the-Counter-Image-of-Resistance.pdf