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Elias Canetti · Paperback Auto Da Fé is the story of Peter Kien, a distinguished, reclusive sinologist living in Germany between the wars. Auto-da-Fé, novel by Elias Canetti, published in in German as Die Blendung (“The Deception”). It was also published in English as The Tower of Babel. Auto da Fé was originally published as Die Blendung in and was translated in by C.V. Wedgwood (Dame Cicely Veronica.

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I agree that the first part is more accessible, after that it seems to descend into madness just as Fanetti does. View all 29 comments. Yet, there remains a sense that he is not completely certain. The main character Kien, wants to believe his wife is now dead.

You are commenting using your Facebook account. The book probably deserves it.

View all 4 comments. They do it again and again. View all 13 comments. I first read it 40 years ago, and I am in the process now of reading it again. This seems to be what may arise during the heightened whirlwind of a creative process.

Ultimately, however, despite the pleasant taste left in my mouth by the ending, I was disappointed with this book and have quite mixed feelings about recommending it to any but the most serious and patient of readers. Ultimately, his marriage—intended to protect both himself and his library—destroys both instead, in the conflagration alluded to by the English-language title, Auto-da-Fe.

Recommended to Nate by: Kien descends to the criminal underbelly of Vienna, befriending a dwarf named Fischerle, who dreams of defrauding Kien and travelling to America to become chess champion.


He considers them animals pimped up to resemble human beings. So she keeps on asking for his will. On the way home from the marriage ceremony, Kien, a virgin, has brief but intense fantasies about consummating the marriage, revealing his ignorance of sex as well as disturbing ideas about women misogyny is one of the most pervasive themes in the book, usually to the degradation and downfall of the characters, though not explicitly condemned by the narrative:.

The Unknown God, dwelling in splendid intellectual isolation, is always a potent cult figure. Notify me of new comments via email. Anyway, the book is long: Jan 18, Simona rated it it was amazing.

The tone of Auto da Fe is somewhat dismal, despite its comedic flow, because the human condition Canetti describes is somewhat dismal.

Canetti and Power

He talks to books and the latter talks back to him. Peter dislikes novels because he knows canetit they work, and he is implicitly a believer in totalitarian culture. His back is now bent, fragile hands shake.

What could possibly go wrong? I wonder if Canetti only came upon these powers ce the midst of writing this, his only novel. He was forced to leave Austria inemigrating to England with his wife, Veza. Among themselves, they spoke the Spanish dialect called Ladino, and they had until recently been Turkish citizens. How bookworm of a bookworm? I don’t regret having read this book.

‘Auto da Fé’ by Elias Canetti | Intermittencies of the Mind

He sees the crucial area both of power and of freedom in the private life, the area which Hobbesian authority exists to encourage and protect. The three star rating is a compromise between the 1 and 2 star rating I was certain I would give this book until about page after which we are clearly in at least 4 star territory when I finally encountered some lyricism in Canetti’s prose, a likable character, and something more than a bunch of solipsistic maniacs bumping into one another and bickering over money.


Apr 20, Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing. Father takes my books away. With masterly precision, Canetti reveals Kien’s character, displaying the flawed personal relationships which ultimately lead to his destruction.

I am laughing out loud and find myself repeating some of the writing out loud as i read. Internet URLs are the best. A certain weight and mass it gestates slowly raising questions at the most inopportune times, resting within and waiting with its slow melancholic smile. It appears only natural that this unworldly bookworm would ultimately go up in smoke with his entire library.


Each character has his own ideological touchstone which he values above all else, including actual personal well-being. The world’s largest book fair served as the launching pad for DW’s bilingual literature special project.

Peter is a sinologist one who studies China and he is greatly fixated and obsessed with his books up to the point that he is always afraid that they might go up in smoke so he hires Therese to dust and take care of them. I don’t know anything about it, I don’t speak Italian. Looking back and looking forwa… on.