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July 25: Elias Canetti

July 25, 2014

icanett001p1Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981, Elias Canetti was born to a Sephardic Jewish family in Ruse, Bulgaria on this date in 1905. He lived in Vienna from age 7 and became fluent in German, the language in which he chose to write. He also spoke English and French, in addition to Bulgarian and his native Ladino. A leftist, Canetti participated in the July Revolt of 1927, an uprising and general strike in Vienna, and fled to London after the Nazis entered Austria in 1938. His best-known books were autobiographical memoirs of pre-Anschluss Vienna, a modernist novel Auto-da-Fé, and a study of crowd behavior ranging from worship to mob violence, Crowds and Power. He was also a playwright and travel writer. Canetti died at 89 in Zurich in 1994.

“The process of writing has something infinite about it. Even though it is interrupted each night, it is one single notation.” --Elias Canetti