Elias Salomon Canetti, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1981

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Elias Salomon Canetti

Also Known As: "Елиас Жак Канети", "Eliachicu (p. 25)"
Birthplace: Roustchouk, Rustchuk, Русе, Ruse, Bulgaria
Death: Died in Zurich, Switzerland
Place of Burial: Zurich, Fluntern, Switzerland
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacques Elias Canetti and Mathilde Mazal CANETTI
Husband of Veza Canetti and Hera Canetti
Father of <private> CANETTI (Canetti)
Brother of Nissim Jacques Canetti and Georges CANETTI

Occupation: Écrivain - Prix Nobel de littérature en 1981
Managed by: Yves SOBEL
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elias Salomon Canetti, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1981

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elias_Canetti

Elias Canetti (Bulgarian: Елиас Канети; 25 July 1905–14 August 1994) was a Bulgarian-born novelist and non-fiction writer of Sephardi Jewish ancestry who wrote in German. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981.


Born to Jacques Canetti and Mathilde née Arditti in Ruse, a city on the Danube in Bulgaria, Elias Canetti was the eldest of three sons in a Jewish merchant family.[1] His ancestors were Sephardi Jews who had been expelled from Spain in 1492. His paternal ancestors had settled in Ruse from Ottoman Adrianople.[1] The original family name was Cañete, named after a village in Spain. In Ruse, Elias' father and grandfather were successful merchants who operated out of a commercial building, which they had built in 1898.[2] Canetti's mother descended from one of the oldest Sephardi families in Bulgaria, Arditti, who were among the founders of the Ruse Jewish colony in the late 18th century. The Ardittis can be traced back 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 lived in Livorno in the 17th century.[3]

Canetti spent his childhood years, from 1905 to 1911, in Ruse until the family moved to England. In 1912 his father died suddenly, and his mother moved with their children to 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 mother tongue), Bulgarian, English and some French (he studied the latter two in the one year in England). 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 participated in the July Revolt of 1927. He gained a degree in chemistry from the University of Vienna in 1929, but never worked as a chemist. In 1934 he married Veza (Venetiana) Taubner-Calderon (1897–1963) with whom he had a dynamic relationship. She acted as his muse and devoted literary assistant. Canetti however remained open to relationships with other women. In 1938, after the Anschluss of Austria to greater Germany, Canetti moved to London where he became closely involved with the painter Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, who was to remain a close companion for many years to come. His name has also been linked with that of the author Iris Murdoch (see John Bayley's Iris, A Memoir of Iris Murdoch, where there are 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]). Canetti's wife died in 1963. His second marriage was to Hera Buschor (1933–1988), with whom he had a daughter, Johanna (born 1972).

Despite being a German writer, Canetti settled and stayed in England until the 1970s, receiving British citizenship in 1952. For his last 20 years, Canetti mostly lived in Zürich.

In 1981, Canetti won the Nobel Prize in Literature "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power". He is known chiefly for his novel Auto-da-Fé (Die Blendung), and for Crowds and Power, a study of crowd behaviour as it manifests itself in human activities ranging from mob violence to religious congregations.

He died in Zürich.

One of the best studies on Canetti's life and work was done by the French psychoanalyst Dr Roger Gentis [1], La folie Canetti, published by Maurice Nadeau (Paris, 1993).


Komödie der Eitelkeit 1934 (The Comedy of Vanity)

Die Blendung 1935 (Auto-da-Fé, novel, tr.1946)

Die Befristeten 1956 (1956 premiere of the play in Oxford) (Their Days are Numbered)

Masse und Macht 1960 (Crowds and Power, study, tr. 1962, published in Hamburg)

Aufzeichnungen 1942 - 1948 (1965) (Sketches)

Die Stimmen von Marrakesch 1968 published by Hanser in Munich (The Voices of Marrakesh, travelogue, tr. 1978)

Der andere Prozess 1969 Kafkas Briefe an Felice (Kafka's Other Trial, tr. 1974).

Hitler nach Speer (Essay)

Die Provinz des Menschen Aufzeichnungen 1942 - 1972 (The Human Province, tr. 1978)

Der Ohrenzeuge. Fünfzig Charaktere 1974 ("Ear Witness: Fifty Characters", tr. 1979).

Das Gewissen der Worte 1975. Essays (The Conscience of Words)

Die Gerettete Zunge 1977 (The Tongue Set Free, memoir, tr. 1979)

Die Fackel im Ohr 1980 Lebensgeschichte 1921 - 1931 (The Torch in My Ear, memoir, tr. 1982)

Das Augenspiel 1985 Lebensgeschichte 1931 - 1937 (The Play of the Eyes, memoir, tr. 1990)

Das Geheimherz der Uhr: Aufzeichnungen 1987 (The Secret Heart of the Clock, tr. 1989)

Die Fliegenpein (The Agony of Flies, 1992)

Nachträge aus Hampstead (Notes from Hampstead, 1994)

The Voices of Marrakesh (published posthumously, Arion Press 2001, with photographs by Karl Bissinger and etchings by William T. Wiley )

Party im Blitz; Die englischen Jahre 2003 (Party in the Blitz, memoir, published posthumously, tr. 2005)

Aufzeichnungen für Marie-Louise (written 1942, compiled and published posthumously, 2005)


Canetti Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Elias Canetti.

Austrian Decoration for Science and Art


1.^ a b Lorenz, Dagmar C. G. (17 April 2004). "Elias Canetti". Literary Encyclopedia (The Literary Dictionary Company Limited). ISSN 1747-678X. http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=725. Retrieved 2009-10-13.

2.^ "The Canetti House – a forum for alternative culture". Internationale Elias Canetti Gesellschaft. http://www.eliascanetti.org/73.0.html?&L=3. Retrieved 2009-10-13.

3.^ Angelova, Penka (2006). "Die Geburtsstadt von Elias Canetti" (in German). Elias Canetti: Der Ohrenzeuge des Jahrhunderts. Internationale Elias-Canetti-Gesellschaft Rousse. http://www.archives.government.bg/tda/docs/canetti_izlojba_ruse.pdf.

Lesley Brill, "Terrorism, Crowds and Power, and the Dogs of War," Anthropological Quarterly 76(1), Winter 2003: 87-94.

William Collins Donahue, The End of Modernism: Elias Canetti’s Auto-da-Fé (University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

William Collins Donahue and Julian Preece (eds), The Worlds of Elias Canetti: Centenary Essays (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007).

Wedding record shows father as Max Elieser? - http://www.sephardicgen.com/databases/viennaWeddingsSrchfrm.html


О Elias Salomon Canetti, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1981 (русский)

Елиас Канети е потомък на стар сефарадски род, минал през Истанбул и Одрин, установил се в най-големия и най-европейския град след Освобождението на България - Русе, той се ражда именно там, на брега на голямата река, през 1905 г., и е кръстен на дядо си, голям търговец на едро. Баща му дръзва да вземе за жена, дъщерята на най-големия враг на фамилията, Ардити. Тази стъпка се оказва съдбоносна за бъдещия нобелист. Майка му е високообразована, учила във Виена, страстна поклонничка на Шекспир и Стриндберг. От нея той наследява интереса си към литературата, театъра и музиката и преди всичко онази остра чувствителност и наблюдателност, за които свидетелства цялото му творчество. По-късно бащата на малкия Елиас напуска фирмата на дядото и заминава със семейството си за Манчестър, Англия. През 1915 г. десетгодишният Елиас-младши посещава родния си град и Варна. По-късно се установява в столицата на Австрия, където постъпва във Виенския университет и на двайсет и пет години създава първия си голям роман - "Заслепението", който ще бъде открит за културна Европа едва след войната. След това ще напише може би най-прочутата си книга "Масите и властта", на която ще посвети близо двайсет и пет години от живота си, сборника "Драми" с трите пиеси: "Сватба", "Комедия на суетата" и "Предопределените".

След окупацията на Австрия от Хитлер през 1938 г. емигрира в Англия. Постепенно става известен. През 1981 г. е удостоен с Нобеловата награда за литература. Книгите му се превеждат в цял свят, пиесите му виждат светлините на рампата, критиката го поставя високо сред авторите на ХХ век, като не забравя да подчертае и "българската среда", оформила до голяма степен, според собствените му признания, неговите мировъзрения и цялото му творчество. Книгата му "Спасеният език" започва с думите: "Всичко, което преживях по-късно, вече се бе случило някога в Русчук...".

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Elias Salomon Canetti, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1981's Timeline

July 25, 1905
Ruse, Bulgaria
- 1913
Age 5
Manchester, United Kingdom
- 1916
Age 7
Wien, Austria
- 1921
Age 10
Zurich, Switzerland
- 1924
Age 15
Frankfurt, Germany
- 1929
Age 18
Wien, Austria
August 14, 1994
Age 89
Zurich, Switzerland