Elias Canetti


1905 Born on 25 July in Ruse, Bulgaria. Mother tongue Ladino
(archaic dialect of Spanish).
1911 Moved to Manchester, England. First school. Earliest lessons
in English.
1912 Sudden death of his father. War breaks out in the Balkans.
1913 His mother moves to Vienna with her three small sons. German lessons from his mother. Elementary school in Vienna.
1914 First World War begins. Enthusiastic crowds take to the streets of Vienna.
1916 Zurich. Canton school until 1921. Excellent teachers.
1921-22 Frankfurt. Upper secondary school. Demonstrations after the death of German industrialist and politician Walter Rathenau. Inflation.
1924 Graduated (“Abitur”) in Frankfurt. Return to Vienna. Study of chemistry. Lectures by the Austrian writer-critic Karl Kraus a decisive influence.
1925 First outline for a book about crowd psychology.
1927 15 July: the Viennese Law, Court burns.
1928 Visit to Berlin. Meets George Grosz, Brecht and Isaak Babel.
1929 Receives his doctorate in Vienna.
1930-31 Works on his novel Die Blendung.
1932 Hochzeit [“The Marriage”] – a play.
1934 Komodie der Eitelkeit [“The Comedy of Vanity”] – marries Veza Taubner-Calderon.
1935 Publishes Die Blendung
1938 Hitler occupies Austria. November: emigration via Paris to London.
1939 During the following two decades concentration on his forthcoming work, Masse und Macht.
1946 Publication of Auto-da-Fé, the English version of Die Blendung in a translation by C. V. Wedgwood. [Appeared in the US in 1947 as The Tower of Babel.]
1952 Receives British citizenship.
1956 Premiere of his play Die Befristeten [“Their Days are Numbered”] in Oxford.
1960 Masse und Macht [Crowds and Power, tr. 1962] published in Hamburg.
1963 Death of Veza Canetti.
1964 The three plays Hochzeit, Komodie der Eitelkeit and Die Befristeten appear.
1965 Aufzeichnungen 1942-48 [“Sketches”].
1968 Die Stimmen von Marrakesch [The Voices of Marrakesh tr. 1978] published by Hanser in Munich.
1969 Der andere Prozess. Kafkas Briefe an Felice [Kafka’s Other Trial, tr. 1974].
1971 Marries Hera Buschor.
1972 Receives the Buchner Prize in Darmstadt.
1973 Die Provinz des Menschen. Aufzeichnungen 1942-1972 [The Human Province, tr. 1978].
1974 Der Ohrenzeuge. Funfzig Charaktere [Ear Witness: Fifty Characters, tr. 1979].
1975 Das Gewissen der Wort. Essays [“The Conscience of Words”].
Receives honorary doctorates from Manchester and Munich.
1977 Die gerettete Zunge. Geschichte einer Jugend. [The Tongue Set Free, tr. 1979].
1980 Die Fackel im Ohr. Lebensgeschichte 1921-1931 [The Torch in My Ear, tr. 1982].
Receives the order Pour le mérite in Bonn.
1981 Receives the 1981 Nobel Prize in Literature.
1985 Das Augenspiel. Lebensgeschichte 1931-1937 [The Play of the Eyes tr. 1990].
1987 Das Geheimhen der Uhr. Aufzeichnungen 1973-1985 [The Secret Heart of the Clock, tr 1989].
1992 Die Fliegenpein, Aufzeichnungen/Pain of Flies: Notes.


From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1981-1990, Editor-in-Charge Tore Frängsmyr, Editor Sture Allén, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1993

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

Elias Canetti died on 14 August 1994.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1981

To cite this section
MLA style: Elias Canetti – Biographical. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Mon. 6 Feb 2023. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1981/canetti/biographical/>

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