Elias Canetti

  • Swiss author
  • Born July 25, 1905
  • Died August 13, 1994

Elias Canetti (; 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. 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. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981, "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power".

The profoundest thoughts of the philosophers have something trickle about them. A lot disappears in order for something to suddenly appear in the palm of the hand.

There is no doubt: the study of man is just beginning, at the same time that his end is in sight.

A 'modern' man has nothing to add to modernism, if only because he has nothing to oppose it with. The well-adapted drop off the dead limb of time like lice.

The fear of burglars is not only the fear of being robbed, but also the fear of a sudden and unexpected clutch out of the darkness.

Pessimists are not boring. Pessimists are right. Pessimists are superfluous.

All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.

All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.

Words are not too old, only people are too old if they use the same words too frequently.

As if one could know the good a person is capable of, when one doesn't know the bad he might do.

Most religions do not make men better, only warier.

The great writers of aphorisms read as if they had all known each other well.

People love as self-recognition what they hate as an accusation.

Success listens only to applause. To all else it is deaf.

Someone who always has to lie discovers that every one of his lies is true.

Success is the space one occupies in the newspaper. Success is one day's insolence.

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

The planet's survival has become so uncertain that any effort, any thought that presupposes an assured future amounts to a mad gamble.

There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown. He wants to see what is reaching towards him, and to be able to recognize or at least classify it. Man always tends to avoid physical contact with anything strange.

Adults find pleasure in deceiving a child. They consider it necessary, but they also enjoy it. The children very quickly figure it out and then practice deception themselves.

One should use praise to recognize what one is not.

Whether or not God is dead: it is impossible to keep silent about him who was there for so long.

Whenever you observe an animal closely, you feel as if a human being sitting inside were making fun of you.

One should not confuse the craving for life with endorsement of it.

Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster. Otherwise, why do so many people walk upright and with open eyes into their misfortune?

Justice requires that everyone should have enough to eat. But it also requires that everyone should contribute to the production of food.

It doesn't matter how new an idea is: what matters is how new it becomes.

It doesn't matter how new an idea is: what matters is how new it becomes.

Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim.

The paranoiac is the exact image of the ruler. The only difference is their position in the world. One might even think the paranoiac the more impressive of the two because he is sufficient unto himself and cannot be shaken by failure.

People's fates are simplified by their names.

His head is made of stars, but not yet arranged into constellations.

His head is made of stars, but not yet arranged into constellations.

He who is obsessed by death is made guilty by it.

There is no such thing as an ugly language. Today I hear every language as if it were the only one, and when I hear of one that is dying, it overwhelms me as though it were the death of the earth.

When you write down your life, every page should contain something no one has ever heard about.