You draw closer to truth by shutting yourself off from mankind. Daily life is a superficial clatter of lies. Every passer-by is a liar.
No mind ever grew fat on a diet of novels. The pleasure which they occasionally offer is all too heavily paid for: they undermine the finest characters. They teach us to think ourselves into other men's places. Thus we acquire a taste for change. The personality becomes dissolved in pleasing figments of imagination. The reader learns to understand every point of view. Willingly he yields himself to the pursuit of other people's goals and loses sight of his own. Novels are so many wedges which the novelist, an actor with his pen, inserts into the closed personality of the reader. The better he calculates the size of the wedge and the strength of the resistance, so much the more completely does he crack open the personality of his victim.
Novels should be prohibited by the State.
Almost Kien was tempted to believe in happiness, that contemptible life-goal of illiterates.
Without corporal punishment no one ever got anywhere. The English are a tremendous people.
When the flames reached him at last, he laughed out loud, louder than he had ever laughed in all his life.
Auto-da-Fé, Elias Canetti's only work of fiction, is a staggering achievement that puts him squarely in the ranks of major European writers such as Robert Musil and Hermann Broch. It is the story of Peter Kien, a scholarly recluse who lives among and for his great library. The destruction of Kien through the instrument of the illiterate, brutish housekeeper he marries constitutes the plot of the book. The best writers of our time have been concerned with the horror of the modern world--one thinks of Kafka, to whom Canetti has often been compared. But Auto-de-Fé stands as a completely original, unforgettable treatment of the modern predicament.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:10 -0400)