Elias Canetti Quotes

Who on Earth is Elias Canetti?

Elias Canetti was a Bulgarian Nobel Prize winning author.

Born July 25, 1905
Died August 14, 1994

Books by Elias Canetti


Best 74 Quotes by Elias Canetti

“A child... opens and closes like a blossom.”

Elias Canetti

“A person often falls very ill in order to become someone else and then returns to health much disappointed.”

Elias Canetti

“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.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“Beauty always has something remote.”

Elias Canetti

“Each organism raises its head over a field of corpses, smiles into the sun, and declares life good.”

Elias Canetti

“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?”

Elias Canetti

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“Everything one records contains a grain of hope, no matter how deeply it may come from despair.”

Elias Canetti

“Explain nothing. Put it there. Say it. Leave.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“He would like to start from scratch. Where is scratch?”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“History portrays everything as if it could not have come otherwise. History is on the side of what happened.”

Elias Canetti

“I try to imagine someone saying to Shakespeare, 'Relax!”

Elias Canetti

“I would like to become tolerant without overlooking anything, persecute no one even when all people persecute me; become better without noticing it; become sadder, but enjoy living; become more serene, be happy in others; belong to no one, grow in everyone; love the best, comfort the worst; not even hate myself anymore.”

Elias Canetti

“In eternity everything is just beginning.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“It is important to say all the great thoughts again, without knowing that they have already been said.”

Elias Canetti

“It is important what a man still plans at the end. It shows the measure of injustice in his death.”

Elias Canetti

“Of all the words in all languages I know, the greatest concentration is in the English word 'I'.”

Elias Canetti

“One has a prejudice wherever one fears a transformation.”

Elias Canetti

Products by Elias Canetti

“One lives in the naïve notion that later there will be more room than in the entire past.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“One should use praise to recognize what one is not.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“People's fates are simplified by their names.”

Elias Canetti

“Pessimists are not boring. Pessimists are right. Pessimists are superfluous.”

Elias Canetti

“Speak as though it were the last sentence allowed you.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“The first effect of adjusting to other people is that one becomes boring.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“The self-explorer, whether he wants to or not, becomes the explorer of everything else. He learns to see himself, but suddenly, provided he was honest, all the rest appears, and it is as rich as he was, and, as a final crowning, richer.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

“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.”

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

Auto Da Fé Quotes

“How unfair, he thought; I can close my mouth whenever I like, as tight as I like, and what has a mouth to say? It is there for taking in nourishment, yet it is well defended, but ears - ears are a prey to every onslaught.”

Elias Canetti
Auto Da Fé

“Learning is the art of ignoring.”

Elias Canetti
Auto Da Fé

“Understanding, as we understand it, is misunderstanding.”

Elias Canetti
Auto Da Fé

Products by Elias Canetti

“What proof have we that inorganic objects can feel no pain? Who knows if a book may not yearn for other books, its companions of many years, in some way strange to us and therefore never yet perceived?”

Elias Canetti
Auto Da Fé

“You draw closer to truth by shutting yourself off from mankind.”

Elias Canetti
Auto Da Fé

“You have but to know an object by its proper name for it to lose its dangerous magic.”

Elias Canetti
Auto Da Fé

Crowds and Power Quotes

“A crowd exists so long as it has an unattained goal.”

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

“Every command leaves behind a painful sting in the person who is forced to carry it out.”

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

“It is always the enemy who started it, even if he was not the first to speak out, he was certainly planning it; and if he was not actually planning it, he was thinking of it; and, if he was not thinking of it, he would have thought of it.”

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

“It is those who devote themselves to killing who have power.”

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

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

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

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

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

“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.”

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

“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.”

Elias Canetti
Crowds and Power

Kafka's Other Trial Quotes

“Any life is laughable if one knows it well enough. It is something serious and terrible if one knows it even better.”

Elias Canetti
Kafka's Other Trial

The Human Province Quotes

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

Elias Canetti
The Human Province

“I want to keep smashing myself until I am whole.”

Elias Canetti
The Human Province

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

Elias Canetti
The Human Province

“There are books, that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it.”

Elias Canetti
The Human Province

The Secret Heart of the Clock Quotes

“Ambition is the death of thought.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“He is a lesser figure than X”—how it pleases an Englishman to say that! Never suspecting what basement that would put him in, a wood louse.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“His great holy books, which he does not know. They are so holy that he does not dare to open them.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“I hate judgments that only crush and don’t transform.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“I love writers who limit themselves, who write beneath their intelligence.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

Products by Elias Canetti

“I repulse death with all my strength. If I accepted it, I would be a murderer.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“It amazes me how a person to whom literature means anything can take it up as an object of study.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“One who obeys himself suffocates as surely as one who obeys others.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“Relearn astonishment, stop grasping for knowledge, lose the habit of the past.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“Say the most personal thing, say it, nothing else matters, don’t be ashamed, the generalities can be found in the newspaper.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“The story of your youth must not turn into a catalog of what became important in your later life. It must also contain the dissipation, the failure, and the waste.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“When he has nothing to say, he lets words speak.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“Whenever the truth threatens, he hides behind a thought.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“You keep taking note of whatever confirms your ideas—better to write down what refutes and weakens them!”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

“You need the rhetoric of others, the aversion it inspires, in order to find the way out of your own.”

Elias Canetti
The Secret Heart of the Clock

The Voices of Marrakesh Quotes

“Travelling, one accepts everything; indignation stays at home. One looks, one listens, one is roused to enthusiasm by the most dreadful things because they are new. Good travellers are heartless.”

Elias Canetti
The Voices of Marrakesh