« Electoral College
Home Page
Elie Wiesel »

Quotes of the day: Elias Canetti

Published Friday, July 24, 2015 @ 4:47 PM EDT
Jul 24 2015

Elias Canetti (July 25, 1905 – August 14, 1994) was a German language author, born in Bulgaria, and later a British citizen. He was 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" (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A mind, lean in its own language. In others, it gets fat.

Ambition is the death of thought.

Everything you rejected and pushed aside- take it up again.

Happiness is that ridiculous life goal of illiterates.

I hate judgments that only crush and don't transform.

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

Ideally, you should use only words which you have filled with new meaning.

If one has lived long enough, there is danger of succumbing to the word 'God' merely because it was always there.

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

Life experience does not amount to very much and could be learned from novels alone, e.g., from Balzac, without any help from life.

One needs time to free oneself of wrong convictions. If it happens too suddenly, they go on festering.

One should tell oneself how fruitful misunderstandings are. One shouldn't despise them. One of the wisest people was a collector of misunderstandings.

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

One who, alone, would be unconquerable. But he weakens himself with allegiances.

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

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

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.

There is something impure in the laments about the dangers of our time, as if they could serve to excuse our personal failure.

You don't have to know a philosopher's every syllable to know why he rubs you the wrong way. You may know it best after a few of his sentences, and less and less well after that. The important thing is to see his web and move away before you tear it.

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

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


(July 25 is also the birthday of Arthur Balfour and Eric Hoffer.)

Categories: Elias Canetti, Quotes of the day


KGB Stuff   Commentwear   E-Mail KGB

Donate via PayPal

Older entries, Archives and Categories       Top of page

« Electoral College
Home Page
Elie Wiesel »