Ivri-NASAWI and the Villa Aurora presented
An Evening of Elias Canetti
June 15, 2000
This evening was standing-room onlyóLos Angeles is very keen on Elias Canetti. Who knew?
Featured performances by actor Eric Braeden, actor Ruth Olafsdottir, critic and scholar Efrain Kristal and writer, and Sephardic writer Jordan Elgrably.
The evening included readings, a lecture and a variety of discussions on aspects of Canetti's life and works, with an open forum afterwards.
Ivri-NASAWI and the Villa Aurora plan to reprise this wildly successful program with a
second, larger evening early in 2001. If you have something to contribute as a writer,
performer or scholar, please get in touch. If you would like to RSVP early, you can
do so be emailing
Bulgarian-born Sephardic writer Elias Canetti lived in England, Austria, France and Switzerland, wrote in German and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981. The author of a famed novel, "Auto de Fé," as well as an extremely well-known multidisciplinary study entitled "Crowds and Power," and several volumes of essays, most notably perhaps "The Conscience of Words," Canetti is one of the great writers of the 20th century. "The writer," he suggested, "must be the keeper of metamorphosis." For more information, see below.
520 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
For more information, call: 323-650-3157
Elias Canetti ( excerpted from the Nobel Laureate web site )
Born in 1905, in the port of Rustschuk on the lower Danube, Elias Canetti belonged to a Sephardic family whose members, in 1492, were driven out of the town of Canete, situated between Cuenca and Valencia. For several hundred years, the family lived in Turkey, but in the course of time, settled in Bulgaria. In 1911, Elias Canetti went to England with his parents; after his father's sudden and premature death in 1913 - a catastrophe which was of decisive importance to him - the family moved to Vienna. Between the years 1916 and 1924, Elias Canetti attended schools in Zürich and Frankfurt-am-Main. He then studied science in Vienna, the result being a doctorate in chemistry in 1929. After that, he devoted himself exclusively to writing. In 1938 he went to France; sometime later, he moved over to London.
When surveyed, Elias Canetti's literary work may seem split up, comprising as it does of so many genres. His oeuvre consists of a novel, three plays, several volumes of notes and aphorisms, a profound examination of the origin, structures and effect of the mass movement, a travel book, portraits of authors, character studies, and memoirs; but these writings, pursued in such different directions, are held together by a most original and vigorously profiled personality.
The exiled and cosmopolitian author, Canetti has one native land, and that is the German language. He has never abandoned it, and he has often avowed his love of the highest manifestations of the classical German culture. He has warmly emphasized what Goethe, for instance, has meant to him as medicina mentis.
His foremost purely fictional achievement is the great novel, Die Blendung, (Auto da Fé ) published in 1935 and praised then by Thomas Mann and Hermann Broch. But it can be said to have attained its full effect during the last decades: against the background of national socialism's brutal power politics, resulting in a world conflagration, the novel acquires a deepened perspective.
Die Blendung leads over to the big examination of the origin, composition and reaction patterns of the mass movements which Canetti, after decades of research and study, published with Masse und Macht (Crowds and Power, 1960).
A cultural monument to German exiles on the West Coast, Villa Aurora's aim is to keep alive the memory of a time when representatives of both cultural and intellectual life were forced to flee from the Nazi regime, seeking and finding refuge in the Pacific Palisades.
Villa Aurora's purpose as a European-AmericanFoundation is to foster an understanding of current European and American developments in the arts and literature. The house is a meeting place for intellectuals and artists from both Europe and the United States, a venue for the lively exchange of ideas in the fields of literature, art, culture, academia, and politics.