Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Die Blendung.” as Want to Read:
Die Blendung.
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Die Blendung.

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  1,911 ratings  ·  157 reviews
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 cons ...more
Limitierte Sonderausgabe, 511 pages
Published 2005 by Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag (first published 1935)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Die Blendung., please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Die Blendung.

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Stephen P
A choice. Numberless made within the ordinary mayhem of a day. A person makes choices from the beginning to the end -scheme of their life. Peter Kien wants to spend the passing of his time, supported from the inheritance of his father's death, within the library of his own creation. Books instead of people. Facts and theories devised by those ideas argued by the greatest Sinologist in the world, himself. Life is to be defined by knowledge and study. While no one but his housekeeper sees or knows ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 07, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 500 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Elias Canetti (1905-1994), a Bulgarian novelist and playwright, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981. He wrote several plays, a memoir in trilogy, several non-fiction works but only one novel, Auto-da-Fe. The way this is written, the term auto-da-fe must be Portuguese and it means the execution of non-believers during the Portuguese inquisition.

However, Canetti wrote the novel in German and was first published in 1935. It is set in the decaying, cosmopolitan Vienna, where the young Canetti
...more
Nate
Nov 25, 2008 Nate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone brave enough and wanting to be profoundly disturbed
Recommended to Nate by: Dr. Goebel at the University fo Goettingen
Canetti is my god. I hung on every word he ever wrote for most of college and then some. His one novel, this book, is probably the most deeply disturbing novel I have ever set hands on. A masterpiece of modern literature, placing Canetti among the great western writers of the 20th century, this is the story of Peter Kien, the book man. Originally Cannetti set out to write a "Comedie Humaine an Irren" with this being the first installment, ala Balzac but about insane people (he lived across the s ...more
Emir Never
In 1868, Fyodor Dostoevsky introduced "a positively good man", Prince Lyov Nikolayevitch Myshkin, in The Idiot. Myshkin stands out as both endearing and vexing character. His childlike innocence and gentle disposition are the same qualities that highlight his ineptness and preternatural stupidity in the face of "naturally" scheming and corrupt society. The result of Dostoevsky's conception, said to be inspired upon seeing a painting of Christ taken from the cross, was a scathing indictment of th ...more
Joshua
If you are 300 pages into this novel, keep reading, it gets better, much better. If you are thinking of starting this novel today, think carefully and know that you do not have my recommendation. I struggled quite a bit with this book. The three star rating is a compromise between the 1 and 2 star rating I was certain I would give this book until about page 380 (after which we are clearly in at least 4 star territory) when I finally encountered some lyricism in Canetti's prose, a likable charact ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Since you are at goodreads.com, you're most likely a bookworm (unless you're one of the thousands of juveniles here who pretend they like to read only to get to know people they can hook up with). But how bookworm of a bookworm are you? If you're at least the type who would feel sad leaving a bookstore without getting to buy a book, then reading this novel would, at times, be just like staring at a mirror. You can see you here.

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981, Elias Canetti, a Ger
...more
Katheter, all the world's a.
Mar 31, 2012 Katheter, all the world's a. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philologists, schizoids, patient saints
Continuing to read this when I wanted to burn it was indeed an 'auto da fe," and Canetti was supposedly drawn away from being the chemist he probably should have remained when he witnessed massive book burnings. The man was a lover of spectacle, and I haven't been so incensed or embarrassed by "making a scene" with words since wasting my time on Rand or Nietzsche, but Canetti manages to be much less entertaining than either. Possibly a worse writer than Rand, too?

Canetti's prose is hackish, and
...more
Ginny_1807
Grandioso crudele ritratto della umana piccolezza, dell'incomunicabilità e della solitudine a cui è destinato l'individuo, imbevuto di stupida presunzione e contaminato dall'avidità e dal vizio.

Pur trovandolo geniale per ricchezza inventiva e comico in molti passaggi di caustico umorismo, il romanzo mi è risultato difficoltoso da portare avanti, forse per la fitta rete di eventi paradossali, ossessive fissazioni, interminabili equivoci che alla lunga ho trovato snervanti.
Anche i personaggi sono
...more
Lorenzo Berardi
A man loves his library.
In his opinion books are better than men.
How it can be denied reading this novel?

Auto-da-fe is like a cage: it doesn't give you any possibility of escape, it hurts you. It's like an abyss in which all that begins ironically becomes dramatic.

Cristina
Questa lettura è stata, per quanto mi riguarda, quasi come scalare una montagna, un incedere faticoso, sudato, conquistato pagina dopo pagina, senza mai peraltro la voglia di fare dietrofront e svignarmela. Devo aggiungere che essere stata in buona compagnia è stato un incoraggiamento, qualche fetta di pane e nutella sui sentieri più ripidi è servito.
Difficile commentarlo, a partire da una trama che mi sarebbe quasi impossibile riassumere o che anche fossi in grado di raccontare senza dubbio sem
...more
Jenne
Basically the complete opposite of what I enjoy in a novel.
But then I haven't won a Nobel Prize for Literature, have I.
Simona
Dopo un inizio difficile in cui questo libro non decollava, mi fa piacere aver preso il volo e aver viaggiato.
Cercando alcune notizie sul'autore, ho scoperto che il titolo originale del libro è "Abbagliamento", titolo che avrei mantenuto anche nella versione italiana, dato che descrive benissimo la sua essenza.
I protagonisti di questo libro sono "abbagliati", come accecati da quello che vivono o meglio non vivono, come Thérese, la governante, un essere torbido, meschino, avido di denaro, fino
...more
Bookmaniac70
Тази книга ме зашемети още от първите страници. Никак не ми беше лесна за четене, но интелектуалното удоволствие беше много голямо. Всеки от героите е така потопен в своята реалност, в своите мисли и специфичната си езикова ниша,че човек трябва да чете внимателно, за да открие всички нишки,полутонове и сенки. Образите са трагични и зловещи,безнадеждно заплетени в своите заблуди и убеждения. Не усетих обаче книгата като потискаща, не знам как го е постигнал авторът. В първата половина ме изненада ...more
Lisa
This book is bizarre. It’s like a Grimm’s fairy tale with insane characters, or a cautionary tale with a moral that’s not a moral because it’s so nihilistic. This, Canetti seems to be saying, is what happens if an intellectual dissociates from the real world and hears no voice other than his own. He becomes dogmatic and he falls victim to the venality of the ignorant. It’s sobering reading.
To see my review (more of a summary really, as best I understood the book) please visit http://anzlitlovers
...more
Conrad
I can't think of a novel that I have abandoned with a worse impression of the author. Cannetti was reportedly a royal prick, a backstabbing, misogynistic troll, and nothing in the first pages this book does anything to dispel any of it. Maybe I'll get around to it, but I doubt it - it's too unpleasant.
Emilian Kasemi
I know Auto-da-Fe deserves much more but I just wasn't in the right mood for this book at the moment. Still it is a great book and even if I don't recommend it to everyone, it should be read by book lovers.


Olivia
The absurdity of man. A theme which has been emptied onto thousands and thousands of pages by just as many authors. And to this day, the one book I've read which has given me the most haunting and darkly humorous experience of it, is Auto-da-Fé.

This book is bizarre. At some parts, the misanthropic bibliophile and main character Peter Kien read almost like a parody of myself. This was both funny and frightening, much like the rest of the book. There is a continuous tug of war going on in the psy
...more
lisa_emily
Jun 17, 2014 lisa_emily rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sadists
Recommended to lisa_emily by: a sadist obviously
Shelves: 1001-books
I read this book a few years ago and while I was reading it I was thinking- why read this? I rather disliked it- reading it was torture. I understand that it being published in 1935, that it is an allegory of the irrationality and violence that overcame Europe between the two world wars. However now, the minute parade of grotesqueries is excessive. It is also perhaps the only book I know where the repulsion and malice the author has for his characters and for his work is so pulsatingly palpable. ...more
James
"For what happens in that kind of book is not just a game, it is reality; one has to justify it, not only against criticism from outside but in one’s own eyes as well. Even if an immense fear has compelled one to write such things, one must still ask oneself whether in so doing one has not helped to bring about what one so vastly fears." - Elias Canetti, The Play of the Eyes

The author shakes you with the first scene in the book, one of the best openings of any novel that I've ever read. And he
...more
Mohsen Rajabi
کیفر آتش، فوق العاده است. همه چیزهایی که در یک داستان دنبالش می گردیم را دارد. روند داستانی اش فوق العاده است، و شخصیت پردازی هایش کم نقص و مسلما بی نظیر (من تا به حال شخصیت پردازی ای مانند این کتاب ندیدم- سبک خیلی خاصی داشت). شخصیت هایی که تعدادشان اندک است، اما نویسنده به اندازه هر شخصیت یک دنیای جدیدی خلق کرده- انگار اینها هیچ کدام در کنار یکدیگر زندگی نمی کنند.

از طرفی دیگر، کیفر آتش، در اصل داستان کتاب هاست... داستان کتاب ها و توهمی که ایجاد می شود. امان از این توهم. مطمئنا نفس شما هم بند خو
...more
Rupert
Insane and brilliant. And of course the starting premise of an obsessive bibliophile who hires an illiterate housekeeper to watch over his collection is pure candy to a decrepit used bookseller such as myself. Although written in the '30s this still feels like cutting edge visionary fiction.
Matt
The thickest (4 inches) and heaviest (12.5 pounds) book in my library, Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, defines the word Auto-da-fé as follows:

the ceremony for accompanying the pronouncement of judgment by the Inquisition and followed by the execution of sentence by secular authorities; esp: the burning of a person condemned as a heretic or of writings condemned as heretical


I've been thinking for a while about this title, and compared it with the one of the o
...more
Tony
AUTO-DA-FE. (1935). Elias Canetti. **.
Canetti, a Bulgarian who wrote in German, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981. I can honestly say that it wasn’t for this novel – his only work of fiction. It is a massive account about a sinologist, Professor Peter Kien, who possesses a vast personal library which he values above all other things in his life. There is no doubt that he is a scholar and that he has the respect of his fellow sinologists, who look forward to his learned papers at their
...more
Sera
Elias Canetti is a master of language, culture and fiction. As I read some reviews about him, his style is mostly similar to Kafka, Joyce and Dostoevsky. Doris Lessing may also be added to these writers for consideration of the similarity of some characters. I haven't read any books by James Joyce except Dubliners but it was a long time ago and doesn't count at this point.

There is a man who is greatly absorbed into his books at this novel. This man, Kien, thinks books are more important than peo
...more
Panurge
To be sane, but live.

It's tempting to view Canetti's band of neurotics--whose entanglement and undoing compromise the novel's plot--as unrealistic caricatures, but the hyperbole is really the most appropriate way for the author to get his views across. Everyone has their own idiosyncratic self-perception, some more based in reality than other. We tailor our behavior, the company we keep, the events we attend, and numerous other aspects of our social lives in order to fit or bring into being tha
...more
Eirin
[DISCLAIMER: The two stars I'm giving this book does not reflect the quality of the work, but my experience of it. I wish there was an additional star or something, for books that you can see are good, but just does not suit your tastes.]

I could not finish it. I've been trudging through it since August, it is now December, and I've only gotten halfway. The first hundred pages I liked, and read quickly. After that however, it just got harder and harder to summon up the will to read. Every time I
...more
Andrew
I was attracted to Canetti by a Sontag essay I read about him a while back. It takes generously from the ideas of Hesse and, to a lesser extent, Kafka, confronting the troubles of the alienated modern man in grand, mid-century Germanic fashion. Two primary flaws: first, it drags a bit at times, especially in the middle, and second, for a novel so heavily reliant on symbol, the symbolism is a bit heavy-handed, without the grace that Dostoyevsky and Bely endow their symbolist novels. Still, I woul ...more
Alan
just remembered reading this from many years ago and the weirdness of it was stunning and I'm going to go and get it out of the library and read it again.
.. update, I haven't re-read it yet, but got the reading date wrong as I came across this in my 1981/2 notebook:
Kein lives in a library, the dwarf under a bed (listening to his whore wife with a customer), the caretaker in two cramped rooms, devoted to the production of food. He keeps his daughter a prisoner, regularly straps her. Each night he
...more
EXHIBIT A
Jun 11, 2013 EXHIBIT A marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
"The destruction of Kien through the instrument of the illiterate, brutish housekeeper he marries constitutes the plot of the book."

...you don't say.
Jonathan
Auto da Fé was originally published as Die Blendung in 1935 and was translated in 1946 by C.V. Wedgwood (Dame Cicely Veronica Wedgwood) and was translated 'under the personal supervision of the author'. A more literal translation would be, I believe, The Blinding. Auto da Fé refers to the burning of heretics by the Spanish and Portuguese inquisition. I first read this book about twenty years ago and have been meaning to re-read it for years.

The book is split into three parts: A Head Without a Wo
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Sleepwalkers
  • Extinction
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Group Portrait with Lady
  • The Flanders Road
  • The Radetzky March  (Von Trotta Family #1)
  • Malina
  • The Man Without Qualities Vol. 1: A Sort of Introduction and Pseudo Reality Prevails
  • The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr
  • Dog Years (The Danzig Trilogy, #3)
  • The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
  • Last Days of Mankind
  • The Hothouse
  • The German Lesson
  • Voss
  • Simplicissimus
  • The Afternoon of a Writer
6517
Awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Literature "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power."

He studied in Vienna. Before World War II he moved with his wife Veza to England and stayed there for long time. Since late 1960s he lived in London and Zurich. In late 1980s he started to live in Zurich permanently. He died in 1994 in Zurich.

Author of Auto-da-Fé, Party in the
...more
More about Elias Canetti...
Crowds and Power The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit Die gerettete Zunge: Geschichte einer Jugend The Memoirs of Elias Canetti: The Tongue Set Free/The Torch in My Ear/The Play of the Eyes The Torch in My Ear

Share This Book

“Understanding, as we understand it, is misunderstanding.” 23 likes
“Almost Kien was tempted to believe in happiness, that contemptible life-goal of illiterates. If it came of itself, without being hunted for, if you did not hold it fast by force and treated it with a certain condescension, it was permissible to endure its presence for a few days” 10 likes
More quotes…