Download The End of Modernism: Elias Canetti's Auto-da-fé by William Donahue PDF

By William Donahue

Nobel laureate Elias Canetti wrote his novel Auto-da-F©(Die Blendung) whilst he and the 20th century have been nonetheless particularly younger. Rooted within the cultural crises of the Weimar interval, Auto-da-F© first got severe acclaim abroad--in England, France, and the United States--where it maintains to fascinate readers of next generations. severe reactions have abounded, yet by no means has a accomplished research positioned this paintings in its cultural and philosophical contexts. the top of Modernism seeks to do exactly that, situating the unconventional not just in terms of Canetti's significant physique of social concept, but additionally inside better debates on Freud and Freudianism, misogyny and modernism's "fragmented subject," racial anti-Semitism and the failure of humanism, modern philosophy and philosophical fads, and traditionalist notions of literature and escapist conceptions of background. the top of Modernism portrays Auto-da-F© as an exemplum of "analytic modernism," and during this experience a very important endpoint within the development of postwar conceptions of literary modernism.

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Sonne. ’’ 55 Of course, this rumor (which, incidentally, claimed that Sonne was a great philanthropist who attempted to keep his generosity anonymous) could prove false; Canetti is obviously no less vulnerable to error than anyone else. Considering the issue of identification from this retrospective view, the novel’s position comes more clearly into view. The perceptual error Canetti seems so concerned with in the novel is perhaps not the essential epistemologi-  :                                cal dilemma, the ‘‘erkenntnistheoretische’’ problem attending any such act of judgment, but the fact that the typical case of figural identification implies a willful reduction of the other to the very limited parameters of the projecting self.

The story moves within carefully plotted moral coordinates: HansJochem, the narrator instructs us, was given to ‘‘vanity and pride’’;24 and the favored treatment he received from his adoptive family had suspiciously to do with a certain ‘‘substantial inheritance,’’ 25 which his brother lacked. His maiming injury was, therefore, foreordained by a narrative logic that punishes evil and rewards good. The treasonous Lindenberg pays for his disloyalty with his life, and even the ultimately good Elector-prince must pay for his youthful naiveté and gullibility.

Yet, given the fact that Georg himself turns out to be a thoroughly questionable character, can we confidently say that this is the overall position of Auto-da-Fé? Given the demonstrable social concerns of Canetti’s novel, which are detailed further in subsequent chapters of this study, as well as the consistently skeptical attitude toward insular behavior we encounter in the novel, we can assume that Georg’s rejection of belletristic novels as pleasurable diversions falls in line—though perhaps not quite in the way he intended—with the novel’s larger position.

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