The Play Of The Eyes | Granta

  • Published: 04/08/2011
  • ISBN: 9781847083555
  • 129x20mm
  • 336 pages

The Play Of The Eyes

Elias Canetti

The third volume of Canetti’s autobiography is set in Vienna between 1931 and 1937: years when the European catastrophe, already clear to anyone with eyes to see, was approaching its horrifying climax. To this great intellectual and spiritual self-portrait Canetti adds wonderful portraits of his friends and rivals: Herman Broch, Robert Musil, Fritz Wortruba, Alban Berg and Alma Mahler. Canetti brings these legends to life for modern readers as never before. Central to the book is Canetti’s account of his friendship with the mysterious Doctor Sonne, a mentor whose effect on his life and work was enormous.

The Play of the Eyes has a memorable power and freshness that could only come from a man of passion, disarming in his almost child-like quirkiness of vision and in his unfading sense of the world as a place of bizarre menace


It is not only individuals that come to life in thie extraordinary book: we get a strong impression of the intellectual atmosphere prevailing in Vienna and Strasbourg


It is a measure of Canetti's literary genius that the intimate and the intellectual are entwined so inextricably in his life that his tripartite autobiography amounts to nothing less than an essenital social history of the first third of our century

Jewish Chronicle

The Author

Elias Canetti (1905-94), winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature, was one of the major intellectual figures of the twentieth century. A master of many genres, he is best known for his novel Auto Da Fé and his great work of social theory Crowds and Power. But Canetti’s genius is perhaps nowhere more evident that in the three volumes of his autobiography: The Tongue Set Free, The Torch in My Ear and The Play of the Eyes.

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From the Same Author

Elias Canetti on

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Karl Kraus and Veza

Elias Canetti

‘It was natural that the rumors about both these people should reach me at the same time; they came from the same source, from which everything new for me came at that time.’