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This article is taken from PN Review 31, Volume 9 Number 5, May - June 1983.

on Kafka: a conversation with Idris Parry Elias Canetti

[This is the first publication of a conversation between Elias Canetti and Idris Parry which was broadcast by the BBC on 13 August 1971. At that time Canetti's book about Kafka's letters to Felice Bauer, Der andere Prozess (Hanser, 1969), had not been published in English. It has since appeared in a translation by Christopher Middleton as Kafka's Other Trial (Calder and Boyars, 1974).]

Idris Parry speaks first.

Some years ago I went to a dance in a University hall of residence, and in the library I came across a book called Auto da Fé by Elias Canetti. I had heard about this book but never seen it before. I knew nothing about Canetti, except what I had read in an essay by Professor John Isaacs. He called the book 'one of the great novels of the century; a book of giant stature'. So I had to read it. I borrowed this copy and read it and was overwhelmed by its power and range and penetration. I thought I'd write something about it. But nobody could tell me anything about Canetti. I should mention that Auto da Fé is a translation from the German. For some time I couldn't even find out what the German title was. It's called Die Blendung. And how did it come about that a man with a name like Canetti wrote in German? Nobody seemed to know. Should I perhaps write to him? One of my friends said: ...

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