b. Ruse, Bulgaria (then Rustschuk), July 25, 1905, d. Zurich (Switzerland), Aug. 14, 1994, narrative writer, playwright, essayist, writer of aphorisms, winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1981; from 1934 married to Veza Canetti. Son of a Jewish merchant of Sephardic origin, came to Vienna in 1913; in his early years also lived in Zurich and Frankfurt am Main; 1929 doctorate in chemistry. Modelled his language on that of K. Kraus; emigrated in autumn 1938, from 1939 lived in London and also Zurich.
In his first novel "Die Blendung" (1935) C. described in a grotesquely exaggerated manner the clash between the intellectual world and the instincts of the masses. The plays "Hochzeit" (1932), "Komoedie der Eitelkeit" (1950) and "Die Befristeten" (1964) make use of bizarre experiments of thought to reveal the face of a deeply corrupted society. The theoretical principles behind his work are contained in his essay "Masse und Macht" (mass and power) which points out the basic relevance of these phenomena to political reality. His late autobiographical works ("Die gerettete Zunge", 1977; "Die Fackel im Ohr", 1980; "Das Augenspiel", 1985) provide a commentary on and interpretation of his extraordinary life and work. Grand Austrian State Prize 1967, Georg Buechner Prize and Austrian Decoration for Science and Art 1972
Further works#Essays, writings and aphorisms: Die Stimmen von Marrakesch, 1968; Der andere Prozess, 1969; Die Provinz des Menschen, 1973; Der Ohrenzeuge, 1974; Das Gewissen der Worte, 1975; Das Geheimherz der Uhr, 1987; Unruhe der Gezeiten, 1989; Die Fliegenpein, 1992. - Edition: Werke, 14 vols., 1995.
Literature#F. Aspetsberger and G. Stieg (eds.), E. C. Blendung als Lebensform, 1985; E. C., 1986; C. Geoffroy, E. C., 1995; M. Krueger (ed.), Einladung zur Verwandlung, 1995; D. Barnouw, E. C. zur Einfuehrung, 1996.