Party in the Blitz: The English Years

Elias Canetti (Author) Michael Hofmann (Translator)


Elias Canetti originally intended Party in the Blitz to capture an image of his time in post-war London. Well known throughout Europe, Canetti scorned British intellectuals who weren t familiar with his work. By force of will alone he accumulated English followers, but not before being christened the godmonster of Hampstead. Canetti s memories of various people in his social circle are brief and scathing brimstone sketches. T.S. Eliot, Iris Murdoch, Wittgenstein, Herbert Read, Bertrand Russell Canetti rakes them all over the coals. To Canetti, T.S. Eliot was nothing more than an American emigrant trying desperately to act British, and Canetti s portrayal of Iris Murdoch, with whom he had an affair, is nothing short of brutal. Michael Hofmann s translation pulls no punches, delivering the goods on Canetti s searing injection: when you write down your life, every page should contain something no one has ever heard about. "

Product Details

New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
February 01, 2010
5.28 X 0.73 X 8.02 inches | 0.66 pounds
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About the Author

Elias Canetti (1905-94) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981. His writings include a monumental work of social theory, Crowds and Power, and three volumes of memoirs, The Tongue Set Free, The Torch in My Ear, and The Play of the Eyes.
Michael Hofmann is a poet and frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost translators of works from German to English. His original poetry collections include One Lark, One Horse and Where Have You Been? He has translated Willy Peter Reese's A Stranger to Myself, Joseph Roth's The Tale of the 1002nd Night, Herta Muller's The Land of the Green Plums, and Gottfried Benn's Impromptus. Hofman lives in London.


Canetti is merciless.--Robert Leiter
Before there was the mysterious W. G. Sebald, there was the even more mysterious Elias Canetti.--Clive James
His work eloquently defends tension, exertion, moral and amoral seriousness.--Susan Sontag
Whether one agrees with Canetti or not, his eloquently sustained loathing is bracing stuff.
[Canetti] can be as shrewd as Lichtenberg or La Rochefoucauld with an apt and concisely phrased insight.--Michael Dirda
[Gives] the reader a superb sense of what day-to-day life was like during the Battle of Britain.--Marjorie Perloff
Canetti invites--indeed, compels--judgment. His exacting presence honors literature.--George Steiner
Nothing ever was pleasant about Canetti. And nothing ever is pleasant about great literature....we should have it no other way.--Joshua Cohen