Commonplace Book/Translation Tuesdays: Elias Canetti on minds and monsters

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.

I admire those very broad people who through the decades become broader and broader yet do not give in. But the unyieldingly narrow are horrible. [1957 – 1959]

A ceremonial beast, assembled from tiaras. [1960]

That the behavior of dictators is perfidious is no longer surprising. But that mankind still craves authoritarianism, despite their appalling record of failure, is incomprehensible. With these monstrous examples right before our eyes, how are we so stupid, and how it is possible, faced with all that has happened, for us to lie to ourselves again and again? [1969]

From Notes from Hampstead: The Writer’s Notes: 1954 – 1971
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1998)
Translated by John Hargraves

First published in 1994 by Carl Hanser Verlag, Germany as Nachträge aus Hampstead.

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