INTRODUCTION: A Bulgarian-born writer, Elias Canetti, has won the 1981 Nobel Prize for literature.
Swedish Academy spokesman announces winner in Swedish, starts to speak at 9"; announces Elias Canetti at 12"; ends Swedish at 24"; ends English
SV Elias Canetti reading extract of book in German
CU Canetti interviewed in German, starts speaking at 1.06"
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A Bulgarian-born writer, Elias Canetti, has won the 1981 Nobel Prize for literature. He won the 200,000 dollar prize for what the Swedish Academy described as his "broad outlook, wealth of ideas, and artistic power". Mr. Canetti writes in German.
SYNOPSIS: The announcement of the literature prize came after the peace, economics, and medicine prizes had already been awarded. A large crowd of newsmen awaited the announcement.
Elias Canetti was born into a Bulgarian Jewish family in 1905 and was educated in Vienna, Zurich and Frankfurt. In 1938 he moved to Paris to escape the Nazis, and now lives in London, where he is a natural naturalised British citizen. He has written novels, plays and essays. Many of his earlier works were ignored, but were republished to critical acclaim in the 1960's.
His best-known novel, "Die Blendung" (Auto Da Fe), published in 1935, described the relationship of a professor and his housekeeper in 1920's Vienna.
The main theme of his works, including his three plays, is the relationship of an individual to an outside world that's often strange. For the professor in Die Blendung, even the lifting of a teacup evoked fantastic associations. Critics have noted the influence of both German romantic novelist Thomas Mann and German expressionist Alfred Doeblin, Mr. Canetti's contemporary, in the book.
Later in his career, Mr. Canetti turned increasingly to essay writing, publishing "Masse und Machte" (Crowds and Power) in 1960. This later work dealt with myths and fairy tales among primitive peoples and explored the nature of mass symbols.
Mr. Canetti has also produced three absurdist plays "Hochzeit" (The Wedding), "Komedie der Eitekeit" (The Comedy of Vanity) and "Die Befristeten" (The Numbered). These plays satirised the vulgarity of human behaviour. The citation by the academy also praised Mr. Canetti's memoirs, "Die Gerettete Zunge" (The Tongue Set Free).