Program Vienna

Program Ruse

The International Elias Canetti Society (IECS) in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA)/ Directorate-General V, the Austrian libraries in Ruse and Veliko Tarnovo and the Austrian Society for Literature and with the support of Ruse Free Spirit City Municipal Foundation organize two symposia on the work of Elias Canetti to mark the 110th anniversary of his birth:

– in Vienna (November, 4th-6th 2015) and
– in Ruse (November, 20th-21st 2015).

For the occasion two emblematic for Elias Canetti places were chosen: Ruse (Rustschuk), his birthplace, where everything “had already happened once”, and Vienna, his “second homeland”.

About the Conference:

Contemporary societies are to a large extent media societies. Despite the rise of the internet and social media and the consequent much lamented fragmentation of the public, mass media communication remains central to the self-perception and to the perception of problems in modern societies. Mass media, their structures and functional logic have been the subject of scientific debate for a long time. At the conference, emphasis will be placed on the “masses” and their interaction with power and media. Here again the entire work of Canetti will be reconsidered in regard to the phenomenon of mass.

A science of the human must recognize the results and insights from different disciplines and connect them in a meaningful way in order to arrive at an understanding. The central for Canetti’s work networking principle and the cognitive strategies “assume nothing” and “distrust” encourage us to examine and develop its important themes and concepts from the perspective of different areas of science and to situate his work in a wide intertextual context in connection to other media and art forms.

Thematic areas:


In Canetti’s work a variety of individual concepts, in which human nature is explored, are connected to the central for the conference theme of “mass”. These are, for example, “Death”, “Memory”, “Body”, “Eating”, “Education”, “Language”, “Madness” and many others. Apart from the literary point of view, they can be examined from the perspective of Aesthetics, Philosophy, History, Anthropology, Psychology, Pedagogy, Semiotics, Social sciences (Political science, Media studies), History of science, etc.


This section aims to consider Canetti’s work from the intertextual perspective in the broad sense. Here the choice ranges from the “four great men” – Kraus, Kafka, Musil and Broch, of whom he speaks in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, to other big names – both “closely related” such as Kant and Freud, without whom Auto da Fé can not be comprehanded, and such names as Gogol, Hofmannsthal, Theophrastus or Aristophanes, to which reference must first be made, and of course many others. The impact of Canetti on his contemporaries and on later writers represents also an exciting field of research.


Another topic area is the Canetti reception in various media and arts: theater, audio books, literature, visual arts, film, internet, etc. Here are welcome not only scientific lectures, but also contributions from authors and artist. The suggestions for accompanying and complementing events include an exhibition of illustrations to The Earwitness in Ruse and a scheduled series of readings.

The Organizing Committee:

Prof. Dr. habil Penka Angelova,
Dr. Anastasia Novikova, anastasia.novikova@
Dr. Manfred Müller,