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It was also published in English as The Tower of Babel. Originally planned as the first in a series of eight novels examining mad visionaries, the book deals with the dangers inherent in believing that rigid, dissociated intellectualism and detached, dogmatic scholarship can prevail over evil, chaos , and destruction. Set in Vienna and Paris, the novel tells the story of Peter Kien, an internationally respected scholar of Chinese studies who maintains a personal library of 25, volumes.
After dreaming that the books are burned, Kien marries his housekeeper Therese, believing that she will preserve his beloved library should disaster befall him. Therese throws him out of his book-filled apartment, however, and Kien, now homeless, enters the grotesque underworld of the city. Delusional, he fluctuates between horrifying hallucinations and an unspeakable reality. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.
See Article History. Britannica Quiz. Who is the author of The Two Gentlemen of Verona? Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Elias Canetti, German-language novelist and playwright whose works explore the emotions of crowds, the psychopathology of power, and the position of the individual at odds with the society around him.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in Canetti was descended from Spanish…. German literature, German literature comprises the written works of the German-speaking peoples of central Europe.
It has shared the fate of German politics and history: fragmentation and discontinuity. Germany did not become a modern nation-state until , and the prior history of the various…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! Email address. By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.
Wedgwood , refers to the burning of heretics by the Inquisition. The book manuscript was finished in , and the book was published in , by Herbert Reichner in Vienna Canetti's hometown at that time. It is Canetti's first publication. In Canetti got an offer to publish the book in English with Jonathan Cape , but it was decided to delay publication until after the war.