“Noble Laureate Elias Canetti’s memoirs, Party in the Blitz, are irrepresibly bitchy, says Tim Adams, especially when it comes to TS Eliot.”
When he began these memoirs of his life in London the Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti was 85. He worked on them, on and off, up to his death four years later in 1994.
Never shy to face up to the truths of life, schooled as he was in the major political upheavals of the century, he nevertheless discovered extra license in his advanced age. The book seems to have been intended as a parting shot at the society he entered in England; a nicely calculated piece of sniping at the liberals who welcomed him, stiffly, when he escaped from Vienna after his writings had been banned by the Nazis in 1939.