n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Heterotopie und Diaspora. Zur Identitätsfrage in Elias Canettis Roman

Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



Kien, the hero of Elias Canetti's novel , understands identity as egocentric and logocentric. According to a binary logic, he excludes the Other from his private library, a microcosm he defines as his homeland. But for Michel Foucault, libraries are an example of heterotopia. Heterotopia can be understood as a space of transculturality where heterogeneous cultures, philosophies and times are brought together, resisting any reduction to homogeneity. Excluded from his world by Therese, and displaced, Kien aims in a romantic manner to restore his homeland. But Canetti shows that such an attempt results from blindness and leads to his death. Though Canetti does not explicitly propose a model of identity in this novel, he points implicitly through his criticism to a utopian model which can be analyzed as heterotopia. According to Canetti, it is possible to perceive through metamorphosis what he understood as an "acoustic mask".

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