Published by Mediterranean Publications – Italy, the only novel by the Nobel laureate for Literature (1981) “Elias Canetti”, which critics consider his timeless masterpiece (The Masterpiece) and one of the rare literary masterpieces of our time. It is translated for the first time into the Arabic language, to come under the title: Fire of God, and with a direct translation from the German language by the translator Kamiran Houj.
Canetti wrote this novel between 1929 and 1931. However, he did not publish it, following the opinion of his teacher Karl Krause (1874-1936), who believes that a work of art must mature after completing its writing in order to be published. Canetti says in his book (Conscience of Speech, Al-Mustawasit Publications): “The manuscript of the novel that I focused my efforts on and finished within one year was titled “Kant Burns”. The manuscript remained with me for four years under this title, and when it was decided to publish it in 1935, I gave it the title it has had since. “. Canetti had planned to write eight works for the Human Comedy of Madmen. He says, “So what was supposed to be my first book was one of eight books that I planned to write together in one year, between the fall of 1929 and the fall of 1930. … I said I would build eight searchlights with which to shed light on the world from outside,” but he abandoned the idea of these eight books. In 1930, because the bookworm character (in the novel God’s Fire) fascinated him so much, he focused on it, abandoning all other drafts.
The novel did not attract attention when it was published, and it did not receive what Canetti had expected of it. He had sent it to Thomas Mann in 1935 and he returned it to him without even reading it, which left a deep wound in his soul. Although it was reprinted several times after 1936, critics did not pay attention to it until its third edition in 1963, albeit hesitantly, even though it had been translated into English and French. But after she won the Nobel Prize in 1981, she was very popular and hundreds of studies were written about her. There were many readings on different levels between form and content.
This novel revolves around the strange personality of the reading maniac Professor Keen, “the greatest of the Chinese scholars”, who despises academic professors, and considers that communication with the world is unnecessary as long as there are books, so he lives isolated in his house with and for thousands of books; But human insignificance manages to infiltrate his house, tighten its grip on him, reduce his existence, cram him into a small room with his books, and push him to communicate with the world, which will soon gnaw at him and abuse him, as if life takes a fierce revenge on him, and he tries to elude it with the same precision and care that he An ancient text is interpreted in it.
The novel is based on three parts: “A Head Without a World,” “A World Without a Head,” and “A World in a Head.” Each part is divided into sub-chapters. The first part begins with a conversation between an arrogant intellectual and a nine-year-old boy, and the third part ends with the intellectual being burned. It begins with a question and ends with an answer that the intellectual finds as a final solution to all questions.
In the first part, the author introduces us to the personality of “the greatest Sinologist” in his strictly defined daily life that puts him in deadly isolation, and makes him a hater of people and reality. In the second part, “chaos” reaches its climax, when the isolated intellectual mixes with real people in a real city outside the walls of his head. In the third part, an extreme depiction of the failure in trying to restore that world in the head, after it became clear that madness had taken control of humanity. Before Hitler came to power, the Surrealists had called on psychologists and doctors to release their patients, because only arbitrariness could put an end between “psychosis and reality.” Canetti attempts to display that paranoid world in crafting his novel. He puts crazy “systems” next to each other, which collide to lead to that surrealism, to the madness of the world. In a later study, a critic interpreted the end of the main character as liberating the intellectual from his isolation.
The publisher writes on the cover of the novel: “He says Salman Rushdie About this novel: No one escapes in “God’s fire.” Everyone is punished, from the professor to the furniture seller, from the doctor to the housekeeper to the thief. Cruel, ruthless comedy (in this novel) builds one of the most terrifying literary worlds of this century.
And I did not survive as a publisher, and you, reader, friend, brother, partner, after you have read this novel, will not.
Finally, the novel was published in 576 pages of middle pieces.