End Notes, by Elias CanettiTranslated by Peter Filkins

Sign in to access Harper’s Magazine

Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?

  1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
  2. Select Email/Password Information.
  3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.

Locked out of your account? Get help here.

Subscribers can find additional help here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!

To change your password click here.

Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.

From entries in The Book Against Death that were published for the first time in English in the Fall 2021–Winter 2022 issue of Salmagundi. Canetti, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981, worked on the manuscript from 1937 until his death in 1994. Translated from the German.

Pascal was thirty-nine years old when he died; I will soon be thirty-seven. That means I have barely two years left, which isn’t much time!

I would like to be able to not think of death for an entire week, not even of the word, as if it were something made up, one of those monstrous creations composed of letters, no one knowing any longer what the letters stand for.

Can any language be made viable that does not know the word “death”?

And what if your condemnation of death is nothing more than a dam constructed against your own desire for destruction?

I’m curious about the last conversation. With whom will it be?

He died in his sleep. In which dream?

It is time for me to sort matters out again within myself. Without writing I am nothing. I sense how my life dissolves into dead, dull speculation when I no longer write about what is on my mind. I will try to change that.

More from