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1. History a ceremony of the Spanish Inquisition including the pronouncement and execution of sentences passed on sinners or heretics
2. the burning to death of people condemned as heretics by the Inquisition
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



literally, a ceremonial reading of the sentence of the Inquisition in Spain, Portugal, and their colonies; in common usage the term also refers to the execution of the sentence, mainly by burning the condemned persons at the stake. The auto-da-fé appeared at the beginning of the Inquisition (13th century) and became widespread from the end of the 15th century on, acquiring the character of a theatrical and ritualistic mass action. Autos-da-fé were held in the main square of a city in the presence of large masses of people, the church and secular aristocracy, and sometimes the king himself with his family. The condemned persons were led out barefoot and in “clothing of shame.” The last auto-da-fé took place in 1826 in Valencia. About 35,000 people were burned in Spain from 1481 to 1808.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Moreover, unlike the stereotypical literary dream, the vision of the auto-da-fe does not merely reflect the surrounding narrative, but rather seeps into it with startling affective force.
man of learning and specialist in sinology" (Canetti, Auto-da-fe 10), is actually entitled to carry the title of "Professor" (Structures 71).
Anything by Canetti--the Nobel-prize-winning author of Auto-Da-Fe, Crowds and Power and (my favorite) The Voices of Marrakesh--is worth reading.
and Elias Canetti's of a pathetic one in Auto-da-Fe. The first encounter between European letters and African eyes also might have been featured.
Auto-da-Fe Novel by Canetti, Elias, published in 1935 in German as Die Blendung ("The Deception").
New Christians, an appellation applied only to Jewish converts, immigrated often and were victims of the Inquisition; some were hastened to the rack, where torture could induce "confessions," and then to the auto-da-fe. The Holy Office acquired the family possessions and a small percentage sometimes was distributed to informers-fanatics, jealous business competitors, political rivals and similar unscrupulous scoundrels.
There is good and evil, sacred texts (the tenets of cultural Marxism, most of the time), supporting documents (dubious "evidence" produced by prejudiced social scientists, much of which cannot be replicated), a priesthood, an original sin (western imperialism), excommunications (for those who question the unquestionable), confessions (on Twitter, usually), repentance and of course the constant Inquisition and use of the auto-da-fe. Irony is well and truly dead.
Another work, "An Auto-da-fe" by Sebastian de Herrera Barnuevo, is the only known 17th-century drawing of the public ceremony that marked the end of some mass trials under the Spanish Inquisition.
The ever-vicious auto-da-fe featured an all-local quintet of finger-wagging Inquisitors--Mel Braun, P.
The End of Modernism: Elias Canetti's 'Auto-da-Fe'.
"However it would be deplorable if anyone else were to be subjected to an auto-da-fe like mine in the future.