Primo Levi

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Levi, Primo

(prē`mō lā`vē), 1919–87, Italian writer. A chemist of Jewish descent, Levi was sent to the concentration campconcentration camp,
a detention site outside the normal prison system created for military or political purposes to confine, terrorize, and, in some cases, kill civilians.
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 at Auschwitz during World War II. His first memoir, If This Is a Man (1947; also tr. as Survival in Auschwitz) is a restrained yet poignant testimony, precisely observed and devoid of rancor or protest, of the atrocities he witnessed. In his other autobiographical books, The Reawakening (1963; film, 1996) and the dark, posthumously published The Drowned and the Saved (1988), Levi relates the manner in which physical torture and annihilation were accompanied by a process of moral degradation. He stresses that survival was as much a spiritual quest to maintain human dignity as a physical struggle. The Periodic Table (1975), a collection of 21 autobiographical meditations, each named for a chemical element, draws analogies between a young man's moral formation and the physical and chemical properties that circumscribe our humanity. He also wrote the novels The Monkey's Wrench (1978) and If Not Now, When? (1986), short stories, essays, and poetry. He died in a fall that was widely thought a suicide.


See his complete works, ed. by A. Goldstein (2015); interviews ed. by M. Belpoliti and R. Gordon (2001); biographies by M. Anissimov (1996, tr. 1998), C. Angier (2002), I. Thomson (2003), and B. Lang (2013).

References in periodicals archive ?
And now I keep coming back to poor, brave Primo Levi, and what a service he did for us in writing his book.
Riflessioni come questa sono contenute, in numero notevole, in scritti teorici e interviste, e costituiscono il naturale corollario della scrittura di Primo Levi.
It is a piercing passage taken directly from the chapter titled "Chemical Examination" in If This Is a Man (1947) by Primo Levi, the Italian chemist who was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, where he remained until the camp's liberation in 1945, enduring atrocious suffering; it was his need to tell of his experiences in the camp that turned this man of science into a great writer.
2) Primo Levi, The Reawakening 228 (Stuart Woolf trans.
ETCHINGS inspired by the life and work of Italian poet, writer and chemist, Primo Levi, are on display at Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, until March 11.
This installment features works that are considered dark and subversive, with pieces by such authors as Primo Levi, Cesar Aira, and Sigizmund Krhizhanovsky.
Why bring a Congolese writer and a Russian linguist together in an essay on Primo Levi and translation?
She is currently touring Almanac, named after a Primo Levi poem which Emily describes as "an apocalyptic glimpse into the future of the Earth if we don't take care of it".
Answering Auschwitz: Primo Levi's Science and Humanism After the Fall" is a series of essays discussing the work of Primo Levi, who after his own endeavor in the concentration camps, became a prolific man of art, science, and writing.
They begin their letter with a quote from Primo Levi "When we know how to prevent torment, but don't, we become tormentors.
Dwork closes the volume with a consideration of the aftermath of the Holocaust, focusing on displaced persons, world reaction to the Holocaust, its place in history, and a tribute to human transcendence of oppression in an excerpt from The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi.
Both Primo Levi and Jean Amery describe such humiliating events in their own work, stating that the felt shame (Primo Levi devotes a full chapter to that highly charged term in The Drowned and the Saved) lasts much longer than the pain of the blow experienced at the moment it is delivered.