Memory and Mastery

Primo Levi as Writer and Witness

Edited by Roberta S. Kremer

Subjects: World War Ii, Literary Criticism, Jewish Studies, Italian Studies, Holocaust Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780791449226, 267 pages, April 2001
Hardcover : 9780791449219, 267 pages, April 2001

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Table of contents



Part I: Levi as Writer, Levi as Witness

1. The Haunted Journey of Primo Levi
Gian Paolo Biasin

2. Primo Levi and His Concept of Time: Time of the Gun, Time of the Spirit
Yaffa Eliach

3. The Rhetoric of the Univers Concentrationaire
Risa Sodi

Part II: Levi and Science

4. Primo Levi's Science as 'Evil Nurse': The Lesson of Inversion
Nancy Harrowitz

5. Moral Snares and Parables: Between Science Fiction and Midrash
Mirna Cicioni

Part III: Levi's Poetry

6. At an Uncertain Hour: The Other Side of Primo Levi
Nicholas Patruno

Part IV: Levi and Language

7. On Language and Violence
Brian Cliff

8. On Language and Personhood: A Linguistic Odyssey
Patricia Sayre and Linnea Vacca

Part V: Levi's Legacy

9. Bridging the Narrative and Visual: Primo Levi as a Source of Inspiration for Contemporary Artists
Stephen C. Feinstein

10. The Duty and Risk of Testimony: Primo Levi as Keeper of Memory
Franca Molino Signorini

11. Legacy in Gray
Lawrence L. Langer

Bibliography of Selected Works by and About Primo Levi



Interdisciplinary explorations into the work of one of the premier writer-survivors of the Holocaust.


This book carefully examines the work of Primo Levi, one of the premier survivor-writers of the Holocaust and one of the outstanding Italian writers of the twentieth century. Artists, writers, and educators have all turned to Levi's writing as a source of inspiration and wisdom in coping with the tragedy of the Holocaust. Until recently, however, there have been few book-length works in English on Levi. This collection of essays from an international group of writers aims to bring greater critical attention to Levi's work by exploring all aspects of his oeuvre, including his science-fiction writings and his poetry, as well as his fictional and nonfictional writings about the Holocaust. Interdisciplinary in nature, this collection includes literary, psychoanalytic, linguistic, and historical approaches to Levi's work.

Roberta S. Kremer is Executive Director of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.


"Levi is quickly becoming an acknowledged master of the Holocaust—as a memoirist, I consider him to be as significant a commentator as Elie Wiesel. Lamentably, there are few books in English on Levi, and I believe anyone interested in the Holocaust and in Italian literature will be interested in this volume." — Jay Losey, Baylor University

"Anyone interested in a greater understanding of our 'age of atrocity' will find this book necessary reading." — Doug Beardsley, University of Victoria