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Narrative and Imperative

The First Fifty Years of Italian Holocaust Writing (1944-1994)

Risa B. Sodi

Narrative & Imperative is the first book in English on Italian Holocaust writing as a whole. Risa Sodi explores the work of eight representative authors, including the internationally famous (Primo Levi, Giorgio Bassani, and Elsa Morante) and the lesser known (Giacomo Debenedetti, Paolo Maurensig, Liana Millu, Bruno Piazza, and Giuliana Tedeschi). She examines issues of genre, language, gender, and facticity while situating the works studied within the fields of European and Holocaust letters. A brief history of the Italian Jews – the oldest Jewish community in Europe – opens the book, and the conclusion brings the study up to recent times.
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A Dante Of Our Time

Primo Levi and Auschwitz

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Risa B. Sodi

This original and timely volume details the influence of Dante's Inferno on Primo Levi's classic Holocaust narrative, Se questo è uomo, and his last book of essays, I sommersi e i salvatie. Such key concepts as memory, justice, and the realm of the neutral sinners - «la zona grigia» for Levi - are given particular emphasis. Three questions form the backbone of the book: Can memory be overcome? Where is justice for the Holocaust survivor? and, Is there a middle ground between victim and oppressors, and how does Levi define it? Ample use of interviews with the author reveal how Levi relates these three questions to such contemporary figures as Sigmund Freud, Franz Stangl, Rudolf Höss, Jean Améry, Liliana Cavani, and Kurt Waldheim.