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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.

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Introduction ............................................................................. 1 1. AI di qua del bene e del male: Justice in Dante's Inferno and in Primo Levi's First and Last Books .................................. 5 2. Neither in bono nor in malo: The Grey Zone and the Neutral Sinners ....................................................................... 31 3. Obliviscence and Reminiscence: Memory and the Memory of Offense .............................................................................. 49 Conclusion .............................................................................. 81 Notes ....................................................................................... 91 Bibliography .......................................................................... 1 03 Index ..................................................................................... 109 This page intentionally left blank

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