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Looking at Primo Levi

22nd October 2015

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Russian forces during the Second World War.  Auschwitz was a series of concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany, and it is estimated that 1.1 million individuals were killed in Auschwitz alone. One Jewish man who did not lose his life during his imprisonment at Auschwitz was a chemist and writer named Primo Levi.

In Answering Auschwitz, Primo Levi’s Science and Humanism after the Fall, editor Stanislao G. Pugliese puts together a volume of essays that deal directly with Levi and his work, which explores issues such as Holocaust studies, philosophy, theology, and the problem of representation.

“I became a Jew in Auschwitz,” Levi once wrote, comparing the concentration camp to a “university” of life. Yet he could also paradoxically admit, in an interview late in life, “There is Auschwitz, and so there cannot be God.” Rather than seek to untangle these contradictions, Levi embraced them. This volume seeks to embrace them as well. 

To learn more about Primo Levi, take a look at this article from The New York Review of Books. Check out Fordham Univeristy Press’ website for all of your literary needs.