Primo Levi und die öffentliche Nutzung der Vergangenheit
Keywords:Primo Levi, Jewish Culture, Italian Culture, witness to the Holocaust, canonization
One century after the birth and more than three decades after the death of Primo Levi, the time has come to go beyond his posthumous canonisation and to historicise his life and work by considering the distance that separates us from his age. This means carefully distinguishing between his own present and the current uses of his writings. Whereas the destiny of a classic author is to be permanently reinterpreted, this reassessment sometimes results in significant misunderstandings, which were the topics of Enzo Traverso’s Simon Wiesenthal Lecture, held on 12 December 2019. There, he analysed Primo Levi’s position in Italian culture, his definition as a Jewish writer, as well as his role as a literary witness of the Holocaust.
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