Primo Levi

Jeannette Baxter (Anglia Ruskin University)
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The writings of Primo Levi have been read predominantly in terms of Holocaust literature. From his early testimonies,

If this is a Man

(1958) and

The Truce

(1963), to works such as

The Periodic Table


The Wrench


Moments of Reprieve


If not Now, When

(1982) and through to his final admonition,

The Drowned and the Saved

(1986), Levi never ceased from bearing witness to the incommensurable horrors of Nazi genocide, and, specifically, his own experience of incarceration in Auschwitz. Each novel is, in the survivor's own words, an “account of atrocities”, and the immediate and violent impulse which pushes each narrative forward is the overwhelming need to communicate “to tell our story to 'the rest', to make 'the rest' participate in it.”

Primo Levi's story began

2888 words

Citation: Baxter, Jeannette. "Primo Levi". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002 [, accessed 30 May 2024.]

2709 Primo Levi 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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