Join Our Mailing List. MLA Commons. Search Search Submit. Menu Toggle navigation.
The reception of Primo Levi in Romania
Published: Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Add to Cart. Search Bookstore. Search Submit. It is a troublesome trope; whatever its origin, it carries traces of the theological and the colonial. What voice a state of the victims would have, we do not know. The very idea of representation is undermined: if the voice of the survivor is a performance of monoconceptual survival, how can we measure the distance of meaning when it is rendered in the same words, though its language is very different?
One bears witness by proxy, but how is the distance within proximity made present to the reader? The text as a figurative code—the text that needs decoding—is one answer; Levi also presents a different code of communication, one that is precisely the same inside and outside the camp: the Commercial Code. In all his writing Levi takes a keen interest in commerce as an alternative language of life, a primal human instinct attributed to the Jews by Fascists and anti-Semites as a particularity.
Commerce is an essential part of survival, the need for it as primal as the need to eat. Every prison, every camp, every gulag has a market.
Essay Topic 1
In the camp the bourse where commerce takes place is not a place of hostilities but of rivalry. One is a competitor in a nonbinary system, with a wide range of flexible interactions and alliances. Commerce, like survival, is a monoconceptual language, profit is its only concept, and the endless ways of the world are its parole. Commerce in this sense is ultimately not that different from survival, and in the end it leads to similar consequences; but it is a kinder, gentler language than survival, and incomprehension means loss, but not of life.
It is the Odyssey against the Iliad , brutal but not as uselessly so. Chemistry for Levi is a profession, a trade, a figurative system, and a form of commerce.
Molecules trade and procure matter from one another; Levi himself used the knowledge of his trade to survive before, after, and during the war. In order to survive in the camp one must be complicit with the system of the camp, in which survival of the few facilitates the death of the many. In commerce, there is always the possibility of mutually beneficial trade, but without regulation the largest will always destroy the many smaller weaker competitors.
Nevertheless, commerce is a fundamental aspect of the camp that the reader can understand: it is the same in and out of the camp. It is the camp in the world. The question Levi poses for the reader is not limited to the kind of commerce that takes place in the camp but applies to the very exchange that takes place between the reader and the writer, the survivor and the world he has survived into. The survivor is rewarded with the ability to testify, to achieve the justification of survival, at least in the terms introduced by Steinlauf: to survive in order to bear witness.
- Primo Levi - Wikipedia.
- Read The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi Lesson Plans Ebook Online - video dailymotion;
- Recommended Readings?
- How To Win Prizes & Competitions & Sweepstakes.
- We Can Fix U.S. Health Care;
- Using Testimony in Holocaust Education | snitubba.tk;
The reader, it would seem, is rewarded with the feeling of redemption, of living in a world that has overcome the evil the survivor has survived. Reading about Steinlauf and the many characters Levi mentions can be mistaken for redemption of their loss, their presence among us, and the salvation of their memory. Suicide in this sense would indicate a rebellion against the trade-off.
Between testimony and memory, what place for Primo Levi?
In all discourses and languages, suicide is the ultimate refusal, a negation of the world, a period ending the periodic system. Inevitably, like other systems based on such fallacies, it reaches bankruptcy. Primo Levi, Opere , 3 vols. Turin: Einaudi, , — Perhaps the best example is the interpretative biography of sorts by Ernesto Ferrero, Primo Levi: La vita, le opera Turin: Einaudi, , Lawrence R.
See Levi, Opere , — Robert S. Gordon Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , 51— See Robert S. Stanislao G.
Pugliese New York: Palgrave Macmillan, , — Levi, Survival , 38 Opere , This does not mean that all testimony is about the inability to testify, as Agamben would have it. Uri S. Levi, Survival , 41 Opere , Tauris, ; and W. Levi, Survival , 89 Opere , — Levi, Survival , 86 Opere , Stanford strives to post only content for which we have licensed permission or that is otherwise permitted by copyright law.
The Drowned and the Saved Essay Topics & Writing Assignments
If you have a concern that your copyrighted material is posted here without your permission, please contact us and we will work with you to resolve your concern. If any Arcade blogger elects a different license, the blogger's license takes precedence. Skip to: Skip to content. Lagersprache: Primo Levi and the Language of Survival.
Related Lesson Plan The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved