Christ Stopped at Eboli - The Story of a Year

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9781443729215: Christ Stopped at Eboli - The Story of a Year
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CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI- THE STORY OF A YEAR by CARLO LEVI. Because of his uncompromising opposition to Fascism, Carlo Levi was banished at the start of the Abyssinian War ( 1935) to a small primitive village in Lucania, a remote province of southern Italy. In this region, which remains unknown not only to tourists but also to the vast majority of Italians, Carlo Levi, a painter, doctor, and writer, lived out a memorable time. Many years have gone by, years ol war and of what men call History. Buffeted here and there at random I have not been able to return to my peasants as I promised when I left them, and I do not know when, if ever, I can keep my promise. But closed in one room, in a world apart, I am glad to travel in my memory to that other world, hedged in by custom and sorrow, cut off from History and the State, eternally patient, to that land without comfort or solace, where the peasant lives out his motionless civilization on barren ground in remote poverty, and in the presence of death, We're not Christians, they say. Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli. Christian, In their way of speaking means human being, and this almost proverbial phrase that I have so often heard them repeat may be no more than the expression of a hopeless feeling of inferiority. We're not Christians, we're not human beings; we're not thought of as men but simply as beasts, beasts of burden, or even less than beasts, mere creatures of the wild. They at least live for better or for worse, like angels or demons, in a world of their own, while we have to submit to the world of Christians, beyond the horizon, to carry its weight and to stand comparison with it. But the phrase has a much deeper meaning and, as is the way of symbols, this is the literal one. Christ did stop at Eboli, where the road and the railway leave the coast of Salerno and turn into the desolate reaches of Lucania. Christ never came this far, nor did time, nor the individual soul, nor hope, nor the relation of cause to effect, nor reason nor history. Christ never came, just as the Romans never came, content to garrison the highways without pene trating the mountains and forests, nor the Greeks, who flour ished beside the Gulf of Taranto. None of the pioneers of Western civilization brought here his sense of the passage of time, his deification of the State or that ceaseless activity which feeds upon itself. No one has come to this land except as an enemy, a conqueror, or a visitor devoid of understand ing. The seasons pass today over the toil of the peasants, just as they did three thousand years before Christ; no message, human or divine, has reached this stubborn pov erty. We speak a different language, and here our tongue is incomprehensible. The greatest travelers have not gone beyond the limits of their own world; they have trodden the paths of their own souls, of good and evil, of morality and redemption. Christ descended into the underground hell of Hebrew moral principle in order to break down its doors In time and to seal them up into eternity. But to this shadowy land, that knows neither sin nor redemption from sin, where evil is not moral but is only the pain residing forever in earthly things, Christ did not come. Christ stopped at Eboli. I ARRIVED at Gagliano one August afternoon in a rat tling little car, I was wearing handcuffs and I was escorted by two stalwart servants of the State with vertical red bands on their trousers, and expressionless faces. I arrived reluc tantly and ready for the worst, because sudden orders had caused me to leave Grassano where I had been livin

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From the Back Cover:

A sensitive and gifted writer with a great sense of style.... Perhaps the best thing in his book is the detachment by which he avoids sentimentalizing the peasants and at the same time renders their undestroyed feelings for human values. --Alfred Kazin, New York Herald Tribune Book Review

The present translation by Frances Frenaye suggests that Levi is a great prose stylist, as well as brilliant observer of human life and a wise and patient diagnostician of our condition. --New Republic

A kind of gray El Greco beauty.... It is a long time since any book has come out of Italy with such an individual accent, such a richness of texture. --Lewis Gannett, New York Herald Tribune

Levi writes with sympathy and insight.... Hailed by Italian critics as one of their most promising contemporary writers, he has proved his competence by making a readable and interesting book out of grim and forbidding material. --Saturday Review of Literature

Has been called in turn a diary, an album of sketches, a novelette, a sociological study and a political essay. It has more than a trait of each genre; yet it remains as hard to classify as every beautiful book, or as the man who wrote this one. --New York Times Book Review

About the Author:

The Italian-Jewish writer, journalist, artist and doctor Carlo Levi was born in Turin in 1902 where he practised medicine until 1930. In 1935 he was exiled to the province of Lucania because of his antifascist activities. Levi lived in France between 1939 and 1941 and his documentary novel, CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI, was an international success. Levi also wrote non-fiction and worked as an editor, journalist and painter. He was elected to the Senate in 1963, and served until his death in 1975.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780374530099: Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year (FSG Classics)

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ISBN 10:  0374530092 ISBN 13:  9780374530099
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006
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Andesi..., 2015
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9780374503161: Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year

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9780141183213: Christ Stopped at Eboli (Penguin Modern Classics)

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9780809437481: Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year

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