PRIMO LEVI: Tragedy of an Optimist.

Levi, Primo, 1919-1987] Anissimov, Myriam.

ISBN 10: 0879518065 / ISBN 13: 9780879518066
Published by Woodstock NY: Overlook Press, (1999.) dj, 1999
Hardcover
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About this Item

Hardcover first edition - First US printing. "Primo Levi is represented in this world almost entirely by his writings, and his public self--shy, intelligent, diffident--in some respects disguised the man within. This first biography delves deeply into the life and mind of the controversial writer" a chemist by training, a partisan during World War II, a philosopher, and most importantly a survivor of the concentration camps and a Holocaust witness. Translated from the French by Steve Cox. List of Primo Levi's works. Photographs, notes, glossary of concentration camp terms, bibliography, and index. x, 452 pp. Near fine in near fine dust jacket (some light toning to the pages, very minor shelfwear.). Bookseller Inventory # 57307

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Bibliographic Details

Title: PRIMO LEVI: Tragedy of an Optimist.

Publisher: Woodstock NY: Overlook Press, (1999.) dj

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

A biography of the Italian chemist and writer describes his experience in Auschwitz and his life-long mission to tell the world about the Holocaust

Review:

In 1987, the literary world was shocked when the Italian writer and chemist Primo Levi died after falling down the stairs in the very home where he had been born 78 years earlier. The reason his death caused such surprise was the widely held suspicion that it was suicide--Levi, a man who had lived through 18 tortured months in Auschwitz, was known as a survivor.

What kept him alive through the Holocaust was an intense yearning to tell the world exactly what had happened, and when the war was over he immediately began writing. His books about the horrors he had lived through include If This Is a Man and the brilliant The Periodic Table. Levi also lectured, gave interviews, and led tours to Auschwitz, yet he always wondered if he had done enough. Once, pointing to the number tattooed on his arm, he said, "That is my disease." His tombstone in Turin bears his name; his dates of birth and death; and his number, 174517.

Myriam Anissimov, a Paris-based writer and journalist, painstakingly recorded Levi's life using hitherto unpublished letters and poems. She also consulted archives and interviewed Levi's colleagues and friends. Levi believed writers should be concise and clear, avoiding embellishments and convolutions, and that's exactly what Anissimov has accomplished. Her work will prove to be an invaluable resource for scholars and researchers, but readers who desire some insight into Levi's personality may be disappointed. His marriage is dealt with in just a few paragraphs and there's barely a mention of his children or any other significant relationships in his life. After reading this 450-page book, readers will have gained an excellent understanding of Levi's work, but little of him.

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