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Primo Levi was perhaps the most humane and eloquent writer of testimony to emerge from the Nazi Holocaust. But he also went beyond testimony in his work, tackling many of the founding ethical questions of what it is to be human, 'how to live'. Whether in accounts of the concentration camps, essays, science-fiction, autobiography, poetry, or fiction, he always approached his writing with a questioning, ethically open and alert eye. This book explores the extraordinary depth of Levi the ethical writer across his entire oeuvre for the first time, by way of thirteen so-called 'ordinary virtues', that is the ways and means Levi forges for practically and compassionately engaging with the world. It draws on a wide range of recent thinking about Holocaust literature and the general relationship between literature and ethics. From the book a new understanding of Levi's importance as both witness and writer emerges, enhancing his status as one of the key literary figures of the twentieth century.
Oxford University Press
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