Introduction. Primo Levi and the Question of the Animal

Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


This first chapter serves as introduction to Primo Levi’s work as well as to the main shift in perspective that this book provides. Some of the chief terms and concepts of the book in its entirety—such as “Humanism,” “testimony,” and “identification”—are presented and contextualized within both Levi’s scholarship and the contemporary debate on non-human animals and animality. The chapter begins by challenging the common interpretation of Levi as a humanistic “hero” and reframing his work within the question of the animal. It then considers the genre of Holocaust testimony in its relationship with both the ethical issue of literary identification and the epistemological function of literary animals. Finally, it discusses the significance of modern Italian literature for Animal Studies and provides a rationale for the structure of the book.


Literary Animal Studies Italian Literature Animal Representations Eaglestone Testimonial Literature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of French and ItalianDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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