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Today, at a time when Primo Levi’s works inspire a voluminous stream of scholarly studies and academic conferences in all the world’s major languages, and when his influence can be found in such disparate places as pop music and literature, Indian dance, contemporary film and theater, the fine arts, and more, it is astonishing to think that just two decades ago, Levi’s name was virtually unknown outside of a small group of scholars and enthusiasts. During our years in graduate school (the early 1970s for one of us, the late 1980s and early 1990s for the other), Levi’s texts were considered outside the canon, the work of a nonprofessional, and unlikely to achieve permanence. One of us remembers, in particular, having her 1986 application for research funds for a study of Levi rejected by a major Italian American organization because Jewish issues were judged to be marginal, and by a major Jewish American organization because Italy was judged to be marginal. Indeed, the first English-language monograph on Levi was only published in 1990 (by one of the editors of this volume).
KeywordsLiterary Production Jewish Identity Crooked Nose Nice People Italian Majority
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- 1.Primo Levi, The Search for Roots (Lanham, MD: Ivan R. Dee, 2003), 5.Google Scholar