How It All Started

A Personal Reflection
  • Nicholas Patruno
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


To borrow Levi’s own opening words in his Preface to Se questo è un uomo (Survival in Auschwitz), it was “per mia fortuna” that, in the fall of 1988, I received a phone call from Warren Slesinger, who at that time was acquisitions editor of the University of South Carolina Press. He was seeking the names of some recent prominent Italian writers whose works would be of interest to the American reading public. Besides Cesare Pavese and Alberto Moravia, he told me that, offhand, he could not recall the names of other modern Italian writers. The first two names that quickly came to mind to suggest to him were those of Italo Calvino and Primo Levi. His immediate response to the name of Primo Levi was “Why didn’t I think of him?” And then came the surprise. What I thought was just a call of inquiry resulted in my being asked if I were interested in submitting a proposal for a book to add to the Press’s series “Understanding Modern European and Latin American Literature,” the companion to the “Understanding Contemporary American Literature” series.


Bryn Mawr Book Title Opening Word Bryn Mawr College American Edition 
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  1. 1.
    Mima Cicioni, Primo Levi: Bridges of Knowledge (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1995).Google Scholar
  2. Risa Sodi, A Dante of Our Time (New York: Peter Lang, 1990).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Nicholas Patruno, Understanding Primo Levi (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995), ix.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Thane Rosenbaum, The Golems of Gotham: A Novel (New York: HarperCollins, 2002).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Risa Sodi and Millicent Marcus 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Patruno
    • 1
  1. 1.Bryn Mawr CollegeUSA

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