Primo Levi and Holocaust Memory in Italy, 1958–1963

  • Robert S. C. Gordon
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


A certain standard account of Primo Levi’s early career as a writer goes as follows: Survival in Auschwitz appears in 1947 with the small Turinese publisher De Silva, having been rejected by Einaudi, on the advice of Natalia Ginzburg and probably also Cesare Pavese. It is produced in a small print run, has a few positive reviews, but is then largely forgotten outside local circles. When Einaudi picks up and republishes the work, with minor modifications, in 1958, it is a significant success. Levi is persuaded, a short time thereafter, by friends such as the anti-Fascist jurist and historian Alessandro Galante Garrone, among others, to write further on his wartime experiences. The result is the publication of his narrative of return, The Reawakening, in 1963, an “Odyssey” to complement the “Iliad” of Survival in Auschwitz. If anything, The Reawakening is even more of a success, winning the first Campiello Prize, selling in large numbers, and swiftly being adopted as a book in schools.


Jewish Community Concentration Camp Jewish Identity Memory Culture Firsthand Account 
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

© Risa Sodi and Millicent Marcus 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. C. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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