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Download Primo Levi: Tragedy of an Optimist eBook

by Myriam Anissimov

Download Primo Levi: Tragedy of an Optimist eBook
ISBN:
1585670200
Author:
Myriam Anissimov
Category:
Genre Fiction
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Overlook Press (March 2000)
Pages:
604 pages
EPUB book:
1264 kb
FB2 book:
1466 kb
DJVU:
1576 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.1
Votes:
543


Levi, Primo, Auschwitz (Concentration camp), Authors, Italian - 20th century - Biography, Holocaust survivors - Italy - Biography.

Levi, Primo, Auschwitz (Concentration camp), Authors, Italian - 20th century - Biography, Holocaust survivors - Italy - Biography. Woodstock, NY : Overlook Press. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Oliver Wendell Holmes Library.

Primo Levi explores the complex nature of a man who was both a strong and spirited survivor as well as a man prone to severe depression, a man who felt misunderstood and certain that future generations would forget and deny what many would call the central informing disaster of the century.

Until Myriam Anissimov published this comprehensive biography of Primo Levi in 1998, the world knew him primarily through his own writings. He was born into an assimilated middle-class Jewish family in Turin, Italy, in 1919. His people were not observant Jews, and Levi, apparently, knew little about "Jewishness" until Mussolini's anti-Semitic policy taught him something about his heritage.

Primo Michele Levi (Italian: ; 31 July 1919 – 11 April 1987) was an Italian Jewish chemist, partisan, Holocaust survivor and writer. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems

Myriam Anissimov's major biography of Primo Levi delves deeply into the . .Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Primo Levi: Tragedy of an Optimist as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Myriam Anissimov's major biography of Primo Levi delves deeply into the .

Until Myriam Anissimov published this comprehensive biography of Primo Levi in 1998, the world knew him . com User, August 6, 2000. Primo Levi: Tragedy Of An Optimist is a major biography which delves deeply into the life, mind and work of an influential writer, philosopher, and Holocaust witness.

Primo Levi (1919-87) is widely regarded as one of the most lucid and coolly reflective witnesses of the .

Primo Levi (1919-87) is widely regarded as one of the most lucid and coolly reflective witnesses of the Holocaust. He was a well-educated Italian Jew, a native of Turin, whom the SS deported to Auschwitz in 1944.

I had become very friendly with this couple, felt very warm towards them, and had even agreed to their request - when they decided to get married the following summer (in the chapel of an illustrious and very. beautiful Italian cathedral) - not only to come to the wedding but to give the bride away. Now, a year on we were to meet again in their home. I had a brief if delightful sojourn, received wonderful hospitality and still think of the couple as my friends. But this time something left a bitter aftertaste.

Primo Levi : Tragedy of an Optimist.

oceedings{Levene2000PrimoLT, title {Primo Levi, Tragedy of an Optimist. M Anissimov}, author {Mark Levene}, year {2000} }.

Myriam Anissimov's major biography of Primo Levi delves deeply into the life and mind of this controversial writer, philosopher, and Holocaust witness, exploring the complex nature of a man who was both a strong-spirited survivor and a sufferer of severe bouts of depression, a man who felt misunderstood. His experiences at Auschwitz resulted in some of this century's most remarkable literature, which includes The Periodic Table and Survival at Auschwitz. He was haunted not only by his own experiences, but by the fear that future generations would inevitably forget and even deny the Holocaust. On April 11, 1987, Levi committed suicide, throwing himself down the staircase of the building where he was born.

By bringing Levi's life into focus with material gathered from exhaustive research, interviews with his friends and relatives, and numerous unpublished texts and testimonies, Anissimov's biography is an invaluable contribution to Holocaust scholarship and a crucial companion to the writings of this tortured genius.

  • Gaua
Readers of Levi's works will find this bio complements the works. Entering Auschwitz in his early twenties - on the brink of life itself, love, work, education, friendship - young Primo through his works of literature, his school visits, his articles, his interviews, bore witness to the efficient workings of the German business and military machine as it worked its way through murdering millions of undesirables, mainly people of the Jewish faith. One of the interesting contradictions in Levi's world was his belief in the power of the scientific method on the one hand, which governed his approach to literature, and his love of the inefficiencies and carelessness of the Russian liberators of the death camps, on the other. In the former, it was the Germans very use of science and methodical organization that made it so successful in killing then cremating so many so efficiently. In the latter, it was the absence of method that he found so endearing, so human. If his goal was to bear witness, he has achieved that goal, and his legacy will live forever. No matter how many films we see, or pictures of the dead, or documentaries, it will be through literature that the real legacy of Naziism will be immortalized and it is mainly to this chemist, this great writer, that we owe thanks, a writer who manages to reach the soul of the reader.
His other great legacy will be his respect for the accurate and most effective use of language which he was passionate about and which he sees as being directly connected to the search for "truth" in his work as a scientist (chemist). It is this passion which connects him directly to such writers as George Orwell. Undoubtedly, the reader leaves Levi's works and this biography with a a greater, perhaps lasting, sensitivity to words, words such as ARBEIT MACHT FREI (work sets free) which was the gateway motto of Auschwitz death camps, but which, ironically, Levi believed and practiced throughout his life.
Ms Anissimov's work makes excellent reading and she has done a great service in bringing us closer to this fine human.
  • Enalonasa
Until Myriam Anissimov published this comprehensive biography of Primo Levi in 1998, the world knew him primarily through his own writings. He was born into an assimilated middle-class Jewish family in Turin, Italy, in 1919. His people were not observant Jews, and Levi, apparently, knew little about "Jewishness" until Mussolini's anti-Semitic policy taught him something about his heritage. His father, Casare, was an electrical engineer and an avid reader. Primo learned from him that the humanities and the sciences need not be separate worlds.

Trained as a chemist, he was arrested during the Second World War as a member of the anti-Fascist resistance and deported to the Monowitz concentration camp, part of the Auschwitz complex in 1944. Badly beaten and half-starved, Levi was determined to spend his time mentally recording his irrational world "with the curiosity of the naturalist." His background in chemistry actually saved his life, Levi was to acknowledge later. After being transferred to work in the camp laboratory his situation improved dramatically. Anissimov's account of the final days at Auschwitz - when Levi, suffering from scarlet fever, managed to forage, with a few comrades, through a semi-dismantled concentration camp in the freezing cold - is the focal point of her book. Her research is meticulous. Levi survived 11 months as slave laborer 174517 until the liberation of what he called "that hideous distortion of humanity." Seven months after the war, he was still a refugee in Russia, trying to make his way home.

When he returned to Turin, to the same apartment where he had always lived, he felt a terrible need to bear witness. He had watched as fellow inmates were stripped of their essential selves before they died in the flesh. His powerful memoirs, works of fiction and poetry describe his experience in the death camp and his later travels in Eastern Europe. Levi wrote. "And I felt like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, who waylays on the street the wedding guests going to the feast, inflicting on them the story of his misfortune." The civilized world did not seem to care what he had to say, however. No large publisher would accept his powerful manuscript, "Survival in Auschwitz." Anissimov reports that the book received a few positive reviews but was "distributed rather than sold."

For the last forty years of his life Levi devoted himself to understanding why he was not killed in the concentration camp. "The worst survived, that is, the fittest; the best all died," he said. He spent much of his time writing about literature, astronomy, philosophy, the wonders of the natural life and the dignity of manual labor. Married with two children, he was a lifelong agnostic, and was described by some coreligionists as a stranger to Jewish culture. He worked at his profession, as a research chemist and factory manager, until his retirement. Plagued by survivor's guilt, and inner wounds, as well as the coverage the media was giving to Holocaust deniers, Levi, the most gentle of men, died in Turin in April 1987, an apparent suicide.

This biography delves deeply into the life and mind of the man who was a philosophical student of life. Ms. Anissimov, a French journalist and novelist, explores the complex nature of the man, who was at once such a vital force, a real survivor in many senses, and the man prone to dark moods, disillusionment and bouts of severe depression. She writes, with riveting detail, about Levi's year in Auschwitz, drawing on his autobiographical accounts and those of other survivors. Hers was the supremely difficult task of attempting to do what Levi himself said he could not. He was not able to show how the survivor and the scientist, separately and together, perceived the world. "Primo Levi: Tragedy of an Optimist" is based primarily on Ms. Anissimov's reading of Levi's work, her correspondence or interviews with men and women associated with him, and interviews and essays on him by others. This painstaking journalistic endeavor is concise and clear, which is what Mr. Levi believed his own work should be - "avoiding embellishments and convolutions." She has accomplished all this and more. I have read that many are disappointed that this biography did not delve more into Levi's personality, his psyche. I understand that his wife would not be interviewed. Nor would she release intimate personal papers. When close family members do not cooperate, and first-hand information is not available, it is almost impossible to form an accurate analysis of someone's inner complexities.

I was deeply moved by this biography. There are flaws here, but overall it presents an extraordinary portrait of a great man. His writings were fundamental in shaping many people's understanding of what the Holocaust meant when he originally wrote about it, and what it means today, in the context of the 21st century. Some people, devastated by the manner in which he died, say that the Holocaust finally killed him. I do not believe this. Primo Levi fought almost all his life to live. He struggled to enjoy life and the world around him, and to bear witness, an enormous responsibility for anyone. He fought courageously for forty plus years. I respect him greatly for that, and for allowing us all to know him a little bit.
JANA
  • anneli
I bought this book with great expecations--partly on the strength of Victor Brombert's NYT review and partly because I was midway through the wonderful Periodic Table when the biography came out. My hopes were disappointed--big time. The problem is, the writer has collected a lot of details, only to be confronted with the necessity of doing something with the details. She was not up to the task. In many cases, information is put forth without any attempt to integrate it into Levi's life story. The reader asks, What does this have to do with Levi? How did it have an impact? How should we interpret the information--should we interpret it at all? Alas, one senses that the author dug up some fact or other and said, well, now I'm going to cram it into my book. You figure it out, reader. Another problem with the author's treatment of detail is her very annoying repetition of facts. Sometimes the language is close to verbatim in different places throughout the book. Levi's books are constantly being published and then, a few pages later, published again (and I'm not talking about different translations). A third problem is that much of the information seems to have been gleaned from Levi's published books. And yet there are no new interpretive glosses that add anything to what Levi himself wrote. Finally, as the Amazon review notes, Levi the man does not emerge from the pages. If you want to know about Levi, stick with Survival in Auschwitz, the Periodic Table, and his other works. Wait for a better biography than this one.