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HGMS Faculty Seminar. Primo Levi: Between Testimony and Fiction

Event Type
Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies Initiative
2090 Foreign Language Building
Oct 24, 2019   12:00 pm  
Philippe Mesnard
Brett Kaplan

This seminar will discuss a chapter by Philippe Mesnard in which  he compares two texts Primo Levi wrote at the same time, in February 1946, when he began If this is a man, his first work of testimony. The first text formed part of If this is a man as the penultimate chapter. The second is the first tale of what would become a long series of tales published many years later. At first glance, these two texts look very different from each other, nevertheless, there are intimately connected and a close reading reveals how testimony and fiction can work together to build what we could call “the Truth of the Witness” according to Levi.

Click here to access readings and materials for the workshop.

Philippe Mesnard is a Professor of Comparative literature at University of Clermont Auvergne and belong to the Institut Universitaire de France, in which he has been directing the program « The place of Witness and Testimony ». Amongst other books, he wrote a biography of Primo Levi (Fayard, Hardcover, 2011, paperback, 2019) and he is editor of Sonkerkommando’s archives in France, Spain, Nederland and Italy.

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