Dante’s Divina Commedia is one of the most, if not the most quoted book in the works of Primo Levi. In many books or chapters, often across several pages in a row, we find either explicit references or allusions to Dante. Since a systematic approach is impossible, a symptomatic approach will be proposed in this lecture. Professor Franceschini will consider:
Il canto di Ulisse, a short story that was typewritten (1946), then printed as a chapter of Se questo è uomo (1947);
- The rewriting of Se questo è un uomo (If This is a Man) (1958);
- Some verses in a short story, which was also broadcast on radio and TV (1960-1971);
- A poem (1984).
Each case represents a different textual type or process, written over the course of Levi’s life between his return home from Auschwitz and the last years of his life. Despite this, or rather precisely because of this, the analysis of these four cases will allow us to establish some features of Levi’s relationship with Dante at different moments of Levi’s life.
This lecture will be delivered in Italian, with slides in English
Fabrizio Franceschini is Professor of Italian Linguistics and History of the Italian Language at the University of Pisa, where he is Vice President of the Center for Jewish Studies (Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Ebraici). He has published on Italian linguistics, the history of the Italian language, and Italian philology across all epochs of the Italian tradition. His research has focused on the language and historical aspects of Dante’s Commedia and the early commentary tradition surrounding the poem. His current research addresses the presence of Dante in Primo Levi’s works.
Originally published at italianstudies.nd.edu.