Download A Dante Of Our Time: Primo Levi and Auschwitz by Risa Sodi PDF

By Risa Sodi

This unique and well timed quantity info the impression of Dante's Inferno on Primo Levi's vintage Holocaust narrative, Se questo è uomo, and his final booklet of essays, I sommersi e i salvatie. Such key recommendations as reminiscence, justice, and the area of the impartial sinners - «la zona grigia» for Levi - are given specific emphasis. 3 questions shape the spine of the publication: Can reminiscence be conquer? the place is justice for the Holocaust survivor? and, Is there a center flooring among sufferer and oppressors, and the way does Levi outline it? plentiful use of interviews with the writer demonstrate how Levi relates those 3 inquiries to such modern figures as Sigmund Freud, Franz Stangl, Rudolf Höss, Jean Améry, Liliana Cavani, and Kurt Waldheim.

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His concept of justice is highly institutionalized (and principally enacted through the courts of law). Recent statements of his show that since he himself felt incapable of judging his fellow man, he would leave that task to "judges or rabbis": I don't have the authority to bestow forgiveness. If I were a rabbi, maybe I would; if I were a judge, perhaps. I believe that if someone has commited a crime, he has to pay. " The authority does not rest with me. 32 When Levi turns to judges or rabbis to pass judgment and bestow forgiveness (though, in Judaism, rabbis do not grant forgiveness), his decision on the one hand is grounded in the rule of law and in accepted moral standards, while on the other, it is based on an intuitive appraisal of the Justice in Dante and Levi 21 perpetrator's moral condition, such as only a religious can make.

Why then, moving on to the last paired concepts explored in the above paragraph, why cannot punishment lead to panlun in Levi's schema? No pardon is possible, Levi advances, because (1) a crime has been committed and chi sbaglia paga; (2) the crimes were committed with volition, and mens rea is at the base of punishment; and (3) the crimes were committed with the excess zeal of Schadenfreude, and forgiveness 29 Justice in Dante and Levi can not assuage that offense. erty in which vice pertains to one extreme and virtue to the other.

A rabbi's forgiveness would be grounded in a higher order than a judge's. When Levi turns to rabbis, is he implicitly acknowledging a human link to divine justice? A statement from I sommersi e i salvati seems to point in this direction: "La condizione di offeso [prisoner] non esclude Ia colpa, e spesso questa e obbiettivamente grave, rna non conosco tribunate umano a cui delegame Ia misura. " 33 If human courts of law are inadequate, as this statement suggests, then the alternative would have to be some sort of divine tribunal.

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