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Answering AuschwitzPrimo Levi's Science and Humanism after the Fall$
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Stanislao G. Pugliese

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233588

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823233588.001.0001

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Autobiography and the Narrator

Autobiography and the Narrator

(p.177) Chapter 14 Autobiography and the Narrator
Answering Auschwitz
Nancy Harrowitz
Fordham University Press

The critical reception of Levi as an author most approvingly points to his objectivity, his “dispassionate” witnessing, and his ability to universalize, to delineate, and to explore a broad humanistic context within which to examine the moral and ethical questions that arise from a study of the Holocaust. His scientific training is often cited as what permits him to take a long view, to write in a style which Irving Howe called “unadorned and chaste,” and that Cynthia Ozick described as “lucid and calm,” demonstrating “magisterial equanimity.” Levi himself advanced this view of his writing and his philosophy, even directly connecting his process of writing to scientific method and to chemical reaction in interviews and essays. There is no question that Levi represents himself as a chemist and survivor first and as a writer second.

Keywords:   humanistic context, Holocaust, Irving Howe, Cynthia Ozick, philosophy, scientific method, chemical reaction

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