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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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Writing Against the Fascist Sword

Writing Against the Fascist Sword

(p.193) Chapter 15 Writing Against the Fascist Sword
Answering Auschwitz

Fred Misurella

Fordham University Press

Pro Archia, Cicero's speech urging Roman citizenship for a Greek poet, famously defends poetry because it is one of the arts that “civilize and humanize men.” When, in 1333, Francesco Petrarca, known to readers in English as Petrarch, discovered the speech among a group of manuscripts in Liege, his translation and publication of it reinvigorated the argument over the value of literature in life for his time. “Theology is actually poetry,” Petrarch wrote to his brother, Gherardo. It is, Petrarch added, “poetry concerning God.” That humanistic concern for the value of poetry and artistic writing became one of the foundations of Renaissance thought. Italian narratives about the Fascist period, from Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz through Alberto Moravia's The Conformist and Two Women and Giorgio Bassani's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, along with Levi's The Awakening, remain clear, objective demonstrations of this literary trend.

Keywords:   Roman citizenship, Greek poet, Petrarch, Theology, artistic writing, Renaissance thought, Fascist period

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