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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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Guilt or Shame?

Guilt or Shame?

(p.31) Chapter 2 Guilt or Shame?
Answering Auschwitz

Amy Simon

Fordham University Press

Primo Levi's corpus of writings has become an important part of a larger discussion in trauma, emotion, guilt, and shame theories. Ruth Leys has outlined recent trends in these fields in her 2007 book From Guilt to Shame: Auschwitz and After. This chapter conducts a close reading of Levi's manifold interpretation of the specific shame experienced by victims of the Holocaust as outlined in his essay “Shame” from his 1986 collection entitled, The Drowned and the Saved, as well as in If This Is a Man and The Truce. Rather than bringing literature to theory, this chapter seeks to bring theory to literature. Thus, it examines Primo Levi's interpretation of shame and guilt for its own sake, only in the end fitting it into the larger picture of guilt and shame theory.

Keywords:   trauma, emotion, guilt, shame theory, literature

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