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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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Kenosis, Saturated Phenomenology, and Bearing Witness

Kenosis, Saturated Phenomenology, and Bearing Witness

(p.56) Chapter 4 Kenosis, Saturated Phenomenology, and Bearing Witness
Answering Auschwitz

Marie L. Baird

Fordham University Press

This chapter contends that Levi's status as a “writer-witness” is relatively resistant to a more traditional metaphysical analysis of writer as transcendental subject because such an undertaking is unable to explain as adequately as Marion's analyses of saturated phenomenality do Levi's seemingly obsessive need to write about his ordeal upon his return to safety. This chapter argues that what one might call the “self” of the Lager casts Levi into the position of a more or less pure recipient of what Marion would call the “self” of the Lager's phenomenality as a historically overwhelming event. This chapter characterizes Levi's ordeal as a form of kenosis, or self-emptying, in order to accept the position of witness-recipient even as his acute powers of observation and memory are heightened exponentially.

Keywords:   writer-witness, metaphysical analysis, Marion's analyses, Lager's phenomenality, kenosis

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