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Dante in Auschwitz: Primo Levi Reads the Canto of Ulysses

Primo Levi

Monday, April 23 lecture about Jewish-Italian writer Primo Levi and his incarceration in a concentration camp by Prof. Alessandro Carrera

In his "Survival in Auschwitz", Jewish-Italian writer Primo Levi tells how, in one rare moment of reprieve in the camp, he tried to teach the basics of Italian language to a Jewish-French inmate he had befriended. Levi begins his lesson with a well-known passage of Dante's "Divine Comedy", the story of Ulysses' last journey.

In Levi's narrative, the memory of Dante's lines morphs into a powerful meditation on the hardships of translation, what poetry means to us as human beings in a place as de-humanized as Auschwitz, and, ultimately, an open, almost unspeakable question on the roots of anti-Semitism.

The Monday, April 23 lecture “Dante in Auschwitz: Primo Levi Reads the Canto of Ulysses" by Prof. Alessandro Carrera is free and open to the public. Complimentary aperitif served at the end.

Alessandro Carrera is Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Houston and Director of the Master Program in World Cultures and Literatures. He has published extensively in the fields of Italian and Comparative Literature, Critical and Literary Theory, Continental Philosophy, and Music Criticism.

He also has written on Bob Dylan (La Voce di Bob Dylan. Feltrinelli, 2001 & 2011) and has translated the songs and prose of Bob Dylan into Italian. Carrera has been the recipient of the Eugenio Montale Prize for poetry (1993), the Arturo Loria Prize for short fiction (1998), the Attilio Bertolucci Prize for literary criticism (2006), and the “Fanfullino d'oro” Prize awarded by his hometown of Lodi (2012).

For more details on the lecture or the Italian Cultural and Community Center, contact

WHAT: Lecture by Prof. Alessandro Carrera
WHEN: April 23, 2012
6 p.m.

Italian Cultural and Community Center
1101 Milford
Houston, Texas, 77006

WHO: Department of Modern & Classical Studies and the Jewish Studies Concentration in conjunction with the Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation under the auspices of the Italian Cultural and Community Center