Skip to content

To Be or Not: Considering Primo Levi’s Death.

08Feb7:00 pm8:30 pmTo Be or Not: Considering Primo Levi’s Death.7:00 pm - 8:30 pm(GMT+00:00) Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12 Street, New York, NY 10011Primo Levi ForumPrimo Levi Forum

Event Details

In collaboration with the Center for Fiction


Uri S. Cohen (University of Tel Aviv)

We will never know what exactly took place thirty years ago when Primo Levi fell to his death in the stairwell of his ancestral home. The moment is sealed, retaining its silent mystery, a deafening lacuna at the end of a life. Meaningless in terms of reality the nature of his death is of no real importance, while having enormous implications for interpretation. If this survivor willed his barely saved life away, matters not in Primo Levi’s world, but in the world into which Levi survived. Guided by the counterfactual of suicide, this talk will gauge the implications for the interpretation of Levi’s work, revealing a surprisingly rich and sustained contemplation of suicide and its complex place in the survivor’s world, that is or is not therein rejected.

Uri S. Cohen holds a PhD. from the Hebrew University has served on the faculty of Columbia University (2004-2011) and currently teaches Hebrew and Italian literature at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of a documentary film on Ida Fink, ‘Survival: Senses of Death between the World Wars in Italy and Palestine’ published in 2007 and many other works. His book on the Hebrew culture of war is scheduled to appear this year. He is currently writing a counter-biography of Primo Levi.

Visit the Primo Levi Page and browse essays, videos and chronology

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Cahnman Foundation

Get Directions

Back To Top