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mercoledì, giugno 28, 2017

The Consolations of Writing Literary Strategies of Resistance from Boethius to Primo Levi by Rivkah Zim

What happens in the mind of a person when constricted to staying in jail for political reason or deported like Primo Levi during the last World Conflict spending for senseless reasons 18 months of his life in a Nazi camp, the one of Auschwitz, and becoming this one an experience with which he would have coped with extreme difficulty for the rest of his life? Why the innocent suffers? Why is there injustice in this world? How can a mind survive, without to become crazy, in a restricted, limited space?
Which are the intimate reasons that can stimulate the writing, trying to healing the wounds created by years spent segregated?

The Consolations of Writing Literary Strategies of Resistance from Boethius to Primo Levi written by Rivkah Zim takes in considerations various intellectuals, trying to describe their intimate horror because in jail or deported, and how their writing helped them to coping with what they lived at the moment.

I loved to read the chapters about Primo Levi. His masterpiece Se questo è un uomo, If this is a man should be read by everyone, because it's terribly important to discover the atrocities committed by the nazists for avoiding new episodes like the ones lived more than 70 years ago.
Telling, sharing, has a big power, although for example Primo Levi started to write at first with a sort of reluctance, only once returned home.

Why reluctance? First of all: people would have believed what he would have told them? The atrocities his eyes saw?

His writing is the voice and strength of the survivors, the voice of the man who, once returned home can tell, and can report the horrors committed by men against other men.

It is a resonant voice for all the voiceless people killed by Nazis and at the same time the most terrible experience for Levi: to be a survivor. Why did he survive while other people died? Living all his life with this sensation of culpability when substantially there wasn't any guilt in living and continuing to living and to being alive.
When it is impossible to escape from a prison that one can become also your mental prison, a prison Primo Levi has never completely abandoned because of the lack of dignity, the impossibility to be real men, because people reduced to live like beasts and treated not anymore as human being, something that persecuted Levi forever.
He will always ask: why?

Different situation the one experienced by Bunyan and Oscar Wilde. If the first one tried to search consolation in God, the second one once in jail because accused of homosexuality, lived the time spent  in prison with great intolerance and thinking that although he was in love with his partner Douglas maybe it was better if he would have given up this relationship for saving to himself all of it because for this love he was in jail. Oscar Wilde had a great consideration and self-esteem for his persona, and during the time of the confinement produced a beautiful work, the De Profundis remarking his love for Douglas but also his poor condition.

Other very interesting chapters involve Boethius and Bonhoeffer, More and Gramsci, Anne Frank and Roland.

It's an intense reading this one but if you love literature and you want to discover where and how and the reason why certain masterpieces are born  this book is for you.

Sometimes literature is not a product as this book wants to saying of freedom and relaxation, of a happy mind but of sufferance and deprivation of freedom although its message will result divine because felt, lived, real creating immortal masterpieces like the Diary of Anne Frank, the De Profundis, If this is a man entering in the hearts of readers for remaining there forever.

I thank Princeton University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

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