Centro Internazionale di Studi Primo Levi > Web > English > Contents > Biography


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    Chronology, places


    "Sixty years old: retirement age. And along with retirement, empty time to fill. Uselessness as a symptom of old age. Is there any truth to this?

    Me, old? Absolutely yes: my date of birth, my long-sightedness, my grey hair, my adult children all go to show it. Last week, for the first time ever, someone gave up their seat for me on the tram, and it left me feeling very strange.
    In myself, as a rule, I don’t feel old. I haven’t lost my curiosity for the world around me, nor my interest in other people, nor my competitive instinct nor my taste for playing games and solving problems.
    I still like interacting with nature, I take joy in encountering it through all five senses, studying it, describing it in speech and writing. All my organs, my limbs, my memory and my imagination are still in working order, and yet I am all too aware of the grave ring of that terrible word I have just written down: 'still.'"
    [Stampa Sera, 15 November 1982; now p. 76 in Marco Belpoliti & Robert Gordon. Eds. The Voice of Memory: Interviews, 1961-1987. Trans. Robert Gordon. New York: The New Press, 2001. (Translation of Conversazioni e interviste 1963–1987 ed. M. Belpoliti, Turin: Einaudi, 1997)]


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