The Primo Levi Dialogues

Ten Primo Levi Lectures were given as a series between 2009 and 2018. Each lecture was published each year by Einaudi, and then the series was published by Mondadori in 2019. After this, the Primo Levi Dialogues began in 2020. This new series is meant to reconsider Primo Levi’s works and, in each dialogue, put them in relation to the needs and questions raised in the various spheres of the social and cultural life of the world today.

Dialogue has always been an essential trait of Levi’s attitude and way of thinking. This can be seen from his first writings about the concentration camp and the all along the range of his commitment to bearing witness and to writing. In addition, the intensity of his relationship with so many readers from different generations helped endow him with the characteristics of a classic of literature and contemporary thought. It is from just this perspective that the Center is promoting the furtherance of this beneficial conversation by choosing specific places and topics year after year, about which to set up new encounters and new discoveries.

Each dialogue should take place in an encounter between two points of view. On the one hand, there is what could come out of the study of a particularly meaningful reality in the contemporary world, examining what needs this reality evokes and what issues it raises  On the other hand, there is what could come out of a careful analysis of the way that Levi had addressed this topic or problems that could be connected with it in his itinerary as a careful observer of the human condition. A broader discussion should immediately follow this encounter, with the participation of experts, scholars, and people involved in the issue at hand because of their work, and study interests or because of the experiences they have gone through.

Dialogue 1: Words of Pain

The first dialogue took place online November 16-17 2020. The conversation was with the Centre Primo Levi in Paris. For the last 25 years,  this institution has committed itself to the care of people who have undergone torture. In addition, it collected testimony about torture in contemporary society.