Students Staff

21 January 2014

Primo Levi's If This is a Man focus for memorial lecture

As part of Holocaust Memorial Week at Essex one of the founders of the Department of History, Professor Stuart Woolf, will be giving the first Harry Lubasz Memorial Lecture at 7pm on Tuesday 28 January.

Professor Woolf will be discussing translating Primo Levi's If This Is A Man - his memoir of his incarceration at Auschwitz and its impact on his own life and work.

The lecture will be held at firstsite in Colchester and is in memory of Harry Lubasz, who escaped Nazi-occupied Europe and was also a founding member of the Department of History alongside Professor Woolf.

In his introduction to If This is a Man, Paul Bailey wrote: "What is chastening about Levi's writing is its freedom from self-indulgence. There isn't even a hint of hysterical recrimination. How easy, and how understandable, it would have been for him to have adopted such a tone. He chose to build instead: out of the mud, the blows without anger, out of that unique humiliation he has constructed two incomparable works of art, written in a careful, weighted and serenely beautiful prose (the quality of which Stuart Woolf has captured in his exemplary translation)."

Philip Roth said of Primo Levi's writing: "With the moral stamina and intellectual pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, duitful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contemptible."

The event is free.

...more news releases