"Primo Levi's "Argon" and the Jews of Piedmont: About a Noble Working Class" with Prof. Alessandro Perissinotto

Past event

Primo Levi’s "Argon" and the Jews of Piedmont:

About a Noble Working Class

Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 2:00-3:50 p.m.

Sturm Hall #480 (2000 E. Asbury Ave., Denver, 80208)

Please RSVP to CJS@du.edu

The problem of Jewish identity appears with regularity in the narrative reflection of Primo Levi, but does not hold a priority place in his work. Coupled with this, however, there exists another identity problem, that of Levi’s “piemontesità”, or his belonging to the Region of Piedmont. What does it mean to be a native of Piedmont in Levi’s Italy? What is his sense of his own Jewish identity and feeling Jewish? And what does it mean to belong to the Jewish community in Piedmont with its ancient Jewish traditions?

A presentation with images of Primo Levi’s Turin as the seedbed of the Jewish community and the reading by an English actor of several passages of the short story “Argon” in the Periodic Table (1975) will accompany the lecture.


Bio: Alessandro Perissinotto (Turin, 1964) is Associate Professor of Narrative Theory and Techniques at the University of Turin. He has published thirteen novels dealing with such topics as regional vs. national identity in Italy, immigration, and the legacy of both left-wing and right-wing terrorism in today’s Italy. In particular, his novel Le colpe dei padri/The Sins of the Fathers (2013), analyzing the crisis of industrial cities in the context of today’s offshoring, has garnered wide success and critical acclaim. In addition to his narrative production, Prof. Perissinotto has published several scholarly works on narratology and the novel as a literary genre, and the Jews of Piedmont.