Raniero Speelman (Utrecht University)

Primo Levi does not seem to be one of the most characteristic authors of the seventies. He did not partake in any discussion on the present and the future of the historical novel nor in political debates on the position of the intellectual. He was a leftist intellectual, and as a Jew, he was a secular one. In Italian literature he was rather considered an amateur writer. In his life, though, the seventies form a crucial period. He published important books, mostly dealing with technology and science. His decision to retire from professional work at SIVA gave Levi the chance to become a full-time writer and to collaborate with La Stampa with articles on the shoah, revisionism and many other subjects.