Reflections Cast on Inferno XXXI-XXXIV by Primo Levi's Account of Auschwitz.
Baker, Margaret Anne
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In ‘Se questo è un uomo’, Primo Levi tells his “ghastly tale” of his months in a Nazi concentration camp by evoking occasional comparison with parts of Dante’s ‘Inferno’. When, decades later, he returns to write about the ‘Lager’ in ‘I sommersi e i salvati’, he draws once more on imagery from the ‘Inferno’ to support the narration of his own past experience. As happens with literary borrowings, homage to an earlier work can serve to quicken our perceptions towards both the ancient and the modern text. Through their relationship to aspects of Dante’s Ninth Circle, Levi’s texts gain depth for their portrayal of the misery and degradation that they record and at the same time serve to strengthen our reading of ‘Inferno’ XXXI-XXXIV.