Chapter

Guilt or Shame?

Amy Simon

in Answering Auschwitz

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233588
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241811 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823233588.003.0003
Guilt or Shame?

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Primo Levi's corpus of writings has become an important part of a larger discussion in trauma, emotion, guilt, and shame theories. Ruth Leys has outlined recent trends in these fields in her 2007 book From Guilt to Shame: Auschwitz and After. This chapter conducts a close reading of Levi's manifold interpretation of the specific shame experienced by victims of the Holocaust as outlined in his essay “Shame” from his 1986 collection entitled, The Drowned and the Saved, as well as in If This Is a Man and The Truce. Rather than bringing literature to theory, this chapter seeks to bring theory to literature. Thus, it examines Primo Levi's interpretation of shame and guilt for its own sake, only in the end fitting it into the larger picture of guilt and shame theory.

Keywords: trauma; emotion; guilt; shame theory; literature

Chapter.  4280 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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