Ethics and Literary Strategies

Sara Vandewaetere

in Answering Auschwitz

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233588
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241811 | DOI:
Ethics and Literary Strategies

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This chapter takes a philosophical approach to the significance of the senses in Levi's ethics. An interesting starting point is provided by Robert Gordon's book Primo Levi's Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics, one of the most comprehensive studies of the ethical aspects of Levi's work. It would appear that from Levi's work emerges a similar ethical idea on the significance of encounters, but also that in Levi's view the role of the sensory experiences is taken rather literally. It could be useful to remember that Levi, even though he strove deliberately to enhance the concrete quality and the mimetic force of his novels through the senses, never overestimated the power of literature. He was convinced that novels could never have the same impact as actions. Yet he wanted his own books to come alive and be as tangible as possible.

Keywords: philosophical approach; Levi's ethics; Robert Gordon; mimetic force; literature

Chapter.  3802 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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