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13 February 2024

Primo Levi in the World:
Visual Translations

Today Primo Levi is read all over the world. Translated into almost fifty languages, he was first regarded as the clearest and most compelling voice on Auschwitz thanks to his first books on his own experience as a deportee: If This is a Man and The Truce. Able to transcend the barriers between different generations, he continues to speak to the many who, even in cultural contexts that are far apart, suffer from the severe traumas caused by war and mass violence.

“One soul, enviably capacious”, as Philip Roth described him, Levi, a chemist by trade and curious about astronomy, ethology, linguistics and other branches of knowledge, has also been known since the mid-1980s for The Periodic Table, a highly original interweaving of autobiography, chemistry and literature. Subsequently, international critics and audiences approached his other books – The Monkey’s Wrench, If Not Now, When?, the poems and others – with a particular penchant for The Drowned and the Saved, the last reflection on the most disturbing and paradoxical aspects of extermination. With greater delay, his fantasy and science-fiction stories also came to the fore.

The awareness that Levi was a great writer, capable of grappling with the crucial questions of today’s world, established itself with a certain slowness, hindered by the prevailing idea that he was essentially a witness of the Lager; but where publishers and the public finally came to evolve that conviction, Primo Levi as a witness could also be appreciated to a greater extent.

The persistence and even growth of interest in the writer from Turin – who has become, with the passage of time, an essential point of reference in contemporary culture – has been confirmed by the countless initiatives promoted worldwide on the occasion of the centenary of his birth. The publication in 2015 by the New York-based publisher Liveright, of the complete works in English – the only complete republication of an Italian author in another language – is undoubtedly destined to have a long-term impact on a broad cultural universe. The rapid succession of translations into Chinese and other Asian and African languages in recent years will, on the other hand, mark the author’s fortunes in the near future.

It is precisely the American translation that helps to show in a clear form how Levi now tends to assert himself in his complex thematic and stylistic versatility and, in that form, has also become a necessary presence in the cultural context of the contemporary world on an international level.

 

The selection of the cover images and the editing of the relevant captions are by Giulia Arduino.

 

Fabio Levi, President of the Centro Internazionale di Studi Primo Levi in Turin.

Title: Op een onzeker uur. Geditchen (Ad ora incerta. Poesie)

Year: 1984

Publisher Amsterdam, Meulenhoff, tr. into Dutch by Maarten Asscher

Title: Om ike nu, hvornår så (Se non ora, quando)

Year: 1986

Publisher København, Fortum, tr. into Danish by Nina Gross

Title: Das periodische System (Il sistema periodico)

Year: 1987

Publisher München, Hanser, tr. into German by Edith Plackmeyer

Title: The wrench (La chiave a stella)

Year: 1987

Publisher London, tr. into English by William Weaver

Title: Lith. Nouvelles (Lilit e altri racconti)

Year: 1987

Publisher Paris, Liana Levi, tr. into French by Martine Martine Schruoffeneger

Title: Besøkelsestid (Se non ora, quando?)

Year: 1987

Publisher Oslo, Gyldendal, tr. into Norwegian by Tor Fotland

Title: Jaksollinen järjestelmä (Il sistema periodico)

Year: 1988

Publisher Juva, WSOY, tr. into Finnish by Aira Buffa

Title: haהזהו אדם? (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 1989

Publisher Tel-Aviv, Am ‘Oved, tr. into Hebrew by Isacco Gart

Title: Hvis dette er et menneske (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 1989

Publisher København, Fortum, tr. into Danish by Nina Gross

Title: Other people's trade (L'altrui mestiere)

Year: 1989

Publisher New York, Summit Books, tr. into English by Raymond Rosenthal

Title: Akik odavesztek és akik megmenekültek (I sommersi e i salvati)

Year: 1990

Publisher Budapest, Europa Konyvkiado, tr. into Hungarian by János Betlen

Title: Ist das ein Mensch? Die Atempause (Se questo è un uomo. La tregua)

Year: 1991

Publisher München, Hanser, tr. into German by Heinz Riedt, Barbara and Robert Picht

Title: Fristen (La tregua)

Year: 1991

Publisher Stockholm, Bonniers, tr. into Swedish by Ingrid Borge

Title: The Drowned and the Saved (I sommersi e i salvati

Year: 1991

Publisher London, Abacus, tr. into English by Raymond Rosenthal

Title: 周期システム (Il sistema periodico)

Year: 1992

Publisher 東京, Kousakusha, tr. into Japanese by Hirohide Takeyama

Title: Die Untergegangenen und die Geretteten (I sommerrsi e i salvati)

Year: 1993

Publisher München, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, tr. into German by Moshe Kahn

Title: Nima tova e chovek; Primirie (Se questo è un uomo; La tregua)

Year: 1995

Publisher Sofia, Angelinov i Partniaori, tr. into Bulgarian by Albert Bensabat and Khristov Bozhan

Title: Le Système périodique (Il sistema periodico)

Year: 1995

Publisher Paris, Librairie générale française, tr. into French by André Maugé

Title: La treva (La tregua)

Year: 1997

Publisher Barcelona, Edicions 62, tr. into Catalan by Francesc Miravitlles

Title: 休戦 (La tregua)

Year: 1998

Publisher 東京, Asahi Shinbunsha, tr. into Japanese by Hirohise Takeyama

Title: Sistema periodikoa (Il sistema periodico)

Year: 1998

Publisher Irun, Alberdania, tr. into Basque by Juan Garzia Garmendia

Title: À la recherche des racines. Anthologie personnelle (Alla ricerca delle radici)

Year: 1999

Publisher Paris, Éditions Mille et Une Nuits, tr. into French by Jël Gayraud et Marilène Raiola

Title: Els enfonsats i els salvats (I sommersi e i salvati)

Year: 2000

Publisher Barcelona, Edicions 62, tr. into Catalan by Francesc Miravitlles

Title: Autoi pou bouliaxan kai autoi pou sòthikan (I sommersi e i salvati)

Year: 2000

Publisher Αθήνα, Agra, tr. into Greek by Hara Sarlikioti

Title: Je to človek? (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2001

Publisher Bratislava, Agora, tr. into Slovak by Tereza Gašparíková

Title: Se isto é um homem(Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2001

Publisher Lisboa, Teorema, tr. into Portoguese by Simonetta Cabrita Neto

Title: Человек ли это? (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2001

Publisher Москва, Текст, tr. into Russian by Elena Dmitrieva and by Mihaila Svydkogo

Title: Aselepo (La tregua)

Year: 2001

Publisher Helsinki, Like, tr. into Finnish by Irma Koistinen

Title: La llave estrella (La chiave a stella)

Year: 2001

Publisher Barcelona, Muchnik Editores, tr. into Spanish by Bernardo Moreno Carrillo

Title: Ultima Navidad de guerra (L'ultimo Natale di guerra)

Year: 2001

Publisher Barcelona, Muchnik Editores, tr. into Spanish by Miquel Izquierdo

Title: Potonuli i spaseni (I sommersi e i salvati)

Year: 2002

Publisher Beograd, Clio, tr. into Serbian by Elizabet Vasiljević

Title: The search for Roots. A personal Anthology (La ricerca delle radici)

Year: 2002

Publisher Chicago, Ivan R. Dee, tr. into English by Peter Forbes

Title: Jei tai žmogus (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2003

Publisher Vilnius, Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla, tr. into Lithuanian by Violeta Tauragienė

Title: Hovory s Primo Levim 1963-1987 (Conversazioni e interviste 1963-1987)

Year: 2003

Publisher Praha, Paseka, tr. into Czech by Drahoslava Janderová

Title: Armistițiul (La tregua)

Year: 2004

Publisher Iasi, Polirom, tr. into Romanian by Doina Derer Condrea

Title: Historias naturales (Storie naturali)

Year: 2006

Publisher Barcelona, El Aleph, tr. into Spanish by Carmen Gaite Martín

Title: 이게 남자라면 (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2007

Publisher 경기도 파주시, Tolbegae, tr. into Korean by Yi Hyŏn-gyŏng

Title: Ob negotovi uri (Ad ora incerta)

Year: 2007

Publisher Ljubljana, Center za slovenko knjizevnost, tr. into Slovenian by Jolka Milič

Title: വസ്തു (La tregua)

Year: 2008

Publisher കോട്ടയം (Kerala), D.C. Books, tr. into Malayalam by Jenny Andrews

Title: 天使の蝶 (Storie naturali)

Year: 2008

Publisher 東京, Kōbunsha, tr. into Japanese by Eiko Sekiguchi

Title: Traganje za korijenima. Osobna antologija (La ricerca delle radici)

Year: 2008

Publisher Zagreb, Felsina, tr. into Croatian by Tvrtko Klarić

Title: Rozejm (La tregua)

Year: 2009

Publisher Krakow, Wydawnictwo Literackie, tr. into Polish by Zrzysztof Żaboklicki

Title: Hukkuneet ja pelastuneet (I sommersi e i salvati)

Year: 2009

Publisher Helsinki, Artemisia, tr. into Finnish by Riikka Kankkunen

Title: Is dit een mens (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2010

Publisher Amsterdam, Meulenhoff, tr. into Dutch by Frida Vogels

Title: 지금이 아니면 언제? (Se non ora, quando?)

Year: 2010

Publisher 서울, Nomad Books, tr. into Korean by Kim Jong-don Kim

Title: Sche quei ei in carstgaun (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2011

Publisher Cuira, Chasa editura, tr. into Romansh by Ursicin Gion Gieli Derungs

Title: Uklad okresowy (Il sistema periodico)

Year: 2011

Publisher Krakow, Wydawnictwo Literackie, tr. into Polish by Zofia Koprowska

Title: I oviss timme och övriga diketer (Ad ora incerta. Altre poesie)

Year: 2011

Publisher Stockholm, Cartaditalias Bokserie, tr. into Swedish by Roger Jellström and Louise Kahn

Title: Şimdi değilse ne zaman? (Se non ora, quando?)

Year: 2011

Publisher Ankara, Efil Yayinevi, tr. into Turkish by Nevin Özkan

Title: 멍키스패너 (La chiave a stella)

Year: 2013

Publisher 경기도 파주시, Tolbegae, tr. into Korean by Kim Un-ch'an

Title: 被淹沒和被拯救的 (I sommersi e i salvati)

Year: 2013

Publisher 上海, Sanlian Shudian, tr. into Chinese by Yang Chenguang

Title: A është, vallë, njeri…? (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2016

Publisher Tiranë, Botime Pegi, tr. into Albanian by Pjetri Genci

Title: Armëpushimi (La tregua)

Year: 2017

Publisher Tiranë, Botime Pegi, tr. into Albanian by Aida Baro

Title: Mai este oare acesta un om? (Se questo è un uomo)

Year: 2018

Publisher București, Art, tr. into Romanian by Doina Condrea-Derer

Title: Si ahora no, cuando? (Se non ora, quando?)

Year: 2018

Publisher Barcelona, Península, tr. into Spanish by Helena Aguilà

Title: Периодическая система (Il sistema periodico)

Year: 2021

Publisher Москва, Текст, tr. into Russian by Elena Dimitrievna and Irina Shubina

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