L’esplicabilità dell’universo. Lucrezio in Primo Levi

Mattia Cravero


The article aims at analyzing the presence of Tito Lucretius Caro in Primo Levi’s work. Drawing from Levi’s commentaries concerning his interest in the Latin poet’s doctrine and poem, the analysis will dive into the passages in which Levi directly quotes Lucretius or re-uses his words, thereby opening new intertextual dialogues. An analysis of four main case-studies will be then displayed: the first is dedicated to La tregua and it will underline how Levi takes advantage of Lucretian cosmogonical terms to describe Poland’s primordial atmosphere after the fall of Auschwitz. The second, instead, deals with the idea of matter travelling through the universe, from macrocosm to microcosm and vice versa, thereby retracing and studying the Lucretian influences on Levi’s work in depth. The following case-study focuses on a crucial theme for the Turinese chemist-writer, that is the figure of the Centaur through which he represents his blended souls, and to which he referred by quoting Lucretius’ poem. The last paragraph of the essay is dedicated to the importance of the Latin poet on one of Levi’s short stories, La sfida della molecola, where a literal quotation from De rerum natura is at the heart of the plot and becomes a key-element of its conclusion. Therefore, through textual comparison it will be proved that Lucretius embodies a model of knowledge in which Levi is deeply interested, and it will be demonstrated that Levi saw the Latin poet as one of his “spiritual fathers”, especially during the Eighties.

Parole chiave

Lucretius; De rerum natura; Primo Levi; Intertextuality; Science and Literature.

Full Text


DOI: https://doi.org/10.15162/2465-0951/1948


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