- LEVI, Primo
- (1919-1987)Italian survivor of Auschwitz, industrial chemist, autobiographer, essayist and writer of fiction: one of the most distinguished men of letters of his generation, winning international fame late in life. In much of his work - e.g., Il sistema periodica (1975; trans Raymond Rosenthal as The Periodic Table 1984 US) - metaphors drawn from science illuminate subjects normally thought of as literary or historical, in a manner unusual in Europe generally and especially unusual for a writer in ITALY, a country where the gap between the two cultures is especially wide. This is true also of his sf stories, mostly sharp, ironical fables, almost reductionist, that nevertheless often metamorphose into direct affirmations of the values of life in a way unusual in sf anywhere. Many feature a discomforting exploitation of strange inventions, or a distancing alien perspective on human life. PL's sf stories appear in 2 Italian collections, Storie naturali (coll 1966) as by DamianoMalabaila, and Vizio di forma (coll 1977), collected together in English as The Sixth Day and Other Tales (trans Raymond Rosenthal omni 1990 US). A typical story is "Excellent is the Water", where a gradual increase in the viscosity of water in an Italian river spreads to become a worldwide phenomenon, thereby serving as an image of the torpor and lethargy of the heart's flow in our 20th-century world.PNOther works: La Chiave a Stella (1978; trans William Weaver as The Monkey's Wrench 1986 US; vt The Wrench 1987 UK) contains embedded fabular tales.See also: CLONES.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.