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Primo Levi (1919–1987)

Author of The Periodic Table

196+ Works 22,511 Members 370 Reviews 83 Favorited

About the Author

Primo Levi was born on July 31, 1919 in Turin, Italy. He pursued a career in chemistry, and spent the early years World War II as a research chemist in Milan. Upon the German invasion of northern Italy, Levi, an Italian Jew, joined an anti-fascist group and was captured and sent to the Auschwitz show more concentration camp in Poland. He was able to survive the camp, due in part to his value to the Nazis as a chemist. After the war ended, Levi did chemistry work in a Turin paint factory while beginning his writing career. His first book, If This Is a Man (title later was changed to Survival in Auschwitz) was published in 1947 and its sequel, The Truce (later retitled The Reawakening) came out in 1958. These two books recount Levi's story of surviving concentration camp life. Levi also published poetry, short stories, and novels, some under the pen name Damianos Malabaila. His 1985, largely autobiographical work, The Periodic Table, cemented his world fame. Awards in tribute to his writing included the Kenneth B. Smilen fiction award, presented by the Jewish Museum in New York. Ironically, despite his surviving Auschwitz, Primo Levi appears to have died by suicide, in Turin on April 11, 1987. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Primo Levi en 1978


Works by Primo Levi

The Periodic Table (1975) 4,041 copies
If This Is a Man (1947) 3,832 copies
If This Is a Man / The Truce (1947) 2,308 copies
Survival In Auschwitz 2,255 copies
The Drowned and the Saved (1986) 2,114 copies
If Not Now, When? (1985) 1,406 copies
The Reawakening (1963) 1,279 copies
The Wrench (1978) 893 copies
Moments of Reprieve (1981) 620 copies
Other People's Trades (1985) 453 copies
The Mirror Maker (1986) 294 copies
A Tranquil Star (2007) 270 copies
De getuigenissen (1999) 162 copies
Collected Poems (1984) 155 copies
Auschwitz Report (1946) — Author — 144 copies
Dialogo (1976) 88 copies
Lilith, et autres nouvelles (1989) 84 copies
Iron, Potassium, Nickel (2005) 81 copies
Tutti I Racconti (2000) 66 copies
L'ultimo Natale di guerra (2000) 64 copies
The Magic Paint (2011) 59 copies
Le devoir de mémoire (1995) 50 copies
The Black Hole of Auschwitz (2002) 49 copies
Ad ora incerta (1988) 40 copies
Opere 2: Primo Levi (1987) 34 copies
Storie naturali (1985) 33 copies
Vizio di forma (1987) 28 copies
Primo Levi : Oeuvres (2005) 15 copies
Das Maß der Schönheit (1997) 9 copies
3: Racconti e saggi (1987) 7 copies
Poeti (2002) 7 copies
Assimetria e a Vida, A (2016) 6 copies
Racconti e saggi (1986) 5 copies
Shema: Collected Poems (1976) 5 copies
Si c'est un homme : Les clefs de l'oeuvre (1947) — Contributor — 5 copies
Primo Levi informatie (1989) 5 copies
Opere complete (2016) 4 copies
Opere complete: 2 (2017) 3 copies
Opere complete: 3 (2018) 2 copies
O Dever de Memoria (2010) 2 copies
Figure = Figures (2019) 2 copies
Il processo 2 copies
Czy to jest człowiek (2008) 2 copies
Om ikke nå, når da? (2020) 2 copies
I racconti 1 copy
Periodi@02C7cki sistem (1991) 1 copy
Våpenstillstand (2020) 1 copy
Tåbrud 1 copy
Prirodopisi (2023) 1 copy
Bunlar Da Mi Insan (2022) 1 copy
The occasional demon (2019) 1 copy
Segantini 1 copy
Ocalaly Wybor wierszy (2014) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Sunflower (1997) — Contributor — 1,145 copies
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (2008) — Contributor — 803 copies
Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (0204) — Introduction, some editions — 655 copies
Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (1993) — Contributor — 336 copies
The Night of the Girondists (1957) — Afterword, some editions; Translator, some editions — 221 copies
Short Stories in Italian/Racconti in Italiano (1999) — Contributor — 221 copies
Primo Levi: Tragedy of an Optimist (1996) — Associated Name — 216 copies
Granta 21: The Story-Teller (1987) — Contributor — 157 copies
The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories (2019) — Contributor — 140 copies
Smoke over Birkenau (1947) — Foreword, some editions — 132 copies
The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (1998) — Contributor — 132 copies
Granta 18: The Snap Revolution (1986) — Contributor — 90 copies
Granta 16: Science (1985) — Contributor — 82 copies
Bearing Witness: Stories of the Holocaust (1995) — Contributor — 81 copies
Granta 19: More Dirt (1986) — Contributor — 76 copies
The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying, and Living On (1997) — Contributor — 61 copies
Granta 147: 40th Birthday Special (2019) — Contributor — 57 copies
The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Protest (1998) — Contributor — 31 copies
The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature (2005) — Contributor — 25 copies
The Quality of Light: Modern Italian Short Stories (1993) — Contributor — 13 copies
Het derde Testament : Joodse verhalen (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 7 copies
The Truce [1997 film] (1998) — Original book — 6 copies
Profil d'une oeuvre : Si c'est un homme, Primo Levi (2001) — Contributor — 3 copies


20th century (249) anthology (147) Auschwitz (433) autobiography (658) biography (564) chemistry (155) concentration camps (230) essays (328) fiction (853) Folio Society (133) genocide (108) Germany (113) history (921) Holocaust (2,201) Italian (416) Italian literature (643) Italy (528) Jewish (214) Jews (140) Judaism (127) Levi (127) literature (374) memoir (874) narrativa (95) Nazism (127) non-fiction (971) novel (174) philosophy (111) poetry (194) Poland (87) Primo Levi (195) read (157) science (334) short stories (364) stories (99) to-read (957) translation (125) unread (99) war (173) WWII (1,263)

Common Knowledge



I like other stuff that I've read by Levi and this book isn't the worst. There was just something boring about it that I can't put my finger on. Not boring enough to not finish, but not exciting enough for me to look forward to my next reading session.
bookonion | 69 other reviews | Mar 10, 2024 |
This complete works is a real gem, published in a very nice three volume box set which I will no doubt return to in the years to come. For now, I've started with "If This Is a Man" (published in the US as [b:Survival in Auschwitz|6174|Survival in Auschwitz|Primo Levi|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1414374949l/6174._SX50_.jpg|851110], much to the annoyance of its original English translator, Stuart J. Woolf). This book gives a vivid account of the year Levi spent as prisoner 174517 in Auschwitz. It is extremely well written, and gives the reader a real sense (to the extent of what is possible without having experienced it) of what it was like to try to survive is this death camp. This edition has some additional updates from Woolf and includes an Appendix by Levi, originally written in 1976 for the school edition, in which he answers questions he received continually from both student and adult readers.… (more)
amurray914 | 3 other reviews | Feb 27, 2024 |
I’ve meant to read this book by Holocaust survivor [[Primo Levi]] for years. Jews, no matter their personal beliefs, have been and seem to periodically continue to be victims of such devastating experiences as described by the author of his own time as a laborer while imprisoned in Auschwitz.

I read this book to express my solidarity with the pyschological pain and physical suffering of my people throughout history, past and present. It is a chilling, mind-blowing account of hatred and cruelty, of man’s inhumanity to man, told as one Italian Jewish man’s personal experience. Levi tells his story outright, by simply stating what he felt, thought, and saw without expressing emotion about it. If an individual wants to know what happened to those prisoners who remained alive in Auschwitz, this book is a compulsory read. I hope whoever does read it does so with compassion for the needless suffering of fellow men.… (more)
SqueakyChu | 97 other reviews | Feb 4, 2024 |
Has anything ever been written like the carbon chapter? An amazing book.
dhenn31 | 69 other reviews | Jan 24, 2024 |


1940s (1)
1970s (1)


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Associated Authors

Fabio Levi Editor
Reinier Speelman Translator
Stuart Woolf Translator
Philip Roth Introduction, Afterword
Heinz Riedt Translator
Michèle Causse Translator
Cesare Segre Afterword
William Weaver Translator
Aira Buffa Translator
Xavier Riu Translator
Neal Ascherson Introduction
Paul Bailey Introduction
Caroline Bench Cover artist
Marc Chagall Cover artist
David Bidussa Contributor
Fred Marcellino Cover artist
Irving Howe Introduction
Barbara Picht Übersetzer
Dace Meiere Translator
Robert Picht Translator
Ruth Feldman Translator
Bascove Cover designer
Italo Calvino Introduction
Ernesto Ferrero Afterword
Judith Woolf Translator
Angus Hyland Cover designer
Lorenzo Mondo Foreword
Ann Goldstein Translator
Jacq Vogelaar Introduction
Ana Nuño Translator
Patty Krone Translator
Yond Boeke Translator
Ulrich Zieger Übersetzer
Philippe Mesnard Introduction
Jutta Waldner Übersetzer
Tone Hoverstad Cover designer
Loni Geest Cover designer
Robert S. C. Gordon Introduction


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