“Acqua per cancellare / Acqua feroce sogno / Acqua impos-sibile per rifarsi mondo”: Primo Levi e tre casi di intertestualità

Mattia Cravero


The article aims at pointing out and analyzing the convergences between Primo Levi’s work and classical literature according to the semantic and metaphoric motif of water. The intertextual dialogue is based on three different quotations: the first is an allusion to Tantalus myth to describe the horrible experience he lived in Auschwitz; the second is the reminiscence of Pindar’s first Olympian Ode, whose priamel inspired the title of Best is water; the third is a proper dialogue, in the form of a fictional letter written to Horace, in which Levi reviews the differences between contemporary Rome and the poet’s to conclude that man is dangerously damaging Earth through the exploitation and abuse of science and technique. In so doing, the importance of water both for life and our planet emerges as a considerable element and source of inspiration for Levi’s work.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13133/2239-1983/14521