The Complete Works of Primo Levi
Primo Levi, who died prematurely in Turin in 1987, was a gentle and exceptionally self-effacing man, who by all accounts never sought the spotlight. Yet these volumes—whether through gossamer style, astonishing psychological perception, storytelling genius, or historical documentation—reflect the monumentality of Levi’s literary achievements and position “that quicksilver little woodland creature” [Philip Roth] not merely as a Holocaust memoirist but as one of the most profound and enduring writers of the twentieth century.
Since Levi’s books, beginning in 1959, were published piecemeal in often chaotic fashion in the United States by six separate publishers, Ann Goldstein, the New Yorker editor who has heroically edited and overseen this entire project, commissioned new translations from a team of ten translators, so that The Complete Works now follow in form, substance, and chronology the Italian Opere, first published by Einaudi, Levi’s Italian publisher in 1997. 13 of Levi’s 14 volumes have been retranslated, while If This Is a Man has been revised by Stuart Woolf himself, Levi’s first English translator.
The 3000 pages that make up The Complete Works abound in surprises, not least the new translations themselves. They contain nearly one quarter of material that has never before appeared in English.
The Complete Works includes all new translations of The Truce * Natural Histories * Flaw of Form * The Periodic Table * The Wrench * Lilith and Other Stories * If Not Now, When? * Collected Poems * Other People’s Trades * The Drowned and the Saved, as well as Levi’s first book, If This Is a Man. It also includes all of Levi’s essays and other nonfiction work, some of which has never appeared before in English. The translators include (in addition to Ann Goldstein) Stuart Woolf, Jonathan Galassi, Jenny McPhee, Nathaniel Rich, Alessandra Bastagli and Francesco Bastagli, Antony Shugaar, Anne Milano Appel, and Michael F. Moore.