Idealistic Studies

Volume 44, Issue 2/3, Summer/Fall 2014

New Directions in the Thought of Leo Strauss

Sharon Portnoff
Pages 193-208

Not in Our Stars
Primo Levi's "Reveille" and Dante's Purgatorio

This paper provides a living example of how close reading should be done and demonstrates that part of Levi’s meaning is to teach his audience to read in this way. Reading “Reveille”—the epigraph of his Holocaust memoir La tregua—as far as possible as its author intended entails a close reading of the poem behind its allusions—Dante’s Purgatorio—and provides the context and means by which Levi asks whether the actuality of Auschwitz refutes the possibilities implicit in narrative constructions of the reimagined whole.