Quotations From PRIMO LEVI


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  • Human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument.... The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features.
    Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian author. The Drowned and the Saved, ch. 1 (1988).

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  • The bond between a man and his profession is similar to that which ties him to his country; it is just as complex, often ambivalent, and in general it is understood completely only when it is broken: by exile or emigration in the case of one's country, by retirement in the case of a trade or profession.
    Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian chemist, author. "Ex-Chemist," Other People's Trades (1985, trans. 1989).

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  • The aims of life are the best defense against death.
    Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian author. The Drowned and the Saved, ch. 6 (1988).

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  • Anyone who has obeyed nature by transmitting a piece of gossip experiences the explosive relief that accompanies the satisfying of a primary need.
    Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian chemist, author. repr. In The Mirror Maker (1989). "About Gossip," La Stampa (Turin, Italy, June 24, 1986).

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  • I live in my house as I live inside my skin: I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy and more picturesque skins: but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine.
    Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian chemist, author. "My House," Other People's Trades (1985, trans. 1989).

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