Research Seminar: Graduate Student Presentations


Location: Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

The Italian Research Seminar

Graduate Student Presentations

Thursday, February 23 at 5:00pm in Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

Valentina Geri (Notre Dame): "Memory, narration and intertextual references: Shakespeare’s presence in the works of Primo Levi"

Valentina Geri graduated from the University of Siena, Tuscany, with a degree in Modern Languages and Literatures, majoring in English and German. Her first experience abroad was in Germany, where she studied German language and literature at the University of Heidelberg. She then had the chance to live and work in the U.S. for one year, at Colby College in Maine as an Italian Language Assistant, where she deeply enjoyed teaching Italian at different levels. Her current research interests deal with the work of Primo Levi, his influence in the European context and the possible interliterary connections present in the author's work, especially with Shakespeare.

The paper is a combined study of testimony, memory, and intertextual references in the works of Primo Levi. The aim is to analyze Shakespeare’s presence in Levi’s texts and the meaning that Shakespearean direct references have in Levi’s narration. Before interpreting these references, the concepts of testimony and memory will be outlined as founding concepts of the traditional critical study of Levi’s work. In connection to these two concepts, a new perspective is presented, which is intertextuality. The theme of intertextuality will find an actualization in the Shakespearean direct references in Levi’s narration. The significance that Shakespeare assumes in Levi will be analyzed, and the final consideration will consist in the fact that Shakespearean references are present in all the nodal points of Levi’s works, exactly where Levi writes about his main ideas and thoughts regarding the human being. To demonstrate the connection of ideas between the two authors, the analysis will focus on three main considerations: the material presence of references in Levi’s texts; the presence of these references in relation with the kinds of text they appear in; finally, a collective interpretation of their meaning within Levi’s oeuvre. The study will demonstrate how Levi and Shakespeare have adopted a similar view of the world and of humankind and shared a similar will of understanding human nature from an unconventional point of view.

Lorenzo Bonaiti (Notre Dame): " 'I don't like labels': Reactions to the Publication of The Complete Works of Primo Levi"

Lorenzo Bonaiti grew up in Bergamo, a beautiful city not far from Milan, Italy. He graduated in Italian Literature at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. During the years of university he focused primarily on Modern Italian Literature and History. His final thesis concerned the Italian Maoist movement “Unione dei Comunisti Italiani” during the 60s and 70s and his relations and influences over the Italian society of that time. He is passionate about teaching, and especially about teaching Italian Language, Literature, and Culture. During and after university, he did two internships in two Italian high schools, and one in a school in Bournemouth, UK.