From January, the SNFCC Reading Club meetings, moderated by poet and translator Krystalli Glyniadaki, are also available online!
On the last Monday of the month, January 31, book lovers hold their standing appointment at the SNFCC Book Castle to discuss the book they read during the past month.
The meeting will also take place online, on Wednesday, January 26, via Zoom!
The circle of readers grows, and they will all have the opportunity to once again share experiences, feelings and ideas, as well as to make new friends and exchange viewpoints, prompted by the book of the month.
Book of the month for January: “If This Is a Man” by Primo Levi
A few more words about the book for January:
If This Is a Man (Greek edition available from Agra Publications) is probably the most iconic work of the so-called Holocaust/Concentration Camp literature, i.e. books that were written as testimonies or memoirs of the experience at the Third Reich’s extermination or labor camps. In December 1943, Italian Jewish writer Primo Levi was hiding in the mountains with his Italian anti-fascist companions, when he was arrested by the Italian fascist militia. Being Jewish, he was first transported to a special detention camp, and then sent on by the SS ―on the infamous, nightmarish cargo trains― to Auschwitz. Upon his arrival, the guards, as usual, separated the able-bodied men and women, children and elderly, sending the latter directly to the gas chambers and the former to the local labor camp, the so-called Buna.
This is where Levi’s adventures began, as he remained in the camp until he was set free by the Soviet army on January 27, 1945. What makes Levi’s book so special is the absence of passion or emotion in his writing.
Levi was a scientist; the attention with which he describes the camp, its structure, his relations with the other prisoners, is counter-intuitively cool-headed, and this ultimately helps to reveal the shocking nature of the Nazi atrocities. Levi first tried to publish his manuscript in 1946, but Einaudi's publishing house thought it was too soon, the events still too fresh. A small publishing house, De Silva, issued the book in 2,500 copies, giving voice to arguably the most characteristic (along with Elie Wiesel’s) voice to ever survive Auschwitz.
The English translation of the book was published in 1959, the French one was issued in 1961 and, in that same year, the German translation of the book came out, the latter being particularly carefully supervised by the author himself. “I didn't trust my German publisher,” Levi writes. “I wrote to him an almost insolent letter: I warned him not to remove or change a single word in the text. And I insisted that he send me the manuscript of the translation in batches... I wanted to check on not merely its lexical but also its inner [psychological] faithfulness.” In fact, the German edition contains a special preface addressed to the German people, which Levi said he wrote out of a passionate necessity to remind them what they had done.
A few words about the moderator:
Krystalli Glyniadaki was born in 1979 in Athens. She studied Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Political Theory in London, and later Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. She has published three collections of poetry in Greek (all published by Polis), the last of which—Τhe Return of the Dead—received the Greek National Literature Award for Poetry in 2018. She has been an officially invited author to the international Istanbul Book Fair and International Izmir Literature Festival; her poems have been translated into English, Turkish, German, Slovenian and Italian; and her first English-language collection of poetry is to be released in the United Kingdom soon. She works as a translator, mostly of Norwegian literature, and as a book editor, and writes pieces for Norwegian online media. Her latest love is online interactive historical documentaries (i-doc), on which she has just finished her dissertation at Bournemouth University.
Monday 31/01 | 18.30-20.30
For adults | Up to 30 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration
Pre-registration for 31/01 opens on Friday 07/01
Wednesday, Jan. 26 | 18:30–20:30
For adults | Up to 50 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration
Pre-registration fo26/01 opens on Friday 07/01
Moderator: Krystalli Glyniadaki
Anyone reserving a seat at the Book Club is required to have read the book of the month.
The Greek edition of Primo Levi's If This Is a Man is available from Agra Publications.
To enter the event space is mandatory to demonstrate a certificate of vaccination or illness.
For all cases of an official document demonstration, a parallel identity check of the holder will be carried out.
Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.
The use of face mask and social distancing measures are mandatory in indoor and outdoor areas of the SNFCC, in accordance with Hellenic National Public Health Organisation regulations.
As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center's collaboration with the National Library of Greece, the book for December's Reading Club has been chosen by NLG staff members.