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‘The Occasional Demon‘ by Primo Levi



‘The Occasional Demon‘ by Primo Levi

Collection of poems translated by Marco Sonzogni and Harry Thomas

On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is celebrate all over the world on the 27th of January to commemorate the day in which the Russian army entered and liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp (27 January 1945), the Italian Cultural Institute and the Great Synagogue of Sydney are pleased to present the English translation of a collection of poems by Primo Levi, The Occasional Demon. The book will be introduced by one of its translators, Dr Marco Sonzogni from the Victoria University of Wellington (NZ), who will entertain a conversation with Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, Chief Minister and Senior Rabbi of Great Synagogue of Sydney, and Dr Alice Loda from the UTS in Sydney.

The Occasional Demon is a limited edition of 36 of Levi’s poems in both Italian and English to mark the centenary of his birth, which occasional demonfell on the 31st of July 2019. The poems are part of an antology published by Garzanti in 2004, A ora incerta, and have been translated by Dr Marco Sonzogni and by poet, translator, critic and editor based in San Diego (USA) Harry Thomas.

Primo Levi (1919–1987) was a chemist, writer and translator. On 22 February 1944 Levi and 650 other Jews were packed into a train bound for Auschwitz. Registered as no. 174517, Levi was taken to the Buna-Monowitz concentration camp, known at the time as Auschwitz III, and remained there until the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army on 27 January 1945. Of the 650 Italian Jews in his transport, Levi was one of twenty who left the camps alive. Best known for his Holocaust memoir, If This is a Man (Se questo è un uomo, 1947), and The Periodic Table (Il sistema periodico, 1975), named by the Royal Institution of Great Britain as the best science book of all time, Levi was also the author of a novel, short stories, essays and poems written between his return from the camps in 1946 and his death in 1987.

sonzogniDr Marco Sonzogni was educated at the Università degli Studi di Pavia (Almo Collegio Borromeo), the National University of Ireland (Dublin), the University of Dublin (Trinity College), Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Auckland. The study of Romance, Germanic and Slavic philology and of comparative literature (Italian, English and Russian) expanded Marco’s passion for foreign languages and cultures and for literary translation. An award-winning poet, literary translator and editor, Marco researches the scholarly and creative dimensions of literary translation in which the indissoluble link between language and culture is particularly evident and crucial. Marco’s research interests are also in Italian literature, comparative literature, world literature, book history and publishing.

The presentation will be in English.

At the end of the evening the guests will be able to enjoy some kosher food and wines, courtesy of the Great Synagogue of Sydney.

Free entry. Limited seats.

Booking essential:


Date: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Time: From 6:00 pm To 8:00 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

In collaboration with : Great Synagogue of Sydney

Entrance : Free


Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Sydney