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Fear Of Freedom

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Overview

Carlo Levi was a painter, writer, and antifascist Italian from a Jewish family, and his political activism forced him into exile for most of the Second World War. While in exile, he wrote Christ Stopped at Eboli, a memoir, and Fear of Freedom, a philosophical meditation on humanity's flight from moral and spiritual autonomy and our resulting loss of self and creativity. Brooding on what surely appeared to be the decline, if not the fall of Europe, Levi locates the human abdication of responsibility in organized religion and its ability to turn the sacred into the sacrificial. In doing so, he references the entire intellectual and cultural estate of Western civilization, from the Bible and Greek mythology to Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. This edition features newly published pieces of Levi's artwork and the first English translation of his essay "Fear of Painting," which was appended to a later publication of the work. It also includes an introduction that discusses Levi's life and enduring legacy. Written as war clouds were gathering over Europe, Fear of Freedom not only addresses a specific moment in history and a universal, timeless condition, but it is also a powerful indictment of our contemporary moral and political failures.

Columbia University Press

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What People Are Saying

Valdo Spini

Carlo Levi affirms the aversion against the abstractly ferocious State, which makes people an indistinct material unity and enslaves them; he also criticizes religion, which only creates myths and rituals in place of the sacred. For the author, freedom is consciousness of reality, it is knowledge. To avoid the loss of autonomy and the independence of individuals and society, it is necessary to interrogate ourselves constantly on the meaning of freedom. The concept of freedom must continuously be rethought through social and cultural forces: only in this way can humanity indeed be free of fear.

Valdo Spini, member of the Italian Parliament and president of the Fondazione Circolo Rosselli, Florence

Lawrence Baldassaro

Fear of Freedom is Carlo Levi's provocative and challenging meditation on the apparent disintegration of Western civilization. This new edition of Levi's seminal work is enhanced by Stanislao G. Pugliese's lucid introduction. A valuable guide to Levi's intellectual development and to his timeless analysis of fascism, which foreshadows the work of such social critics as Umberto Eco and Susan Sontag.

Lawrence Baldassaro, professor of Italian and director, Honors College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

David Ward

Fear of Freedom was the first book Carlo Levi wrote. It laid the groundwork for all his future writings and is indispensable for a thorough understanding of the subtleties of not only his novels, Christ Stopped at Eboli and The Watch, but also his travelogues and his journalism. For anyone wanting to go beyond the surface of this deceptively complex figure, Adolphe Gourevitch's translation and Stanislao G. Pugliese's full introduction are a very welcome and precious resource.

David Ward, professor of Italian and chair, Department of Italian Studies, Wellesley College

Valdo Spini

Carlo Levi affirms the aversion against the abstractly ferocious State, which makes people an indistinct material unity and enslaves them; he also criticizes religion, which only creates myths and rituals in place of the sacred. For the author, freedom is consciousness of reality, it is knowledge. To avoid the loss of autonomy and the independence of individuals and society, it is necessary to interrogate ourselves constantly on the meaning of freedom. The concept of freedom must continuously be rethought through social and cultural forces: only in this way can humanity indeed be free of fear.

Lawrence Baldassaro

Fear of Freedom is Carlo Levi's provocative and challenging meditation on the apparent disintegration of Western civilization. This new edition of Levi's seminal work is enhanced by Stanislao G. Pugliese's lucid introduction. A valuable guide to Levi's intellectual development and to his timeless analysis of fascism, which foreshadows the work of such social critics as Umberto Eco and Susan Sontag.

David Ward

Fear of Freedom was the first book Carlo Levi wrote. It laid the groundwork for all his future writings and is indispensable for a thorough understanding of the subtleties of not only his novels, Christ Stopped at Eboli and The Watch, but also his travelogues and his journalism. For anyone wanting to go beyond the surface of this deceptively complex figure, Adolphe Gourevitch's translation and Stanislao G. Pugliese's full introduction are a very welcome and precious resource.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231139960
  • Publisher: Columbia University
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 0.56 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 5.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Carlo Levi (1902-1975) was born in Turin and earned a degree in medicine, though he never formally practiced and instead gravitated toward painting and was an active participant in the anti-fascist underground. Twice arrested for his politics, and eventually exiled, he wrote a memoir entitled Christ Stopped at Eboli while hiding from the Nazis in Florence. After the Second World War, Levi divided his time between painting, politics (serving in the Italian Parliament), and writing. Upon his death, he was universally recognized as one of Europe's leading intellectuals. He is buried in Aliano.About the Editor:Stanislao G. Pugliese is professor of modern European history at Hofstra University. He has been a visiting research fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the University of Oxford. He is the author of Carlo Rosselli: Socialist Heretic and Antifascist Exile and is presently writing a biography of the Italian writer Ignazio Silone.About the Translator:Adolphe Gourevitch was a Russian scholar and translator of E. A. Belyaev's Arabs, Islam, and the Arab Caliphate in the Early Middle Ages.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsTranslator's PrefaceAuthor's PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction. The Fear of Freedom and the Eternal Tendency Toward Fascism, by Stanislao G. PuglieseChronology of Carlo Levi's Life1. Ab Jove Principium2. Sacrifice3. Love Sacred and Profane4. Slavery5. The Muses6. Blood7. Mass8. Sacred HistoryFear of PaintingSelect Bibliography

Columbia University Press

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