Giorgia Bordoni is a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Trained as a philosopher and specialized in Italian, French and German moral philosophy, politics and aesthetics, she received a first PhD in Philosophies of Community and Ontology of the Present from the Italian Institute of Human Sciences in Florence-Naples. She translated into Italian works by Derrida, Nancy, Romain-Rolland. Bordoni is currently completing her second PhD in Romance Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the intertwining of violence, war, death, machineries and writing in twentieth century Italian, French literature and the Avant-Gardes. Her dissertation studies the representations of the Nazi Lager as a “machine” in Primo Levi’s writing.
The “Third Zone” of Captivity. The Impossibility of Dying in Primo Levi’s and Morselli’s Writings
My paper focuses on the impossibility of dying as captivity in Primo Levi’s Se questo è un uomo (1947) and in Guido Morselli’s Dissipatio H.G. (1977). Through a cross-reading of Levi’s work, written after his experience in the Nazi Camp, and of Morselli’s dystopian literary space, I aim to illustrate scenarios in which literary characters can be considered as captives in the horrible space of the apocalypse of humanity. The third zone of indistinction between life and death, is where the dissolution of human essence takes place in the form of a forced persistence of surviving between the being and not being human.
Starting from a close analysis interplaying philosophical reflections on mortality conceived as the fundamental experience that makes human beings human (Arendt, Agamben, Blanchot and Nancy), I will explore the idea of captivity as the “interruption” of mortality in Levi and Morselli’s literary works. My contribution addresses the “being in-between” of literary characters forced to face the captivity of a grey zone (Agamben) between life and death and stuck inside a “grey machine” (macchina grigia, Levi) in which the crucial shared experience of the world is forbidden by an impossible experience of the self.