A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction

By Ruth Franklin | Go to book overview

2
The Alchemist: Primo Levi

A batch that spoils is one that solidifies halfway through the
preparation: the liquid becomes gelatinous, or even hard, like horn.
It’s a phenomenon that is called by fancy names like gelatinization or
premature polymerization, but it’s a traumatic event, an ugly sight, not
to mention the money that’s lost. It shouldn’t happen, but sometimes
it does happen, even if you’re paying attention, and when it happens
it leaves its mark…. Among all my experiences of work, none is so
alien and inimical as that of a batch that spoils, whatever the cause,
whether the damage is serious or slight, if you’re guilty or not. A fire or
an explosion can be a much more destructive accident, even tragic, but
it’s not disgraceful, like a gelatinization. The spoiled batch contains a
mocking quality: a gesture of scorn, the derisiveness of soulless things
that ought to obey you and instead rise up, defying your prudence and
foresight. The unique “molecule,” deformed but gigantic, that is born
and dies in your hands is an obscene message and symbol: a symbol of
other ugly things without reversal or remedy that obscure our future, of
the prevalence of confusion over order, and of unseemly death over life.

—from “The Molecule’s Defiance”

Primo Levi, the most clear-eyed chronicler of the twentieth century’s darkest inferno, has often been compared to Dante. Like Dante, Levi maps out the full

-45-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 256

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.