Gaspare Polizzi

From chemistry to literature, starting from Primo Levi

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Keywords: Chemistry; Literature; Mixture; Materialism; History of Chemistry.

The essay studies the relationship between chemistry and literature, starting from the works of Primo Levi. It studies the reflection of a chemist and epistemologist, Gaston Bachelard, and of a philosopher of science and literature, Michel Serres, that analyses the «mixture» in chemistry. The essay tries also to compare the historical and epistemological interpretations of Bachelard and Serres with the chemical and materialistic vision of Giacomo Leopardi. I conclude that the chemist and Jewish writer Levi demonstrates a motivated and conscious use of chemical science in literature, expressed in two ways: a style that inserts the materiality into the language and that emphasizes the «mixture» and the impurities, and a point of view that expresses a materialistic, cosmic and dynamic processuality in continuous transformation.

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