Communicating Across Cultures: The Case of Primo Levi, Italo Calvino, and Pliny the Elder

  • Caterina Agostini
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)


Agostini analyzes the cultural relation between Pliny the Elder and the twentieth-century Italian writers. The Latin author of the Naturalis Historia proved to be an inspiration for Primo Levi’s poem “Plinio” in 1978 and Italo Calvino’s essay “Il cielo, l’uomo, l’elefante” in 1982. Pliny seems to have responded to questions and doubts of post-war writers in Italy. In addition, he served as a model for intellectual communication and authorial image in the post-war Italian society. Levi and Calvino delineated personal experience into collective memory through the character of Pliny. The chapter includes textual and critical inquiries in communication, translation, and assimilation between ancient Latin culture and Italian culture.


Primo Levi Italo Calvino Pliny Authorial image Transcultural translation Transtemporal translation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caterina Agostini
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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