AbstractEmmanuel Levinas remains one of the most influential and challenging writers in twentieth-century European philosophy. But while critics often accuse him of obscurantism, even sympathetic readers are not always enamored with Levinas’s highly emotive vocabulary. Although there are standard ways of reading Levinas’s work—usually through his phenomenological and/or Judaic heritage—in this paper I offer a different route of access. Drawing primarily on Primo Levi’s testimonial Holocaust writings, I argue that reading Levinas as a “post-Holocaust” thinker both clarifies key features of his work, and eases at least some of the frustration commonly experienced by readers.
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