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Carlo Levi
Italian-Jewish painter, writer, activist, anti-fascist, and doctor
(1902-75)



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Because of his uncompromising opposition to Fascism Carlo Levi -- painter, doctor, and writer -- was banished at the start of the Abysinnian War (1936) to a primitive village in Lucania, a remote province of southern Italy. It is the impressions of life in this region, which remains unknown not only to tourists but to the vast majority of Italians, that Levi has given in the following pages.
-- Publisher's note at beginning of Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cassell, 1948; Readers Union, 1949), Frances Frenaye, tr.; originally published as Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (1946)

Many years have gone by, years of war and of what men call History. Buffeted here and there at random I have not been able to return to my peasants as I promised when I left them.
-- Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cassell, 1948; Readers Union, 1949), ch. 1

"We are not Christians they say," they say. "Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli." "Christian" in their way of speaking means "human being," and this almost proverbial phrase that I have so often heard them repeat may be no more than a hopeless feeling of inferiority. We're not Christians, we're not human beings; we're not thought of as men but simply as beasts, mere creatures of the wild. They at least live for better or for worse, like angels or demons, in a world of their own, while we have to submit to the world of Christians, beyond the horizon, to carry its weight and to stand comparison with it.
-- Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cassell, 1948; Readers Union, 1949), ch. 1

I arrived at Gagliano one August afternoon in a rattling little car. I was wearing handcuffs and I was escorted by two stalwart escorts of the the State with vertical red bands on their trousers, and expressionless faces.
-- Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cassell, 1948; Readers Union, 1949), ch. 2

Already the train was carrying me far away, through the checker-board fields of Romagna, towards the vineyards of Piedmont, and the mysterious future of exile, of war and death, which I could then but barely perceive, like an uncertain cloud in the boundless sky.
-- Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cassell, 1948; Readers Union, 1949), closing lines


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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