By resorting to the mythological creature of the centaur, Primo Levi adopts a metaphor to depict the duality of his own nature: on the one hand he belongs to the empirical world of hard science and the factory, on the other is bond to the deductive elaboration of empirical reality through literature. Interestingly the centaur is not just the combination of two elements, for he is mainly the result of this combination, a new figure. And the new figure is a cause- effect compound of multiplicity: insofar in his analyses sine ira et studio Primo Levi bridges scientific structures and social body, where Latin perluciditas and modern multilingualism are guided by the new literary status that Levi assigns to the voice. This is why among the precious legacies left by Primo Levi, his collaborations with the Italian public service broadcaster RAI would occupy an interesting position. This paper will investigates specifically the works that Primo Levi realized with Radio RAI during the Sixties, when “Terzo Programma” was experimenting and exploring new genres thanks to directors such as Giorgio Bandini, Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Quartucci, Giorgio Pressburger. Besides adapting Se questo è un uomo for the Italian radio in 1964 (it is known that Levi appreciated the version broadcasted by a Canadian radio station in 1963), the collaboration with “Terzo Programma” was particularly intense. From 1964 to 1968 Levi assiduously wrote radio dramas: Il versificatore (aired on February 4, 1966), Trattamento di quiescenza in 1968 and Intervista aziendale, broadcasted the same year on the 29th of November. These radio dramas demonstrates the ways in which Levi’s writing elaborates multiple elements and sources: fictional narrative, science-fiction, documentary, faction. Moreover the specific qualities of the radio enhance the implicit multiplicity of Levi’s texts: by balancing voices, dialogue, silence, natural or ambient sounds, and white noises, the centaur has found his own landscape — for a while — within the complex soundscape of his audio dramas .
Episcopo, G. (2016). On Solid Air Primo Levi and the Radio RAI. In A.C. Minna Vuohelainen (a cura di), Interpreting Primo Levi; Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 203-218). New York : Palgrave Macmillan.