Friday, October 24, 2014

Christ Stopped at Eboli

Carlo Levi's Memoir in Exile: Christ Stopped at Eboli
Soon after I received the call to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Southern Italy, my dad gave the book Christ Stopped at Eboli as a gift.  I read and enjoyed the book before my mission, but only after my mission could I appreciate it more fully.

Carlo Levi
In 1935, as a result of his political activism, the Italian-Jewish painter, writer, activist, anti-fascist and doctor Carlo Levi, was exiled to Lucania, one of the poorest regions of Southern Italy.  Christ Stopped at Eboli is a poetically written memoir of his exile, the title of which comes from an expression of the people of 'Gagliano' who said of themselves: "Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli."  Levi explained that this phrase "means, in effect, that they feel they have been bypassed by Christianity, by morality, by history itself—that they have somehow been excluded from the full human experience."

Of course Levi -who was also a friend of the Italian writer Italo Calvino- wrote his memoir in Italian, but it has been translated into English.  As an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University, I wrote a brief essay on Levi's memoir Cristo si รจ fermato a Eboli.  There is also a cinematic adaptation of the book that I recommend to anyone who might be interested.

The film adaptation of Levi's memoir

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