Each year, the Alfred F. Mannella and Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Distinguished Speakers Series presents a lecture on Italian history and culture. This year’s lecture, on Jewish-Italian author and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi, will be given by Nicholas Patruno, Ph.D., at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010, in Falvey Memorial Library’s first floor lounge. Dr. Patruno, professor emeritus in the department of Italian at Bryn Mawr College, was initially “surprised,” he says, when asked to write a book on Primo Levi. He took up the challenge, though, because he ranks Levi as “among the most important writers of post-World War II Italy and, internationally, among the most important writers of the 20th century.” The University of South Carolina Press published Dr. Patruno’s book, Understanding Primo Levi, in 1995. The book, he notes, “is the first analytical study on Primo Levi’s opus to appear in English, thus opening the door to the several other fine books on Levi, written in English, that have followed.” Dr. Patruno’s lecture will “trace Levi’s life and literary persona as they evolve in the aftermath of his Auschwitz experience and point to the legacy he has left for us all.” The lecture is free and open to the public. The Mannella Distinguished Speakers Series is made possible by the generous support of Villanova University alumnus Alfred S. Mannella.