Talk:If This Is a Man

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I made a lot of changes to this article, as I have studied it at degree level and feel that the stub was written from a rather naive perspective of the book. I have also taken away its status as a "Jewish culture" stub, and as a "European History Book" article, as I don't feel these are entirely appropriate labels to apply to a book such as this. I am still rather sceptical as to whether or not it should be put under the genre of "Holocaust Personal Accounts" as it is a narrative as opposed to a memoir or autobiography, and thus doesn't quite fit such a category, though I would appreciate the thoughts of others before making any such ammendment. I will be doing more work on this stub in the near future. In the meantime, if anyone would like to contact me about the piece, do not hesitate to do so. Girl-razor (talk) 02:12, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


Is the "I" in "Is" capitalized or not? The article is inconsistent.  Randall Bart   Talk  19:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Work in progress[edit]

Please be patient. I am doing a translation of the Italian article, but it will take some time. Petergans (talk) 10:16, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Added a list of books for further reading (data from Amazon UK) but haven't read any of them. Petergans (talk) 12:34, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Shema Reference[edit]

In what way is this poem "inspired" by the shema? In no way does it even relate to the short prayer in both size and content. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:46, 12 June 2010 (UTC)


I'd like to move this to If This is a Man (small "i" in "is") but would have to use the tools, as it already exists as a redirect and has been edited. It's the more common title. Does anyone mind if I do this? SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 19:10, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I see no evidence that a lower case "is" is more common, Amazon uses "Is". For no real benefit other than enforcing antiquated rules of capitalisation this is likely to make links to this article more tedious to do and more likely to go wrong. I'm against an unnecessary move. Exok (talk) 12:28, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
A capital "i" is incorrect punctuation. The copy I have here (Abacus paperback) uses a small "i". Academic studies use a small "i" (e.g. The Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi). I would not judge by Amazon or Google Books as they often get punctuation in titles wrong. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 19:14, 31 January 2012 (UTC)


On a PC, the formatting of the article is now completely askew. The indenting for the German translation that has been added recently has produced three columns of very irregular appearance. Is anyone planning to fix this? If not, I intend to remove the German altogether, as I'm not sure it adds anything useful. As an aside, an edit summary more informative than "+" would have helped to explain the original intention with this addition. Exok (talk) 12:44, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Exok, I'm not sure what you mean by askew. I formatted it as the original is formatted, which is with an indent at "Consider if this is a man" until "a frog in winter," then another indent at "Or may your house fall apart" until the end.
Also, I added the German because Levi regarded the German translation of his book as particularly important, and particularly good -- better than the English. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 19:09, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi SlimVirgin. Reading WP:LONGQUOTE and WP:MOSQUOTE I'd suggest - despite the power of Levi's poem - an exceptional argument needs to be made for quoting an original work at such length, even before your inclusion of a third version. The typesetting of the original is not worth preserving; what would be the rationale for doing so, especially if it affects the readability of the whole? If it is worth noting, Levi's belief in the quality of the German translation would be better memorialised by recording his opinion explicitly in English. Adding a second foreign language to a start-class article is only likely to make a poor account of an important work even less attractive to general readers. Exok (talk) 19:45, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
The German version has been restored without concerns expressed here being addressed. There is no context for such a lengthy triple quotation of unattributed - presumably copyright - original work and no reason to have two lengthy foreign quotes on the English Wikipedia. The quotation unbalances the article and is visually unsettling. The two paragraphs introducing the poem are uncited WP:OR.
WP:QUOTEFARM suggests "Long quotations crowd the actual article and remove attention from other information...Overuse happens when: a quotation is used without pertinence. This means that a quotation is visually on the page, but its relevance is not explained anywhere." And WP:LONGQUOTE states, "The quotation must be useful and aid understanding of the subject; irrelevant quotations should be removed. All quotations must be attributed to their source." Exok (talk) 10:20, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus for move. Favonian (talk) 19:41, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

If This Is a ManIf This is a Man

The current title capitalizes the "i" in "is," which is an error. The English hardback and paperback editions both use small "i," as do all academic studies that I have found (e.g. see here in The Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi). SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 19:32, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Support. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 19:32, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • 'Oppose' The current title reflects the most frequently used capitalisation found on the net, is intuitive for anyone using the title as a wikilink and reflects notable guidance on contemporary use. Exok (talk) 19:55, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • The reason you see the error on the Web is that Amazon, Google Books and Wikipedia have all made it, so some others follow suit. This is facilitated in part by the Abacus paperback edition using all caps in the title on the cover page, so people who only look at that are given no guidance. But Amazon and Google Books often get title punctuation wrong; in fact Google Books routinely does. What matters is what the author, publishers, and scholars do, and they use small "i". Here is an image of the Folio hardback edition with small "i". And although the paperback uses all caps on the cover page, if you open it you see it also uses small "i". SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 20:08, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Other than your - justifiably respected - opinion I don't see any evidence for the view that the title accepted by consensus is a "punctuation error", nor that Amazon and Google Books "often get title punctuation wrong". The title pages of books very frequently reflect a different title than that by which the work is usually known. WP:COMMONNAME states"Wikipedia does not necessarily use the subject's "official" name as an article title". Article titles should reflect current usage and should not be changed to reflect the grammatical peculiarities of a single editor. Exok (talk) 20:42, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • This has nothing to do with the preference of a single editor. My argument is that we should follow what the publishers and the academics write, which is If This is a Man, after the original English title. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 22:19, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • The original title is Se questo è un uomo. The typesetter of the first translation of the work is not the final arbiter of how it should be rendered for the rest of history. In lieu of individual whim it is better to follow current common practice in grammar. This title for the article has satisfied everyone who has edited it since 2006. Exok (talk) 22:39, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Can you find an edition of the book (whether an older one or a current one) that uses "If This Is a Man"? I can't. Or can you find an academic who writes about it who uses that capitalization? I haven't found one so far. My argument is that, if the publishers and academics write "If This is a Man," and Wikipedia chooses different capitalization, it makes things unnecessarily confusing for readers. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 22:45, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • It seems fairly safe to assume most readers would be untroubled by this issue. For those with a special interest in capitalisation, surely the most puzzling thing would be if we adopted a style here at odds with usual practice? For them we would have to add a note that the article follows the precedent set by the first English edition, rather than the conventions of modern English grammar. A title that requires explanation should not be favoured over a title that follows common sense. Exok (talk) 23:22, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per MOS:CT. Deor (talk) 21:52, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per nom. If the book cover is anything to go by, we ought to be capitalising all the letters, but we don't because we know that it would be a stylistic error. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 01:37, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Leaning toward oppose. Capitalizing short verbs in this context is common, but anomalous (assumed to be the same as "a", "the" etc., but not in fact so). Dahn (talk) 07:51, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per MOS:CT which states "the following words should be capitalized ... all forms of the verb to be (Be, Am, Is, Are, Was, Were, Been)". (my emphasis) Jenks24 (talk) 08:41, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.