Shmuel Yosef Agnon

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Agnon, Shmuel Yosef


Born 1888 in Buczacz, East Galicia. Jewish writer residing in Israel. Writes in Hebrew. Member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language; Nobel Prize laureate in 1966.

Agnon arrived in Palestine in 1909; his first work published there was the story “Forsaken Wives.” The novel The Bridal Canopy (1931) brought him fame. Its characters are poor but jolly folk who never despair. His novels A Sandy Knoll (1935) and Recently (1946–47), as well as such novellas as A Simple Story (1935) and In the Heart of the Seas (1935), are realistic and imbued with a fine psychological perception. Chapters from the Government’s Book is sharply satirical. A Guest for the Night and The Lady and the Peddler are full of wrath against the forces of reaction.


Kol Sippurav, vols. 1–7. Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1960.
In Russian translation:
“Iz nedruga v druga.” In the collection Iskatel’zhemchuga. Moscow, 1966.


Lichtenbaum, J. Ha-Sippur ha-Ivri. Tel Aviv, 1960.


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In the intimacy of Arikha's ghostly presence, however, it was easy to forget literary connections, whether to Agnon or Beckett.
Agnon, Virginia Woolf, and the great medieval Sufi poet al-Hallaj, he seems as at home with the backwaters of history as with the day's headlines.
Savill also notes that Alexander "likewise reprimanded young Agnon, for offering to purchase Crobylus for him, whose beauty was famous in Corinth.
The result is a marginal redemption of certain features of the literary, most luminously in Robbins's readings of Levinas's remarkable work on Agnon and Celan.
As Ilan Stavans points out in an interview with Dorfman: "[Dorfman] is a proud member of what could be called the `Translingual Literary Club,' also populated by Vladimir Nabokov, Jerzy Kosinski, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, and Franz Kafka, writers who consciously, and sometimes as a result of political circumstances, switched from one language to another to shape their creative oeuvre" (303).
These days Alter (at Berkeley) combines his interest in English and continental literature with his interest in Jewish writers such as Agnon (previously rejected as a fit subject for scholarly study) and, especially, in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1966, Agnon is unfortunately not well known in Latin America.
He is a member of ASM International and serves on the Board of Trustees for The Agnon School.
And in the new markets, the four regions are achieving strong, growth and are contributing to improve our positions," said Agnon.
I can add a further connotation which Agnon probably did not have in mind, but must occur to post-World War Two Jews, namely the tattooed numbers on the skin of prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.
The authors illustrate how clearly Agnon was using the term to refer to a deer, which is how the word was understood in Eastern Europe.
The discovery that a few famous Israeli writers wrote both in Hebrew and Yiddish, that language deemed obsolete and reminiscent of the "weak" Jews of the Diaspora, and the advice by Shmuel Agnon himself that "with his experience, he had materiel for three writers," encouraged him to write about what he knew best.