Shmuel Agnon

THE LAUREATE: Shmuel Agnon was born in what is now Poland in 1870. He moved to Jaffa in 1908 and revolutionized Hebrew literature. He won in 1966 and died in 1970. I don’t know what to say about him. He appropriated the rabbinical and Jewish traditions and shaped them in exciting and unique ways.

REVIEW: “The Betrothed” was interesting. For the most part, it was pure naturalism. A teacher in Jaffa walks out with a ton of girls and writes about seaweed. The girl he grew up with and whose father paid his way through college visit. The daughter reminds the dude that they agreed to marry each other, then he’s like sure, sounds good. All the girls he goes out with get together and try to race each other for his hand, then it gets weird. The daughter appears out of nowhere and wins, and the story ends.

RECOMMENDATION: Sure. I’m all for weirdness. I’m only skipping Shmuel’s other story that book has because I want to keep moving.

WHAT’S NEXT: Ivan Bunin and some of his short stories.

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2 comments on “Shmuel Agnon

  1. Jeffrey Saks says:

    Agnon was born as Shmuel Yosef Czaczkes in Summer 1887, not 1870, even though he generally gave his birth date as 1888.
    The town in Galicia he was born is called Buczacz. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and today is found in western Ukraine (not Poland).
    In English see also the collection of 35 short stories entitled “A Book That Was Lost” (Toby Press): http://www.tobypress.com/books/abookthatwaslost.htm
    For the archives of an online couse (in English) with many Agnon resources see:
    http://www.webyeshiva.org/agnonarchives
    He is (to date) the only Nobel Laureate for writing Hebrew literature.

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