Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966, S.Y. Agnon is considered the towering genius of modern Hebrew literature for his hard-edged modernism and soft-hued imagery. With this collection of stories, reissued in paperback and expanded to include 11 more Agnon classics, the English-speaking audience has, at long last, access to the rich and brilliantly multifaceted fictional world of one of the great writers of this century.
These stories span the lifetime of a quintessential wandering Jew-born in Buczacz, Poland, living in Germany, and finally settling in Jerusalem-and they bring to life the full gamut of the modern Jewish experience in fiction.
This broad selection of Agnon's fiction introduces the full sweep of the writer's panoramic vision as chronicler of the lost world of Eastern European Jewry and the emerging society of modern Israel. Here are stories that portray the richly textured culture of traditional Jewish life in Poland, as well as changes in the life of the community over time.
Several stories reflect on the Jewish infatuation with German and Western culture in the interwar period: "On the Road," for example, narrates an eerie encounter on the eve of a holy day between an itinerant Jew and a ghostly company of martyred Jews from the Crusades. The early years of Jewish settlement in the land of Israel are recalled in "Hill of Sand," which is also a revealing portrait of the artist as a young man; "A Book That Was Lost" is a powerful metaphor for the writer's own journey from Buczacz to Jerusalem.
Edited and with introductions by Alan Mintz and Anne Golomb Hoffman. Additional stories edited by Nahum N. Glatzer. New Reader's Preface by Jonathan Rosen.
About the Author
Born in Buczacz, Poland, S. Y. Agnon (1888-1970) was a Hebrew writer and Nobel Laureate in Literature. He is the author of Shira, The Bridal Canopy, A Guest for the Night, and other novels.
The Critics Praise:
"To hint at the scrupulous dazzle of S.Y. Agnon-complexity hidden in seeming innocence-one might name him the 'Flaubert of Hebrew letters'…. Agnon stands hugely out, permanently, under the canopy of Western literature." - Cynthia Ozick
"S.Y. Agnon is the single modern master of Hebrew fiction, and this new collection gives American readers a rich sampling of the originality and complexity of his work." Robert Alter
"[A] brilliant collection… Agnon said, 'I write things simply as they are.' As simple as the Old Testament, written with a Kafkian-laced quill on burning parchment." - The New York Times Book Review