Shmuel Yosef Agnon

Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Shmuel Yosef Agnon, 1945
Shmuel Yosef Agnon, 1945
BornShmuel Yosef Halevi Czaczkes
(1888-07-17)July 17, 1888
Buczacz, Austria-Hungary
(now Buchach, Ukraine)
DiedFebruary 17, 1970(1970-02-17) (aged 81)
Jerusalem, Israel
Resting placeMount of Olives Jewish Cemetery
Occupationwriter
LanguageHebrew
NationalityIsraeli
GenreNovels
Notable awardsNobel Prize in Literature
1966
SpouseEsther Marx

Shmuel Yosef Agnon (Hebrew: שמואל יוסף עגנון‬) (July 17, 1888 – February 17, 1970)[1] was a Nobel Prize laureate writer and was one of the central figures of modern Hebrew fiction. In Hebrew, he is known by the acronym Shai Agnon (ש"י עגנון). In English, his works are published under the name S. Y. Agnon.

Agnon was born in Polish Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and later immigrated to Mandatory Palestine, and died in Jerusalem, Israel.

His works deal with the conflict between the traditional Jewish life and language and the modern world. They also attempt to recapture the fading traditions of the European shtetl (village). In a wider context, he also contributed to broadening the characteristic conception of the narrator's role in literature. Agnon shared the Nobel Prize with the poet Nelly Sachs in 1966.

Biography

Buczacz, Agnon's hometown

Shmuel Yosef Halevi Czaczkes (later Agnon) was born in Buczacz (Polish spelling, pronounced Buchach) or Butschatsch (German spelling), Polish Galicia (then within the Austro-Hungarian Empire), now Buchach, Ukraine. Officially, his date of birth on the Hebrew calendar was 18 Av 5648 (July 26), but he always said his birthday was on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B'Av, the Ninth of Av.

His father, Shalom Mordechai Halevy, was ordained as a rabbi, but worked in the fur trade, and had many connections among the Hasidim, His mother's side had ties to the Mitnagdim.

He did not attend school and was schooled by his parents.[2] In addition to studying Jewish texts, Agnon studied writings of the Haskalah, and was also tutored in German. At the age of eight, he began to write in Hebrew and Yiddish, At the age of 15, he published his first poem – a Yiddish poem about the Kabbalist Joseph della Reina. He continued to write poems and stories in Hebrew and Yiddish, which were published in Galicia.

Agnon's study

In 1908, he moved to Jaffa in Ottoman Palestine. The first story he published there was "Agunot" ("Forsaken Wives"), which appeared that same year in the journal Ha`omer. He used the pen name "Agnon," derived from the title of the story, which he adopted as his official surname in 1924. In 1910, "Forsaken Wives" was translated into German. In 1912, at the urging of Yosef Haim Brenner, he published a novella, "Vehaya Ha'akov Lemishor" ("The Crooked Shall Be Made Straight").

In 1913, Agnon moved to Germany, where he met Esther Marx (1889-1973). They married in 1920 and had two children. In Germany he lived in Berlin and Bad Homburg vor der Höhe (1921–24). Salman Schocken, a businessman and later also publisher, became his literary patron and freed him from financial worries. From 1931 on, his work was published by Schocken Books, and his short stories appeared regularly in the newspaper Haaretz, also owned by the Schocken family. In Germany, he continued to write short stories and collaborated with Martin Buber on an anthology of Hasidic stories. Many of his early books appeared in Buber's Jüdischer Verlag (Berlin). The mostly assimilated, secular German Jews, Buber and Franz Rosenzweig among them, considered Agnon to be a legitimate relic, being a religious man, familiar with Jewish scripture. Gershom Scholem called him "the Jews' Jew".[3]

In 1924, a fire broke out in his home, destroying his manuscripts and rare book collection. This traumatic event crops up occasionally in his stories. Later that year, Agnon returned to Palestine and settled with his family in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot. In 1929, his library was destroyed again during anti-Jewish riots.[4]

When his novel Hachnasat Kalla ("The Bridal Canopy") appeared in 1931 to great critical acclaim, Agnon's place in Hebrew literature was assured.[5] In 1935, he published "Sippur Pashut" ("A Simple Story"), a novella set in Buchach at the end of the 19th century. Another novel, "Tmol Shilshom" ("Only Yesterday"), set in Eretz Yisrael (Israel) of the early 20th century, appeared in 1945.

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Şmuel Yosef Aqnon
Bân-lâm-gú: Shmuel Yosef Agnon
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Шмуэль Ёсэф Агнон
Deutsch: Samuel Agnon
հայերեն: Շմուել Ագնոն
Bahasa Indonesia: Samuel Agnon
ქართული: შმუელ აგნონი
kurdî: Samuel Agnon
Lëtzebuergesch: Samuel Joseph Agnon
македонски: Шмуел Јозеф Агнон
norsk nynorsk: Samuel Josef Agnon
polski: Samuel Agnon
português: Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Simple English: Shmuel Yosef Agnon
slovenčina: Šmuel Josef Agnon
српски / srpski: Шмуел Јосиф Агнон
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Tiếng Việt: Shmuel Yosef Agnon