Biography of Shemuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970)

Jewish writer born in Buczac (Polish Galicia) in 1888 and died in Tel-Aviv (Israel) in the 1970s, whose real name was Shemuel Yosef Tschatsky, even though he/she was better known by his pseudonym of Shemuel Yosef Agnon. Nobel Prize for literature awarded in 1966.

During his youth, Tsachtsky was formed in a Talmudic school. In 1908 he/she emigrated to Palestine and came into contact with the Zionist labour movements. In 1913, he/she went to Germany, where he/she spent several years working among others with Martin Buber. In 1924, he/she returned to Palestine to live in Jerusalem. He/She wrote in yiddis and in Hebrew, some poems and stories mostly short and long. He/She was one of the largest size prose writers that emerged between the two world wars in Palestine under the British mandate, and one of the authors that have left the deepest mark on the current literature.

It deals with in his works with deep realism the spiritual concerns of our time, since the disintegration of the traditional modes of life, the loss of faith and identity in the man of today, radically only. The Jew is a stranger in the midst of a hostile world. Among his novels of greater significance are abandoned women (1908), the dowry of the bride (1931, enlarged in 1937), with the wonderful discovery of a treasure; Other faces (1933), interior monologue; Guest for one night (1938), the return of Israel to the hometown in Europe, where everything has waned. His best-known novel is yesterday and the day before yesterday (1945), analysis of Zionism, including the adventures of a philosopher dog, etc. Agnon always moves within the limits of the unreal and fantastic while remaining faithful to reality. His technique is modernist, next to the romanticism and symbolism. It is inspired by the Jewish literature of all times. His characters are full of internal and coming conflicts many times to madness; the existential irony with which reflects that society approaches sometimes models of Kafka. The contrast between elements that produce stress and those who originate inner peace is born much of the dramatic force of his stories.


VARELA, MÂȘ. E-history of the contemporary Hebrew literature. Barcelona: Octahedron, 1992.

-, Anthology of contemporary Hebrew literature. Barcelona: Octahedron, 1992.