Agnon's Art of Indirection

Uncovering Latent Content in the Fiction of S.Y. Agnon

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Author: Nitza Ben-Dov
Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966 and the undisputed master of the Hebrew novel, still remains largely an unknown or even misunderstood figure. Agnon's innovation was to construct an intricate dialectic between Hebrew tradition and the modern predicament, thereby producing a very distinctive mode of modernist narrative. Agnon deployed a technique of rich allusiveness drawn from traditional Hebrew lore and language using free-association, especially by means of imaginative dream-sequences designed to unveil the ambivalent but fateful meanings in the apparently inconsequential events and thoughts which determine the lives of his characters.
This book explores the methods and materials of Agnon's art so as to provide the English reader with insight into his unique fictional world, and it proposes a fresh approach to the reading of Agnon which will also be of interest to those familiar with his work and the crucial literature on it.

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Nitza Ben-Dov, Ph.D. (1984), University of California, Berkeley, taught modern Hebrew literature at Princeton University and is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa. She is the author of numerous articles on modern and traditional Hebrew literature.
' ...goes a long way to helping the uninitiated understand the many-layered, ironic brilliance of Agnon...stimulating book...' D.B.G., The Jerusalem Report, 1994. ' It is certainly the best critical study of Agnon in English that I have seen.' Robert Alter, 1992. ' Aside from the important contribution to academic study of Agnon, the book is valuable for giving English readers acces to literary criticism of the craft of Agnon's fiction.' Shalom Ratzaby, The Journal of Israeli History, 1994. ' ...the best English language study of Agnon to date...' Wendy Zierler, The Jerusalem Post Magazine, 1994. ' ...an interesting discussion of intertextual details...’ Eric Zakim, Mesa Bulletin, 1994. ' Aside from the important contribution to academic study of Agnon, the book is valuable for giving English readers access to literary criticism of the craft of Agnon's fiction.' Shalom Ratzaby, Israeli History, 1994.
All those concerned with modern literature in general, Jewish literature and thought, modern Hebrew literature and language, approaches to the modern predicament in general and Jewish questions in particular, and the interdisciplinary field of literature and psychology.