Agnon’s Story

A Psychoanalytic Biography of S. Y. Agnon


Author: Avner Falk
Agnon’s Story is the first complete psychoanalytic biography of the Nobel-Prize-winning Hebrew writer S.Y. Agnon. It investigates the hidden links between his stories and his biography. Agnon was deeply ambivalent about the most important emotional “objects” of his life, in particular his “father-teacher,” his ailing, depressive and symbiotic mother, his emotionally-fragile wife, whom he named after her and his adopted “home-land” of Israel. Yet he maintained an incredible emotional resiliency and ability to “sublimate” his emotional pain into works of art. This biography seeks to investigate the emotional character of his literary canon, his ambivalence to his family and the underlying narcissistic grandiosity of his famous “modesty.”

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Dr. Avner Falk is an internationally-known scholar in psychohistory and political psychology. He studied clinical psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Washington University in St. Louis. After returning to Israel in 1971 he worked for three decades as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in Jerusalem. He has published ten scholarly books, including psychoanalytic biographies of Moshe Dayan, David Ben-Gurion, Theodor Herzl, Napoleon Bonaparte and Barack Obama. His book Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict won an award from Choice magazine.
Scholars of Hebrew literature, Agnon scholars, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, literary scholars, Jews, and the general educated reading public.