Shmuel Yosef Agnon

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Shmuel Yosef Agnon (Hebrew: שמואל יוסף עגנון, July 17, 1888 - February 17, 1970) 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 Galicia (today Ukraine), later immigrated to the British mandate of Palestine, and died in Jerusalem. 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.



Agnon was born Shmuel Yosef Halevi Czaczkes in Buczacz, Galicia (then within the Austro-Hungarian Empire), now 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. He did not attend school and was schooled by his parents.[1] 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.

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