A Guest for the Night
S. Y. Agnon (Author)
DescriptionA Guest for the Night (first published in 1939 as Germany invaded Poland) is Agnon's depiction of how all modern movements aside from Zionism secularism, Haskalah, socialism, communism failed to provide a viable alternative to traditional life. But, he is clear, even traditional life was untenable, because it all fell apart from within before the first furnaces were ignited in Auschwitz. Even the Guest's well-intentioned attempt to revivify and to re-engage the lost world of piety is also doomed. The Alte Heim, the old home, can no longer exist it is a place where we can only be passing guests for the night. Therefore "you can't go home again," because home no longer exists. It has to be rebuilt, but it can only be rebuilt in the Bayit Hadash, in the new home in the Land of Israel. This is Agnon's greatest theme in the novel and, in differing ways, throughout his body of writing: The idea that modern man, modern Jews, are alienated from their spiritual home.
December 01, 2014
5.5 X 1.3 X 8.4 inches | 1.41 pounds
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About the Author
S.Y. Agnon (18881970) was the central figure of modern Hebrew literature, and the 1966 Nobel Prize laureate for his body of writing. Born in the Galician town of Buczacz (in today's western Ukraine), as Shmuel Yosef Czaczkes, he arrived in 1908 in Jaffa, Ottoman Palestine, where he adopted the penname Agnon and began a meteoric rise as a young writer. Between the years 1912 and 1924 he spent an extended sojourn in Germany, where he married and had two children, and came under the patronage of Shlomo Zalman Schocken and his publishing house, allowing Agnon to dedicate himself completely to his craft. After a house fire in 1924 destroyed his library and the manuscripts of unpublished writings, he returned to Jerusalem where he lived for the remainder of his life. His works deal with the conflict between traditional Jewish life and language and the modern world, and constitute a distillation of millennia of Jewish writing.