The Bridal Canopy

S. Y. Agnon (Author) I. M. Lask (Translator)


The Bridal Canopy, Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon's mock epic novel, is an elaborate frame story encompassing dozens of Hassidic tales. Set in early nineteenth-century Galicia, the plot is part quest, part comedy of errors, progressively departing from its opening tone of realism. It is the tale of poor Reb Yudel of Brody (in today's western Ukraine, about 100 miles north of Agnon's native Buczacz), his long-suffering wife, Frummet, and their three modest and righteous daughters, each in need of a bridegroom. The narrative is decisively double-edged: na ve, in the manner of classic folk tales, as well as sophisticated and artful, as a modern work. The Bridal Canopy parodies the Hassidic folk tale, but does so very delicately; it censures without acrimony, always maintaining an air of reverence for the Old World. Unlike other depictions of Eastern European Jewry's shtetl life, the story is sufficiently subtle to support divergent readings and that is clearly part of Agnon's accomplishmen

Product Details

Toby Press
Publish Date
May 21, 2015
5.5 X 1.1 X 8.4 inches | 1.15 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 After a house fire in 1924 destroyed his library and the manuscripts of unpublished writings, he returned to Jerusalem where he lived for the remainder of his life.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.