Shmuel Yosef Agnon
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1966
Born: 17 July 1888, Buczacz (now Buchach), Austria-Hungary (now Ukraine)
Died: 17 February 1970, Rehovot, Israel
Residence at the time of the award: Israel
Prize motivation: "for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people."
Prize share: 1/2
Shmuel Yosef Agnon was born in Buczacz, present day Ukraine. In 1907, Agnon moved to Jaffa, Palestine. Six years later, he moved to Germany where he met his wife and lived until 1924, when the family returned to Palestine after a fire destroyed their home, destroying his manuscripts and book collection. This traumatic event was occasionally referred to in his writing.
Shmuel Agnon was one of the central figures of modern Hebrew fiction. His works deal with the conflict of Jewish tradition and language and the modern world. His first works were published when he was a teenager and he immediately gained a reputation. His breakthrough novel was Hakhnasat kallah (1931) (The Bridal Canopy). After World War II, under the impact of the holocaust, Agnon wrote Ir Umeloah (1973) A City and the Fullness Thereof. The book is a collection of folktales, legends, and chronicles portraying his birth town, Buczacz.
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