Late Agnon and the Work of Cultural Memory
In the last two decades of his life, S. Y. Agnon, the great Hebrew writer and Nobel laureate, devoted himself to writing an epic cycle of stories about Buczacz, the Galician town in which he grew up before moving to Palestine, then to Germany and finally back to Palestine. In his devotion to this project, Agnon was mounting a response to the murder of European Jewry that is very different from what we think of as Holocaust literature today. These Buczacz stories were not received with much enthusiasm when they were first published in the Hebrew press during the 1950s and 1960s, a period of state building when there was little interest in the lost world of European Jewry. Yet today these tales seem more relevant than ever.