Two newly revised translations from the Hebrew, with new and illustrated annotations, of two novellas by Nobel Laureate S.Y. Agnon. Two stories clearly in dialogue with one another, sharing elements of moonstruck sleepwalkers, disengaged academics, and the typically Agnonian unfulfilled love. In Betrothed , Jacob Rechnitz, a marine biologist arrives in pre-World War I Jaffa on the Mediterranean coast of the Land of Israel. His scholarly pursuits and gentle dalliance with six girls is interrupted by the arrival of his benefactor Ehrlich and his daughter Shoshanah, who is destined to rouse Jacob from his waking slumber through the power of their childhood betrothal oath. The idyllic peace of Betrothed is counterpointed in Edo and Enamby restlessness leading to tragedy. The scholars Ginat and Gamzu are wanderers; men like the narrator himself, gambling on travel for some magical answer to their problems. Ironically, Gamzu’s wife Gemulah, a sleepwalker, puts an end to their quest in a manner as tragic as it is unexpected. The New York Review of Books surveys The Toby Press S.Y. Agnon Library in “The Great Genius of Jewish Literature”
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