Page 81 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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RENA LEE
S.Y. Agnon’s Posthumous Works
A
g n o n
s
w o r k s
,
published since his dea th in 1970, rep resen t still
ano ther victory o f a r t over life. T he num ber o f volumes by the
Nobel Prize laureate has now reached eight. All of them bear the
imprint of the Schocken Publishing House in Israel, and are
edited by Emunah Yaron, Agnon’s daugh ter . They include: The
major novel,
Shirah
(1971); a collection o f stories in memory o f his
hometown in Galicia,
Ir u-Meloah
( A
City and the Fullness
Thereof, 1973); the short novel,
Bahanuto Shel Mar Lublin
(In Mr.
Lublin’s Store, 1974); two collections o f stories,
Lifnim Min
Hahomah
(Within the Wall, 1975), and
Pithey Devarim
(In troduc­
tions, 1977); a book o f Agnon’s letters and speeches,
Me’atzmi El
Atzmi
(From Myself to Myself, 1976); a compilation o f excerpts on
booklore from various sources, mostly from sacred literature,
Sefer, Sofer ve’Sippur
(Book, A u thor and Story, 1978); and lastly a
volume tracing Agnon’s family-tree,
Korot Bateynu
(Chronicles of
O u r Houses, 1979).
Some of the material has been published previously either
wholly or partially, in the same or d ifferen t versions, and the
editor in her postscript to each book explains the plan o f its
composition. It would appear she has acted according to her
fa ther’s wishes. Still, the question o f a w riter’s responsibility for
works published after his death remains open. Although Mrs.
Yaron’s accomplishment is indeed commendable, there are occa­
sionally evident flaws, repetitions, and the lack of the master’s
guiding hand. All o f these may be said to have contributed to the
controversy regard ing the quality o f such writings. T he critic Dan
Miron, for instance, has expressed the view that these posthu ­
mous volumes include a lot o f extraneous material and only
heighten the “paper-wall” between the writer’s best work and the
young reader. T he critic Gershon Shaked, on the other hand , in a
panel discussion on Hebrew literature in the seventies, stated tha t
he p re ferred “Agnon post-mortem” to many writers before the
“mortem .” At any rate, these works may be viewed as a source of
enjoyment for the read e r as well as an invaluable tool for studying
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