Page 81 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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MAZOR/S.Y. AGNON AND KNUT HAMSON
7 3
the traditional causal plot and establishes an impression of
compositional chaos — is adopted in some of Agnon’s most
prominent works, especially his collection of tales,
The Book of
Deeds
. The function of the “ripped” plot and the disrupted com­
position is the same in Hamsun’s and Agnon’s works: it reflects
the troubled mind of the hero, it mirrors his agonizing self, and it
is a metaphor for his disturbed internal world which seeks in vain
for harmony.
Furthermore, the selective adoption of Hamsun’s motifs, mate­
rials and patterns by Agnon is not only a means of determining
Agnon’s aesthetic system; it is also an efficient tool for reexam­
ining Hamsun’s aesthetics. Setting the Hamsunian material and
patterns in a new context creates a kind of “Brechtian” estrange­
ment which enables us to see them anew. In this sense, Agnon’s
works offer an enlightening angle from which to view Hamsun’s
aesthetics. Hence, the pilgrimage from Hamsun to Hebrew liter­
ature is not in vain: the wandering from Hamsun to Agnon leads
us to discern new regions in Hamsun land.