After receiving the Nobel Prize in 1966, the first for Israel, Shmuel Agnon said: “Only yesterday half of the Israelis did not know who Agnon was, and the other half did not know who Nobel was. We’ve both become famous today.”
Today Israel already has 12 Nobel laureates, but the one born in Buchach of the Ternopil region will forever remain the first, including among those who started writing in Hebrew. In this respect, he also became one of the founders of modern Israeli literature.
Agnon is considered a master of metaphors, omissions and double meanings that abound in his works. It was for his unique style of writing that he was awarded the Nobel Prize.
In a significant part of Agnon’s works, stories unfold in Galicia, where he spent his first 20 years of life and absorbed the unique local flavor, combining Jewish, Ukrainian, Polish and many other cultures. This atmosphere is so firmly woven into Agnon’s stories and left a mark on his life that during one of his last visits to his homeland, approaching Buchach, he would write: “I put my hand to my heart. My hand throbbed against my heart, just as my heart throbbed under my hand.”