Between Writer and Tailor: Aharon Megged's Novel "The Living on the Dead" as a Literary Interpretation of the Short Story "The Garment" by S.Y. Agnon

Authors

  • Rachel Ofer

Keywords:

Agnon, S.Y. Agnon, Aharon Megged, Megged, The Living on the Dead, The Garment, Harold Bloom, Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence, Intertextuality, The Book of Jonah, Jonah

Abstract

S.Y. Agnon’s short story "The Garment" and A. Megged’s novel The Living on the Dead are two different and disparate literary works, and at first glance it is difficult to see any connection between them. An in-depth reading of these works reveals similarities that indicate a dialogue between them and the influence that Agnon's story had on Megged's novel. There is another dimension of literary influence here: each of these two works is in dialogue, in its own way, with the biblical book of Jonah.

Reading Megged's review article makes one think that Megged's novel is in fact, a literary-creative realization of a newly proposed ars poetica interpretation of Agnon's story. Inspired by the tailor who fails to mend a garment, Megged describes a writer who fails to write a book.

The central element from "The Garment" that influenced Megged is the description of the existentialist "human condition" of a hero who is running away from himself and his mission. However, Megged's existentialist hero is a counter-character to Agnon's existentialist hero. Megged presents an alternative to Agnon's view: his hero becomes a 'rebel' and succeeds, through literary writing, in creating meaning in the face of absurdity.

Published

13-06-2024

How to Cite

Ofer, R. (2024). Between Writer and Tailor: Aharon Megged’s Novel "The Living on the Dead" as a Literary Interpretation of the Short Story "The Garment" by S.Y. Agnon. Criticism & Interpretation, 48, 24. Retrieved from https://biupress.org/index.php/bikoret/article/view/120