Download PDF by Anne Golomb Hoffman: Between Exile and Return: S.Y. Agnon and the Drama of

By Anne Golomb Hoffman

ISBN-10: 0791405400

ISBN-13: 9780791405406

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Extra info for Between Exile and Return: S.Y. Agnon and the Drama of Writing

Example text

The machine's very literal inscription suggests a masochistic yielding to the power of the Father, and we may be tempted to read this as the Officer's longing for the Father. Then comes the joke, however: we witness the butchery of the Officer that is the outcome of his submission to the machine and his anticipation of enlightenment. The Officer's expectation goes awry. Far from achieving identity with writing through the experience of becoming text (a process suggesting self-immolation on the altar to the Father), the Officer ends up with a spike through his head and a blank stare of noncomprehension on his face.

Ps. 24:1]. In each of the four corners of the embroidery there is a square which contains the words: "'I have set the Lord always before me'" [Agnon 1970, 12; cf. Ps. 16:8]. On the opposite wall hangs a mirror. Within this highly emblematic structure, a drama ofthe gaze is enacted: When Miriam visits the bathhouse Raphael remains in the House of Study. When she returns home she dresses in fine clothes like a bride on her wedding, and stands before the mirror. [ ... ] and at that moment the thought enters her mind to make herself beautiful for her husband.

Kafka and Agnon situate representations of writing and inscription so as to allow the reader to experience and trace significant variations on a spectrum of possible relations to writing. I turn now to two stories, both originally published in 1919, that start from attention to representations of writing and dramas of inscription. As exotic as they may seem, "In the Penal Colony" and "Tale of the Scribe" are two stories of reading and writing, although, as we shall see, "reading" and "writing" are scarcely innocent processes.

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Between Exile and Return: S.Y. Agnon and the Drama of Writing by Anne Golomb Hoffman


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