Ask about this item

Lot 108

Shai Agnon – Large Collection of Letters Addressed to Various People, including Dov Kimhi, Yitzhak Lamdan, Benjamin Tammuz, and Salman Schocken –

Letters concerning the Publishing of Stories in the "Haaretz" Newspaper – Early Letter in German, Signed "Shai Czaczkes"

Collection of letters by Shai (Shmuel Yosef) Agnon, addressed to authors, editors, and various other personalities. Some handwritten, others typewritten; all but one personally signed by Agnon. 1920s to 1960s. Hebrew (one letter in German).
25 letters written in Shai Agnon's singularly distinctive style, including, inter alia, requests pertaining to various literary matters, requests regarding the publication of stories in the daily newspaper "Haaretz" and references to the paper's editorial board, references to the great deal of effort Agnon has devoted to his writings, and other matters.
Included in the present collection:
• Letter in German, handwritten by Agnon and signed "Shai Czaczkes" (1922), addressed to "Mr. Moses" (Siegfried Moses?). Mentioned in the letter are Agnon's wife, Esterlein (Esther) and their infant daughter, Emunah: " Seeing as, several months ago, I changed professions – I am now ¾ nanny and ¼ sous-chef – I was unable to respond to you immediately." • Two letters addressed to the author Dov Kimhi (late 1930s?; 1943). One letter relates to Kimhi's (Hebrew) book "Massot Ketanot"; the other pertains to a story written by Kimhi: " Kimhi my friend, you have gladdened my spirit with your delightful story, Jubilee of the Aged Artist. And thank you and may you be blessed for being so kind as to mention my name in it…" (the story referred to here was published in "Haaretz" on December 3, 1943, and dedicated to Agnon). • Three letters addressed to the author Yitzhak Lamdan (1940; 1950s). In one letter, Agnon writes that " a new story I have not, but had I had a new story, never would my publisher agree to print it somewhere else..." • A letter addressed to Shlomo Picker (1958). Agnon writes that "as I learned from [reading] his letter, the gentleman requests that [I] recommend his book to the 'Haaretz' editorial board, so [that] they dedicate a review to it. I have no influence on the "Haaretz" editorial board nor on its authors… and at times they do the opposite of what is requested of them or of the advice given to them." Agnon then signs off with the complimentary close and signature: "The overly busy and troubled Shai Agnon." • Letter addressed to Yehoshua Tan Pay (1958), head of the "Haaretz" editorial board in Jerusalem, with a request to publish a review of a book by Shlomo Picker. • Four letters addressed to Benjamin Tammuz (1950s and 1960s). Two of them deal with the publication of excerpts from Agnon's story "Hadom VeKiseh". Agnon writes, inter alia, about the difficulties he experiences in reading articles in "Haaretz": " How it pains me to see these tortured words, mercilessly torn, one letter here and another in the next line. And needless to say how difficult it is for me to read those tiny letters whose purpose can only be to deprive the readers of their eyesight." Another letter deals with various publications printed in "Haaretz." As something of a footnote to this letter, Agnon adds an autobiographical recollection: " On Lag Ba'Omer nine-and-fifty years ago, I set foot for the first time on the soil of Jaffa. That was the beginning of my arrival in the Land of Israel. Back then my handwriting was beautiful and legible." In yet another (this one typewritten) letter, Agnon relates that "each and every week I receive delightful letters from Ashkenazic and Sephardic girls and boys, including residents of the ma'abarot [immigrant camps], regarding stories of mine that they have read"; he adds that he received one particular letter from Grade Six children who "had read ‘Tzipori' and asked me, on behalf of the entire class, if they [the stories] are really true." At the end, Agnon apologizes for his wordiness, and explains that this is because he is " training my fingers to use a typewriter, out of love for my fellow men, so as not to torment them with my atrocious penmanship." • Letters addressed to Ya'akov Horowitz, editor of the literature and culture supplement to "Haaretz, " regarding various literary subjects, such as the publication of his stories in the newspaper, copy editing of those stories, and other issues (1950s and early 1960s). In one of the letters, Agnon specifies a number of conditions for the publication of one of his stories in the paper: "[It must be] printed in attractive letters, " " do not crush the words, " " do not play ‘kuntzin' [Yiddish: ‘tricks'] on me as you have [in the past]." With regard to a story intended for the pre-Rosh Hashanah issue of the newspaper, Agnon writes as follows: " You surely wanted [to receive] a modern story; but what can I do? I am unable to satisfy the modern muse." • A typewritten letter, hand signed by Agnon (1960), addressed to "a most honored editor." Regarding stories he had contributed to "Gilyon HaBesht" ("the Ba'al Shem Tov Issue"), Agnon writes: " they demanded of me numerous hours and much labor. I did not spend as many days [working] on my book Shevu'at Emunim nor did I invest as much labor." • Letter addressed to Salman Schocken (1960) regarding the publication of a story by Agnon in the pre-Passover issue of "Haaretz." Typewritten, with an additional seven handwritten lines, and with Agnon's hand signature. • Additional letters.
25 letters (19 of them handwritten by Agnon). One letter incomplete, missing the end. Size and condition vary. Overall good condition. Stains. Creases and fold lines. Punch holes on some sheets. Minor tears.