The Agnonian Text as a System of Systems

Edna Aphek, Yishai Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this paper we will try to show how Agnon has succeeded in creating a text with a clearly definable physical/spiritual message through the creation of two tight and complex word Systems: (a) a System based on the polysemous Hebrew words makom (place, God) and olam (world, age, eternity) with ail their historical inter‐and intralingual associations and (b) a word System based on the pivotal axis of the metathesized Leitwörter composed of the triconsonantal roots M‐TS‐? (find)/TS‐M‐? (thirst). Together, these two word Systems create a text which may be viewed as a larger “system of Systems” composed of these two phonological‐semantic‐associative sub‐systems. The purpose of this paper is not merely to isolate several word Systems as they function in a specific text, but rather to show that the Agnonian text is operating simultaneously on two planes: the most basic physical as well as the highest spiritual. All of this has its foundation, however, in the author's systematic use of language to create his message.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-52
Number of pages20
JournalOrbis Litterarum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1986


Dive into the research topics of 'The Agnonian Text as a System of Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this