ALL THE POWDERS OF THE MERCHANTS: A Mimesis of Experience Reflected in Composition —
A Translation and Introductory Exegesis of S.Y. Agnon’s Kisui HaDam (Bad b’Vad) (2009)
A novella, authored by the penetrating Hebrew language writer, SY Agnon, and posthumously published, gives us fresh insight into the dilemma of living with tragedy and joy together. How do we stake a positive claim to our lives as trauma continues to define us? This thesis offers a translation and a close reading of Agnon’s story, anchoring us in the source material of the Jewish texts which allow us to recognize that this dissonance is not a new phenomenon. In reading our lives through Agnon’s eyes, we recover and reclaim a new/old language to confidently express our deepest fears and our enduring hopes as we see the world around us continue to burn.