Megged, Aharon 1920-

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MEGGED, Aharon 1920-

PERSONAL: Name is sometimes spelled Aron Meged or Aharon Meged; born August 10, 1920, in Wloçlavek, Poland; immigrated to Palestine (now Israel), c. 1925; son of Moshe (a teacher) and Leah (Reichgot) Megged; married Eda Zirlin (a writer and painter), May 11, 1944; children: Eyal, Amos. Education: Attended high school in Palestine (now Israel), 1933-37. Politics: Labour. Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES: Home—26 Rupin St., Tel-Aviv, Israel. Agent—Gloria Stern Literary Agency, 1230 Park Ave., New York, NY 10028.

CAREER: Member of a kibbutz in Sdot-Yam, Israel, 1938-50; Massa (biweekly newspaper), Tel-Aviv, Israel, editor, 1952-55; Lamerchav (daily newspaper), Tel-Aviv, literary editor, 1955-68; Israeli Embassy, London, England, cultural attache, 1968-71; Davar (daily newspaper), Tel-Aviv, columnist, 1971-c. 1983; author, 1983—. Writer in residence, University of Haifa, 1974, and Oxford University, 1978. Zionist missionary in the United States, 1946-48; participant in several lecture tours in the United States.

MEMBER: International PEN (president of Israel center, 1980-88), Israeli Writer's Association (member of central committee, 1954-60), National Arts Council (member of central committee, 1962-67), Hebrew Academy, Israeli Journalist's Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Ussishkin Prize, 1955, for Hedvah ve-ani: u-farashat korotenu ba-'ir Tel-Aviv, and 1966, for ha-Hai 'al ha-met; Brenner Prize, 1957, for Yisrael haverim; Shlonsky Prize, 1963, for ha-Berihah: sheloshah masa'ot; Israeli Prime Minister's Award, 1973; Bialik Prize, 1973, for Mahberot Evyatar and 'Al etsim ve-avanim; Fichman Prize, 1973, for 'A'sahel; Kenneth B. Smilen Literature Award, 1983; Present Tense Prize, 1983, for 'A'sahel in English translation; Gatmon Prize, 1987; Rockefeller Foundation fellow in Bellagio, Italy, 1988; Polak Prize, 1989; Newman Prize, 1991.


El ha-yeladim be-Teman (juvenile; title means "To the Children in Yemen"), United Synagogues of America (New York, NY), 1948.

Ruah yamin (short stories; title means "Spirit of the Seas"), Hotsa'at ha-Kibutz ha-me'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1950.

Hedvah ve-ani: u-farashat korotenu ba-'ir Tel-Aviv (novel; produced as a two-act play in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Habimah Theater, 1955), ha-Kibutz hame'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1954, reprinted, 1993, translation of stage version published as Hedva and I: A Play in Two Acts, Youth and Hechalutz Department of the Zionist Organization (Jerusalem, Israel), 1957.

Yisrael haverim (short stories; title means "Israeli Folk"), ha-Kibutz ha-me'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1955.

Mikreh ha-kesil (novel), ha-Kibutz ha-me'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1959, translation by Aubrey Hodes published as Fortunes of a Fool, Victor Gollancz (London, England), 1962, Random House (New York, NY), 1963.

ha-Berihah: sheloshah masa'ot (three novellas; title means "The Escape"), ha-Kibutz ha-me'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1962.

Mi-sipure ha-yom ha-sheni: Geshem nedavot; Ma'a'seh bilti ragil; Yad va-shem, Ketsin hinukh rashi, 'Anaf ha'skalah (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1965.

ha-Hai 'al ha-met (novel), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1965, translation by Misha Louvish published as Living on the Dead, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 1970, McCall Publishing (New York, NY), 1971.

'Avel (title means "Iniquity"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1966.

ha-Yom ha-Sheni (short stories; title means "The Second Day"), Tarmil (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1967.

ha-Hayim ha-ketsarim (novel), ha-Kibutz ha-me'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1972, translation by Miriam Arad published as The Short Life, Taplinger Publishing (New York, NY), 1980.

Sheloshah sipurim, 1972.

Hatsot ha-yom (title means "Midday"), ha-Kibutz hame'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1973.

Mahberot Evyatar (title means "Evyatar's Notebooks"), ha-Kibutz ha-me'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1973.

'Al etsim ve-avanim (title means "Of Trees and Stones"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1973.

ha-'Ataleph (novel; title means "The Bat"),'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1975.

Haints u-veno veha-ruah ha-ra'ah (novella; title means "Heinz, His Son and the Evil Spirit"),'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1976.

'A'sahel (novel), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1978, translation by Robert Whitehill and Susan C. Lilly published as Asahel, Taplinger Publishing (New York, NY), 1982.

Ahavat ne'urim (juvenile; title means "Young Love"), Dvir (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1979.

Massa be-av (novel; title means "Journey in the Month of Av"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1981.

ha-Gamal ha-me 'ofef ve-dabeshet ha-zahav (novel; title means "The Flying Camel and the Golden Hump"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1982.

Masa' ha-yeladim el ha-Arets ha-Muvtahat: parshat yalde Selvino, 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1984, translation by Vivian Eden published as The Story of the Selvino Children: Journey to the Promised Land, Vallentine Mitchell (Portland, OR), 2002.

Ezor ha-ra'ash (collected newspaper columns; title means "The Turbulent Zone"), ha-Kibutz hame'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), c. 1985.

Ma'a'seh meguneh: sheloshah Sipurim (three novellas; title means "Indecent Act"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1986.

Foiglman (novel), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1987, translation by Marganet Weinberger-Rotman, Toby Press (New Milford, CT), 2003.

Shulhan ha-ketivah: kovets ma'amarim be-'inyene sifrut (criticism; title means "The Writing Desk"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1989.

Mivhar sipurim (short stories), Zemorah-Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1989.

Nadav ve-imo: sipur li-vene-ha-ne'urim (young adult novel; title means "Nadav and His Mother"), Devir be-shituf 'im Amkor (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1989.

Yom ha-or shel 'Anat (title means "Anat's Day of Illumination"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1992.

Ga'gu'im le-Olgah (title means "Longing for Olga"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1994.

Duda'im min ha-arets ha-kedoshah (title means "Mandrakes from the Holy Land"), 'Am 'oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1998.

Persefoneh zokheret (title means "Persephone Remembers"), Zemorah-Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 2000.

'Ad ha-'erev (title means "Till Evening Falls"), Zemorah-Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 2001.

Nikmat Yotam (title means "Yotam's Vengeance"), Zemorah-Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 2003.

Work represented in anthologies, including A Whole Loaf, edited by S. J. Kahn, 1957; Yisrael edited by J. Leftwich, 1963; Hebrew Short Stories 2, edited by S. Y. Penueli and A. Ukhmani, 1965; and The New Israeli Writers, edited by D. Rabikovitz, 1969. Contributor to journals and newspapers, often under pseudonym A. M., including Encounter, Midstream, Listener, Moment, Partisan Review, and Atlantic Monthly.

Megged's books have been published in Romanian, Russian, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Yiddish, and French.


Inkubator al Hassels (three-act; title means "Incubator on the Rocks"), first produced in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Ohel Theater, 1950.

Harhek ba-'arava: mahazeh be-shalosh ma'arakhot (title means "Far in the Wasteland"), Sifriyat po'alim (Merhavyah, Israel), 1951.

Baderech Le-Eilat (two-act; title means "The Way to Eylat"; first produced in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Habimah Theater, 1955), Sifriat po'alom (Merhavyah, Israel), 1955.

I Like Mike (three-act; first produced in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Habimah Theater, 1960), ha-Kibutz hame'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel) 1960.

Hamesh hamesh (two-act; title means "Tit for Tat"), first produced in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Ohel Theater, 1960.

Hanah Senesh: mahazeh bi-shete ma'arakhot (two-act; first produced in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Habimah Theater, 1962), ha-Kibutz ha-me'uhad (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1954, reprinted, Or-'am (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1989.

Be-reshit (three act; title means "Genesis;" first produced in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Habimah Theater, 1965), Or Am (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1965, published as The First Sin, Centre Hongrois De l'I.I.T. (Budapest, Hungary), 1982.

ha-'Onah ha-bo'eret: mahazeh bi-shete ma'arakhot (two-act; title means "The High Season"; first produced in Tel-Aviv, Israel, at Habimah Theater, 1968), 'Amikam (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1967.

El hatzippor (title means "To the Bird"), produced in Haifa, Israel, at Haifa Theater, 1974.

Megged's plays have also produced in the United States, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and other locations.

ADAPTATIONS: The stage play I Like Mike was adapted as a screenplay.

SIDELIGHTS: Jacob Kabakoff, in a World Literature Today review, called Aharon Megged "one of the leading short story writers and novelists of the generation of Israel's War of Independence" and noted that the author has depicted "the varied aspects of life in the new state, from war themes to the kibbutz and urban life." In his novel Living on the Dead, Megged tells the story of a young Israeli writer who has signed a contract with a publishing house to write a biography of one of the country's Zionist pioneers. Even though he collects an advance from the publisher and receives monthly checks on which he is able to live and conduct research, the writer is unable to finish the project. Stephen G. Kellman of Modern Fiction Studies explained that "examples of necrophagia, of living on the dead, are scattered throughout this novel, from poets who seem to cultivate experiences in order to convert them into inert stanzas to a nation fond of worshipping its heroes dead. Jonas [the protagonist] is consumed by the realization that he himself is the most voracious necrophage in the drama. . . . [Like] those scholars who bide their time until such lives as Stravinsky, Pound, or Picasso are completed before rushing out with the definitive study, Jonas, beneficiary of the publisher's monthly check, is in a real sense feeding himself from a dead man."

Megged once told CA: "Life in the country, first, in childhood, in a small village, and then in a Kibbutz, had a great effect on my work. In later years I traveled much in Europe in search of Jewish medieval mysticism, especially in Spain and France. European writers, such as Kafka, Svevo, Gogol, Chekhov, had influence on my work."



Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 9, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1979.


Choice, March, 1983, review of Asahel, p. 997.

Commentary, August, 1972, Harold Fisch, review of Living on the Dead, pp. 74-75.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 1981, review of Asahel, p. 1366.

Library Journal, March 1, 1982, review of Asahel, p. 563.

Modern Fiction Studies, summer, 1976, Stephen G. Kellman, review of Living on the Dead, pp. 231-237.

New York Times Book Review, January 11, 1981, review of The Short Life, p. 10.

Publishers Weekly, November 20, 1981, review of Asahel, p. 44.

World Literature Today, spring, 1977, review by Jacob Kabakoff; spring, 1981, review of The Short Life, p. 369; summer, 1983, review of Asahel, p. 507; autumn, 1995, review of Ga'gu'im le-Olgah, p. 862.*