Gnessin, Uri Nissan (1879–1913) By Harel, Naama
Uri Nissan Gnessin was a Russian Jewish author, who is recognized as one of the founders of Modern Hebrew literature. He was born in Starodub, a small town in the Ukraine, as a son of a Hasidic rabbi. Attracted to the Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment movement), Gnessin immersed himself in the study of foreign languages, as well as other secular subjects, and was especially influenced by Russian literature. At the age of 14 he began to publish short stories, novellas, poems, literary criticism, and translations in various leading Hebrew periodicals. His first collection of short stories, Tsilele Ha’ḥayim (The Shadows of Life) was published in 1904 in Warsaw, where he also co-founded the Hebrew publishing house Nisyonot (Attempts) in 1906.