Agnon weaves Jewish and classical European themes into "Betrothed". The implicit counter-narratives of this tale are Jewish stories about neglected brides that involve demonic and supernatural worlds. But unlike the men of these stories, Jacob Rechnitz, the scientist of the sea, resists the allures of the six seductive nymphs, and remains faithful to his childhood love and his first marriage vow.
In contrast "Edo and Enam" is symbolically totally grounded in Jewish tradition; in fact tradition itself becomes the tale's central theme. The narrative triangulation of two scholars and a woman—motivated by jealousy, envy and desire—projects the tragic dimension of the revival of Jewish society in Zion. The ideal and aspired ingathering of exiles inevitably caused the destruction of tradition-steeped communities. Uprooted, tradition transformed from a lived experience to an object of research and the gaze of tourists, squeezed out of its quintessential vitality."—Dan Ben-Amo
"[Rechnitz] is a man who has to be overtaken, surprised by Eros." —Allen Mandelbaum
"The man is tremendously good. . . . [Agnon’s stories] . . . have an international currency."—James Michener