加拿大哲学家荣获贝尔格如恩奖

Canadian Philosopher Wins $1 Million Prize

charles_taylor
The Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has been named the winner of the first Berggruen Prize, which is to be awarded annually for “a thinker whose ideas are of broad significance for shaping human self-understanding and the advancement of humanity.”
The prize, which carries a cash award of $1 million, will be given in a ceremony in New York City on Dec. 1. It is sponsored by the Berggruen Institute, a research organization based in Los Angeles and dedicated to improving governance and mutual understanding across different cultures, with particular emphasis on intellectual exchange between the West and Asia.
Mr. Taylor, 84, is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading philosophers, and a thinker whose ideas have been influential in the humanities, social sciences and public affairs. His many books include “Sources of the Self,” an exploration of how different ideas of selfhood helped define Western civilization, and “A Secular Age,” a study of the coexistence of religious and nonreligious people in an era dominated by secular ideas.
He was chosen for the prize by an independent nine-member jury, headed by the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah. The jury cited Mr. Taylor’s support for “political unity that respects cultural diversity,” and the influence of his work in “demonstrating that Western civilization is not simply unitary, but like all civilizations the product of diverse influences.”
Mr. Taylor’s previous honors include the 2015 John W. Kluge Prize for the Achievement in the Study of Humanity (shared with Jürgen Habermas), the 2007 Templeton Prize for achievement in the advancement in spiritual matters and the 2008 Kyoto Prize, regarded as Japan’s highest private honor. Both the Templeton and Kluge prizes also carry cash awards of more than $1 million.

2016年度布克文学奖的6部候选作品

The six Booker finalists were drawn from an earlier longlist, and the winner will be announced on Oct. 25. In 2014, the prize, which had previously been limited to writers from Britain, Ireland, the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe, changed its rules to include submissions from any author whose work was published in Britain and was first written in English. This year’s six finalists:
nominees-for-manbooker201601“The Sellout” by Paul Beatty
Beatty’s bold satire about race in America was one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2015. In the Book Review, Kevin Young wrote about the novel in the context of the history of black satire. He said Beatty takes “delight in tearing down the sacred, not so much airing dirty laundry as soiling it in front of you.” Dwight Garner wrote that the first third of the book “reads like the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”
“Hot Milk” by Deborah Levy
Levy’s novel is about a young woman named Sofia who has traveled to Spain with her mother, Rose, in search of a cure for Rose’s possibly psychosomatic ailments. In The Times, Sarah Lyall called the book “gorgeous,” and wrote: “It’s a pleasure to be inside Sofia’s insightful, questioning mind.” In the Book Review, Leah Hager Cohen expressed mixed feelings: “As a series of images, the book exerts a seductive, arcane power, rather like a deck of tarot cards, every page seething with lavish, cryptic innuendo. Yet, as a narrative it is wanting.”
“His Bloody Project” by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Burnet’s novel about a triple murder in 19th-century Scotland will be published in the U.S. on Oct. 18. It starts with a confession, so it’s not a whodunit but a whydunit. “My primary interest is in the psychology of the character,” Burnet recently told The Wall Street Journal, “rather than the mystery of what’s happened.”
nominees-for-manbooker201602“Eileen” by Ottessa Moshfegh
One of the most widely praised debuts by an American writer this year, Moshfegh’s novel is about a young woman working at a juvenile detention center in New England in the 1960s. On the cover of the Book Review, Lily King praised Moshfegh’s sentences as “playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp,” and said that as a character Eileen is “as vivid and human as they come.”
“All That Man Is” by David Szalay
Szalay’s novel is composed of nine narratives with different male protagonists. In the Book Review, Garth Greenwell praised the novel, while questioning its label: “The publisher calls ‘All That Man Is’ a novel, but there’s very little explicitly interlinking its separate narratives. The stories cohere instead through their single project: an investigation of European manhood.”
“Do Not Say We Have Nothing” by Madeleine Thien
Thien’s latest novel, which will be published in the U.S. on Oct. 11, traces the effects of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, from Mao’s rise to the Tiananmen Square protests. It follows three musician friends through the country’s changes.

National Book Foundation Announces 10 Nominees for 2016 Fiction Award

National Book Foundation Announces 10 Nominees for 2016 Fiction Award

The contenders for the 2016 National Book Award for fiction include novels about American slavery, mental illness, terrorism, post-Civil War America, and a book about a couple on the cusp of marriage that also features a charismatic squirrel.

The 10 nominees were announced on Thursday.

Colson Whitehead’s best-selling novel “The Underground Railroad,” which was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, centers on a slave named Cora who escapes a Georgia plantation and flees north via the underground railroad — a literal subterranean railroad. In Karan Mahajan’s novel “The Association of Small Bombs,” a community in New Delhi struggles to recover from a terrorist attack. Adam Haslett’s “Imagine Me Gone” explores the effects of mental illness on generations of a family. Jacqueline Woodson, who won the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, is nominated this year for “Another Brooklyn,” a coming-of-age story set in 1970s Brooklyn, which is her first adult novel in 20 years. Other nominees include Paulette Jiles, Chris Bachelder, Brad Watson, the debut novelist Garth Greenwell and Elizabeth McKenzie, whose novel “The Portable Veblen” features a neurotic soon-to-be married couple and a friendly squirrel, who becomes a sort of sidekick to the novel’s heroine.

Books about war, racism and slavery also dominated the list of nonfiction nominees, which included two books about slavery, by Manisha Sinha and Andrés Reséndez, who wrote about American Indian enslavement, and a history of racism in the United States, by Ibram X. Kendi. Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his novel “The Sympathizer,” was nominated for what he has described as a nonfiction companion to that book, titled “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.” Heather Ann Thompson’s “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy,” which has been widely praised by critics as an indispensable work about police brutality, racism and mass incarceration, is also among the finalists.

In the Young People’s Literature category, the nominated works address challenging subjects like domestic violence, sexuality, race and class, and how children cope during wartime. The nominees include Kwame Alexander’s “Booked,” Kate DiCamillo’s novel “Raymie Nightingale,” Grace Lin’s “When the Sea Turned to Silver,” and Sara Pennypacker’s “Pax.”

The nominees for poetry included Kevin Young, Monica Youn, Jane Mead, the Pulitzer Prize winner and former poet laureate Rita Dove, and Solmaz Sharif, who recently published her first poetry collection.

虚构的岛上,残酷的现实,辛辣的嘲讽 ——评《岛上》

虚构的岛上,残酷的现实,辛辣的嘲讽

——评《岛上》

当国内评论界对莫言的“魔幻现实主义”评论余温渐熄的时候,青年作家任晓雯又给“魔幻现实主义”这把火添了一把干柴。这部创作跨度十三年,三度修订的《岛上》,以一个“成熟的先锋”的姿态重新出现在读者面前。

23634680-1_u_1《岛上》的故事主线并不复杂,主要讲述了“我”方蓁岷,在童年失去父亲的阴影下产生“恋父情节”,并因此导致了大学教师“明先生”的家庭纷争。“明太太”在这次纷争中意外死去,方蓁岷由此被诬为“精神病人”失手杀人,送到了青山精神病院。后被阴差阳错地从精神病院中被卖出,送到了一个座孤岛上“劳动改造”。孤岛由神秘的“康先生”控制,设置了禁林、电网和督察。在孤岛上的“囚徒”们为了各自的利益内斗,人性的丑恶和权力压抑下的变型显露无疑。

虚构的“岛上”其实是一个人性的试验场,它是高度抽象化、符号化了的人类社会,与现实社会有着有趣的朦胧指涉关系。虚构的“岛上”是一个威权统治下的封闭空间,海岸、禁林、和电网勾勒了自由的边界,督察、被赋予特权的“民选1号”和植根于囚徒内心中的“集体无意识”保障了权力的运行。作者把人物像小白鼠一样安排到这样一个权力极度压抑下的“极限境遇”,饶有兴致并抽丝剥茧地将人性的裂变呈现给读者看。

实验的结果是残酷的。权力规定的“例会制度”,成了人人相互检举揭发的秀场。人们开始主动地“自我诬陷”,编造子虚乌有的故事,以迎合当权者变态的窥私需求。人们“习惯了”言语刻毒,“习惯了”卑微,并主动地踩着被规定舞点舞蹈,安于鲁迅所说的“暂时做稳了奴隶”的时代。然而这种表面上的安于现状实际上潜潮暗涌,“民选1号”的设置是这种内斗暗流的催化剂。所有的“劳改犯”都有身份的编号,大家选出来的1号,可以住更好的屋子,吃更好的餐食,并有拥有手枪的特权。温文尔雅的医生为了争夺“1号”身份,利用“赛太太”偷走了“赛先生”的手枪,并直接导致了“赛先生”的死亡。顺理成章地当上了“1号”的医生,前倨后恭,欺压选民,并抢了一个滑稽的眼镜,以彰显特权。眼镜使医生的眼睛变化,更有灼伤力,但到了家里,医生又忙不迭的丢掉眼镜,“像丢下了一个包袱”。“眼镜”是权力的一种隐喻,既是烫手山芋,又让人欲罢不能。

“美佳”是个很重要的人物,她是方蓁岷来到岛上交的第一个朋友,热情地帮方蓁岷熟悉着岛上的一切。美佳是一个“变性人”,本是“男儿身”的他更倾向于将自己认定为一个“美娇娘”,变性手术之后,来到没有人认识的岛上,渴望过自由的生活。可是小岛并未给她自由,流言蜚语与世俗间无异。在方蓁岷眼中她是一个“超越性别的存在”,兼具了男性的坚忍和女性的同情,然而在世俗眼中,美佳只是被简单粗暴地定义为“变态”。岛上和世俗世界一样缺乏沟通理解的耐心,人们只是凭借刻板的主观印象将他人归类为符号。美佳在她人武断地“暴力定义”中生存,而她与方蓁岷赖以“惺惺相惜”的基础恰是这种同病相怜。方蓁岷也一直处于一种失语的焦虑当中,方蓁岷被大多数人认定为“疯子”,由此便陷入了“无力辩驳”的怪圈。“真正的疯子都不认为自己疯,就像醉鬼不承认自己醉”,被扣上了“疯子”的帽子,一同被剥夺的还有正常人的话语权力,辩驳被理解成疯话,不辩驳被理解成默认。而对于疯子的定义,则掌握在少部分人的话语权力之中。正如美佳对方蓁岷说的“保不齐其他人都是疯子呢,我们就是正常人了,只是被污蔑成‘疯子’而已”。作者在此处对于权力的思考,流露出了福柯在《疯癫与文明》中传递出的精神底色。

作者以清醒的姿态,画出了人类面对权力的“百丑图”。不失讽刺的描绘出人们面对权力那种“又爱又恨”、“又怕又觊觎”的复杂心态。“渔女”以身体为资本,在强权中“游弋”,虽说是一种自保的方式,可多少也有些攀附的成分。这很好的折射了当今很多人面对特权的态度,一面痛骂,一面接近,一面呼唤公平,一面又寄希望于特权做出有利于自己的倾斜。而大部分人对于权力“不敢爱”也“不敢恨”的微妙心理,又恰恰是权力赖以运行的基础。

这和汉娜阿伦特《平庸的恶》以及鲁迅《再论雷峰塔的倒掉》中的心理机制是一样的,每个人都想从公共利益中得到好处,又希望公共利益得以维持壮大。每个人都希望有所改变,每个人又都是事情变得更糟。这也就是古斯塔夫勒庞《乌合之众》中论述的“群体的低效率”在权力方面的折射——心理上痛恨权力、实际上畏惧权力、行为上迎合权力。

并非所有人都是都逆来顺受的承认既有秩序,在任何一个社会中都有否定和改变的因子。在岛上,唯一的“革命者”是大西北。似乎大西北是权力的天然蔑视者和反对者。大西北是个很复杂的人物,他在他人眼中是“政治犯”、“迫害狂”,是“无事生非者”。然而他却有一整套的自救计划,并自命不凡。他将人分为两类,强者和“猪猡”,强者会保存力量,韬光养晦,在关键时刻爆发。而猪猡,“没脑子,被环境赶着走,只要有一点口粮,就在地上哼哼”。正式基于这种武断地不公平的分类,他可以为了达成自己的计划,牺牲“猪猡”的生命,在逃跑时为了“减少负担”,他设计将“发婆”杀死,并毫无愧欠之意,颇为心安理得。如同日本法西斯在残杀所谓“支那”的心理机制一样——首先将人分级,优等种族人拥有天然的淘汰劣等种族的权力。这种残忍的法西斯因子使得大西北更像一个“政治狂人”。然而大西北的所作所为,与其说是为公为民,毋宁说是为了自己“逃出生天”,是一种自我价值的扭曲体现,本质上还是自私为己的。从这个角度说,其所有的疯狂的表现和残酷的行为,只是为了掌握权柄的一种用力过度的扭曲。

小说的另一成功之处在于对人物的塑造,小说把窥探的笔触深入了意识流的深处,揭示了每一个个体存在的内在张力。没有简单的善恶二分,而是“不善不恶”或者“有善有恶”。比如看似完美的美佳,也因为“贪欲”偷了发婆的戒指,并因此送命。美佳感叹道,每个人都有罪,自己也一直被罪折磨。比如明先生,一直以方蓁岷的完美梦中情人出现,兼具了一切完美的品格,但是在失手杀死妻子之后,用花言巧语和美好许诺哄骗方蓁岷“顶罪”,反映了他懦弱的一面,和黑暗的趋利避害的人性本能。比如大西北,既是革命者,又是法西斯,很难用一个好坏的简单形容词去定性。再比如主人公方蓁岷也并非完全的道德正确,她因为对于所谓“父爱”的执着偏执,与亲生母亲的对抗,她的失手杀人,她对于周围人主观性的判断,都很难说做到了完全的无可挑剔。但恰是优缺点并存的人物,使读者更觉得亲切,读者可以将自己的性格弱点找到人物上的投射,因而建立一种“心理亲近”,人物也因此可触可及,有活力、会呼吸。

小说的结尾很吊诡,统治小岛的“康先生”,是一个没有行动能力,甚至没有头盖骨的“畸形人”,被人轻轻一掌就能捏成粉末的权力内核,竟然井然有序的一直高效地运作着。这也暗示了,剥除了统治机器、督察和电网,以及权力的实际和谋者——普通民众之后,权力的内核又腐败、又无能,还有一点变态。

对“康先生”的摧毁并没有毁坏整个权力的体制,正如在现实社会中每一个人都在巨大的权力关系网中生存。康先生死后,小岛易主,督察成了新的当权者,而方蓁岷的“弟弟”,段仔却成了新的督察,重新将方蓁岷定义为“疯子”。正如鲁迅笔下《狂人日记》中的“狂人”一样,在短暂的“发狂”揭示了社会的吃人本质之后,竟然“病愈”到某地候补去了。一个权力关系网上的单元的失灵,并不会导致权力运作的失效,权力网使人异化,并义无反顾地对其效忠。权力是疯狂的,可是践踏生命,更别说漠视人情了。然而原来的“督察”摇身一变成为“岛主”,就和打工的“马仔”一下子变成“老板”一样刺激和疯狂。转变的权力的法理合理性以及权力的运行效率都是存疑的,或许督察很快就会成为下一个“康老板”。很显然,热热闹闹的小岛上将上演新的故事,但主题永远只有一个——铁打的权力网,流水的螺丝钉。

【作者:李劲然,南开大学外国语学院2014级研究生】

一次有关狄兰·托马斯座谈会上的乱想

悖论也许正是意义之所在吧——

于无意义中寻找意义。

你知道如此真相,

你还是在不经意间时而驻足于貌似宏伟的浅显和单一。

【其实你没说,你只是被发现了……】

嗨,那里不是意义的目的地!

你说 ——

但是狭隘的执迷于意义的人啊

又如何能够看到其他的地方 ……