J.K.罗琳说:在我的新书中人们有性爱,但是没有人从中享受乐趣……

本周二,J.K. 罗琳(J. K. Rowling)在纽约在其粉丝们尖叫呐喊声中接受了采访。她畅谈了自己的畅销新作《临时空缺》(The Casual Vacancy),谈了《临时空缺》与另一部畅销小说,E.L. 詹姆斯(E. L. James)的《五十种灰》(Fifty Grades of Grey)的区别。以下是有关这次访谈的报道:

J.K. Rowling cheered by fans at New York event

NEW YORK — J.K. Rowling quipped Tuesday about the difference between The Casual Vacancy, her first post-Harry Potter novel for grown-ups, and another kind of adult best seller: E.L. James’ erotic Fifty Shades of Grey.

“The difference is that people have sex in my book, but no one enjoys it,” Rowling told 2,500 cheering fans at an event at a Manhattan theater.

Rowling also said:

— She dreaded writing several scenes in her new novel, about social and political divisions in a small English town, particularly a rape, but “it had to happen. It was there for a reason.”

— Her new novel “might be appropriate for the right 14- or 15-year-old, but not any younger than that.” But parents, she added, should discuss the reasons with their children that it’s inappropriate.

— Her biggest challenge in moving from young readers to adults wasn’t “about writing in a contemporary world, in a real world,” but getting “the structure” right of a novel without a central character.

Rowling’s conversation on stage with the novelist Ann Patchett (State of Wonder), who owns a bookstore in Nashville, was her first public event in the U.S. for her new novel.

It drew a screaming crowd that gave Rowling a standing ovation as she walked on stage, prompting Patchett to say, “This is like a Stones concert.”

Patchett, “as a writer and bookseller,” praised Rowling “for doing more for reading than anyone else in my lifetime and for single-handedly keeping an industry alive.”

“No, no, no,” Rowling replied. “That’s way too much responsibility.”

The two authors sat on a stage normally used by the New York City Ballet and often drew laughs, especially when Patchett mentioned the double meaning of “adult novel.”

Both Rowling and Patchett shared they hadn’t read Fifty Shades.

“Everyone tells me the writing is terrible,” Patchett said.

“But that’s porn,” Rowling shot back to laughter. “Have you ever read The Story of O?”

“I went to Catholic school,” Patchett confessed.

“You’d like it even more,” Rowling replied.

The Casual Vacancy, which landed at No. 1 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list and dropped to No. 4 last week, has gotten mixed reviews from critics, who have called it everything from dull to brilliant. But that wasn’t mentioned Tuesday.

When Rowling said she feared some readers may have missed the humor in The Casual Vacancy, Patchett said “it is a story not between evil and good, but between evil and funny.”

The crowd was predominantly female, mostly between 20 and 40, the generation that grew up on the Potter series.

Among them was Catherine Warren, 19, who had come all the way from the University of Georgia, where she’s a sophomore, to pay homage to the writer “who’s just so great.”

Warren remembered how her mother read to her the first two Potter novels “when I was in first or second grade, but then I finished them myself as the years went by.”

Warren said she’s 100 pages into The Casual Vacancy “and so far so good.” She said she’d loved to read “more about Harry Potter’s world” — which Rowling has said she won’t do — then added, “I understand what’s done is done.”

希拉里·曼特尔的三部曲之二《提堂》再获曼布克小说奖

希拉里·曼特尔(Hilary Mantel)的都铎三部曲完成了两部。两部都获得了曼布克小说奖(Man Booker Prize)的殊荣。这确实是曼特尔巨大的成就和荣誉。她是第一位也是迄今为止唯一的一位连续两部作品获得布克奖,也是第三位两次获得该项殊荣的作家。(6:06PM EDT October 16. 2012 – The first to win for a sequel and the only the third writer to win twice: Both apply to British novelist Hilary Mantel, who has won the prestigious 2012 Man Booker Prize for Bring Up the Bodies)都铎三部曲的第一部《狼厅》(Wolf Hall)于2009年获得布克奖;第二部《提堂》(Bring up the Bodies)再度折桂;第三部暂定书名《镜和灯》(The Mirror and Light)也将出版。

下面奉上一篇述评文章。这是在布克奖短名单出来之后,我让我的学生,2011级研究生王飞同学写的(我今天稍稍作了调整)。藉此,大家可以了解更多一些相关信息:

曼特尔出手不凡,《提堂》再获布克奖殊荣

曾经凭借小说《狼厅》(Wolf Hall) 荣获2009年布克奖的英国女作家希拉里·曼特尔(Hilary Mantel)凭借新作《提堂》(Bring up the Bodies)再获殊荣。这么短的时间内两次荣获布克奖,这位作家的魅力不可小觑。但对于大多数中国读者,希拉里·曼特尔还是一个略显陌生的名字。

1952年出生的希拉里·曼特尔曾在伦敦经济学院和谢菲尔德大学攻读法律学位,1973年从谢菲尔德大学毕业。曼特尔的写作主要涉及名人传记和历史小说等形式,她1985年发表了处女作《每天都是母亲节》(Every Day is Mother’s Day》,从此开启了她的文学创作生涯。她1992年发表的作品《更安全的地方》(A Place of Greater Safety)重现了法国大革命的宏伟场面,获得了周日快报年度小说奖 (Sunday Express Book of the Year)。她2005年的作品《黑暗深处》(Beyond Black)入围2006年英联邦作家奖,并获得2006年橘子奖(the Orange Prize)的提名。直至2009年《狼厅》发表并荣获布克奖——当今英国乃至全世界最重要的文学奖项之一,曼特尔才真正开始进入文坛的聚光灯之下,受到不少海内外评论家及读者的关注。

曼特尔以历史题材创作的《狼厅》一经出版便好评如潮,目前全世界已有30多个国家和地区引进了这部小说的版权,其总销售量也高达20多万册,2012年,《观察家报》将其誉为“十大最佳历史小说”之一,这部小说的成功也为曼特尔本人带来了广泛的知名度和影响力。2010年上海译文出版社也在中国发行了这部小说的中文简体版。《狼厅》选取了英国历史上著名的都铎王朝时期为故事背景,亨利八世(Henry Ⅷ)是英格兰亨利七世的次子,都铎王朝的第二位国王。亨利七世在位时,为了加强同邻邦的友好合作,让自己的长子亚瑟迎娶了西班牙阿拉贡的凯瑟琳公主为妻。后来亚瑟不幸逝世,亨利七世为了团结西班牙共同对抗法国,竭力留住了凯瑟琳公主,并将其嫁给了当时年仅12岁的次子亨利八世。当时的英格兰,国王假若没有男性继承人,就会很快陷入权力争夺和战争之中,而凯瑟琳皇后仅仅为亨利八世生出了玛丽公主(即后来的玛丽一世)一个女儿,往后几次的生育都以流产告终。而亨利八世和女侍官安妮·傅林发生了一场婚外情,并想要解除和凯瑟琳的婚姻,迎娶安妮·傅林。但在当时天主教管制下的英国,离婚被视为是不道德的行为,因此亨利八世的离婚请求遭到教皇强烈拒绝。在这样的一个历史背景下,《狼厅》拉开了序幕。 Continue reading

“开题”那点儿事儿

今天下午给2010级英美文学方向研究生做硕士学位论文开题。

总体来说,还不错。有些好的选题,也有些比较勉强的选题,还有个别比较糟糕的。

有些选题不错,可是当事人却未能够真正抓住选题的精华之处。点拨之下,不知道开题者是否能够真正抓住要点,把好的选题发挥好,写出真正有价值的论文来。

有些选题比较勉强是因为其设计的研究方法比较陈旧老套,加之论文核心不够明确,或有偏差,尚需好好修改……

还有个别比较糟糕的,症结在于其选题too general to be anything。比如:The Ethnic Study of Modern Fantasy Literature。很显然,有这样选题的人其实并不知道自己真正在干什么……

其实,实事求是地讲,和前几年相比,近两年的硕士论文选题有了长足的进步,也规范了许多。也越来越多的Thesis Statements越来越清晰明确,研究方法的选择也多种多样,作为研究对象的小说文本也形形色色,题材各异,风格多样……

我们这个方向的老师们都很认真;我们这个方向的研究生们也还是比较用功的。我们都在进步!……

迷惘与挣扎——《白牙》的“离散”主题分析

迷惘与挣扎[*]
——《白牙》的“离散”主题分析

1975年出生的扎迪·史密斯(Zadie Smith)堪称当今英伦最富盛名的后起之秀。她在不到10年的时间里创作并发表了三部作品:《白牙》(White Teeth,2000)、《签名收藏家》(Autograph Man,2003)、和《关于美》(On Beauty,2005)。不仅每一部都取得了巨大的商业成功,而且几乎全部赢得了批评界的高度赞誉。《白牙》是扎迪·史密斯的第一部长篇小说。正是凭借此部作品,作者得以成名,其影响已不仅止于英美文学界。在《白牙》面世之后不久,各种奖项便扑面而来:2000年“詹姆斯·泰特·布莱克纪念奖”的小说奖、2000年“惠特布莱德图书奖”最佳小说一等奖、“卫报杰出图书奖”一等奖、“共同体作家图书奖”一等奖,以及“贝蒂·特拉斯克奖”,等等。此外,《时代》杂志还把这部作品收入了《1923-2005〈时代〉百部最佳英语作品集》。可见,《白牙》已经成功跻身经典作品的殿堂。

虽然在作品的出版过程中,商业运作也是其取得成功的重要一环,但是更为重要的当然是其自身的价值。尤其值得注意的是《白牙》这部作品所反映的主题正是当今世界在全球化背景下最引人关注的有关文化的融合与冲突问题。也许与其自身的身份特征有关[1],作者关注的焦点始终是处于这一问题中心的“离散”人群。

所谓“离散”(Diaspora),通常是指某一族群中的个体或者群体在自愿或者被迫的前提下移居到自己本族群常居地之外的国家或地区。和原居住地的文化发展相比,“离散”文化的发展有其自身的独特性。一方面,“离散”者(diasporas)努力保有自己的语言和宗教习俗的传承;而另一方面,他们由于远离了原初的居住地和文化氛围,因而又与本族群文化的发展产生了距离。在2004年澳门召开的“‘离散’研究国际研讨会”上,专家们对“离散”这一概念的基本框架形成了共识,一致认为“离散”人群就是定居在别国并籍以确立其身份的那些社会团体,而他们自身又存在着千差万别的属性(Smith and Stares, 2007: 5)。以此概念为基础,本文将围绕人物对《白牙》中的“离散”主题展开论述。

小说主要围绕琼斯和伊克鲍这两个家庭展开。这两位1945年曾一起为英国在欧洲征战,是生死与共的战友。阿奇鲍尔德·琼斯是英格兰人,萨马德·伊克鲍是孟加拉国人。第二次世界大战结束以后,伊克鲍移民到了英国。两位好友成了邻居。琼斯在一次失败的婚姻之后与移民到英国不久的牙买加姑娘克拉拉结婚。而萨马德·伊克鲍经过了多年在英国的独自闯荡,也终于娶了一位同样来自孟加拉国的姑娘阿尔萨娜。于是我们看到了两种典型的“离散”者家庭模式。而伊克鲍一家则更具代表性。事实上,尽管《白牙》是以琼斯的故事开始,以琼斯的故事结束,但是整部作品的核心却是伊克鲍一家。

通常,对于“离散”者而言,当生存问题仍然是个人生活需要解决的首要问题时,各种文化、宗教等精神层面的问题往往都会退居到次要的地位,甚至似乎被人们忽略。而当生活渐趋稳定,尤其在第二代出现以后,文化和精神层面的需求则变得越来越重要,随之而产生的矛盾和冲突也会逐渐显露。对于本民族文化的精神需求往往会逐渐增强,或者在经历了某次偶然的事件之后而变得异常强烈。这几乎是“离散”者人群中的一种普遍状况。伊克鲍就是这样的一个典型例证。

伊克鲍有着强烈的本民族文化情结。而他的这种情结在遭遇了一次表面上的情感问题实质上的文化冲突之后变得更加清晰和强烈。伊克鲍有一对双胞胎儿子。生活的压力可想而知。随着孩子们的长大,生活也渐趋稳定。而不如意的夫妻生活使得他有了再次燃烧一下激情的冲动。他邂逅了一位英格兰白人姑娘珀珮·布尔特-琼斯,于是便不顾一切地去实践婚外情给他带来的刺激。他们第一次真正的约会意味深长。珀珮特意给他带来一件礼物。然而,与他想象的浪漫完全不同,情人的礼物竟然是“一把牙刷”(Smith, 2000: 152)[†]。这令他感到错愕惊讶,同时也促使他意识到了自己民族文化情结的存在和牢固。

透过这一带有几分荒诞的细节,读者至少可以领会到这样一个信息——生活的真实其实是冷冰冰的,并没有人们想象的那么多温馨和浪漫。而“牙刷”在这里已经演变成了一个代表文化差异的符号。此前,叙述者已经介绍过,像伊克鲍这样的孟加拉国移民有不刷牙的习惯。珀珮也许真的享受和伊克鲍在一起交谈的乐趣,甚至对伊克鲍本人也算真有志趣相投的好感,但是她却无法忽略伊克鲍不刷牙的陋习。她作为礼物的牙刷其实包含了两层含义:一是提醒伊克鲍他们之间的差异;二是提出进一步交往的前提条件,即要求伊克鲍寻求以珀珮为中心的趋同。引申一步讲,珀珮以牙刷所暗示的交往条件代表了主流文化对想要获取认同的“离散”者所采取的一贯做法,即要求“离散”者寻求向主流文化的趋同。

牙刷也让我们看到了这样一个事实,即伊克鲍和珀珮讲的其实不是同一种语言。雷蒙德·威廉斯对“我们其实讲的不是同一种语言”有过如下的阐述:

当我们说“我们说的其实不是同一种语言”的时候,我们指的是更具一般意义的东西:即我们有截然不同的价值标准,或者不同类型的评价方式;或者我们似有所悟地意识到了能力和兴趣的不同形式和不同分布。在这样的情况下,每一方都在讲着自己最熟悉的语言,但是其用法却大相径庭,尤其当涉及到一些处于争论中的强烈的情感问题抑或重大观点的时候。虽然暂时占据统治地位的一方可能会试图将它自己的语言作为“正确”的用法强加出去,但是,按照无论哪种语言学的标准,没有哪一方是“错误”的。(Williams, 1976: 11) Continue reading

西文剪报之“名著改写”和“作家谈性”

这个月已经有两则有关改写简·奥斯丁的作品的报道了。先有乔安娜·特洛罗普(Joanna Trollope)将执笔重写奥斯丁的≪理智与情感≫,现在又有报道说一位以凶杀主题闻名的作家詹姆斯(PD James)将改写奥斯丁的《傲慢与偏见》。凶杀也将成为新版《傲慢与偏见》的重要主题。BBC有报道如下:

PD James writes Pride and Prejudice crime novel

Crime writer PD James is to publish a novel that puts murder at the heart of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

The BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride And Prejudice is one of at least 10 filmed versions of Austen's novel

Death Comes to Pemberley, which is due out in November, is set six years after the events of Austen’s tale of romance and social advancement.

It sees Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage thrown into disarray when Lydia Wickham arrives unannounced and declares her husband has been murdered.

James said it had been “a joy” to immerse herself in Austen’s world.

“I have to apologise to Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in a murder investigation,” she said in a statement, “but this fusion of my two enthusiasms – for the novels of Jane Austen and for writing detective stories – has given me great pleasure which I hope will be shared by my readers.”

The 91-year-old is best known for her series of novels starring detective and poet Adam Dalgleish.

Speaking to the BBC during the writing of Death At Pemberley, she refused to give away any details.

“It’s rather secret at the moment, because it’s something entirely new,” she told Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I’m superstitious. I feel if I talk about it before it’s a third of the way through, somehow it will never get finished.”

She added she was wary of writing further adventures for her enigmatic detective.

“I would love to do another Dalgleish,” she said, “but it seemed to me the last book was somewhat valedictory.

PD James worked for the civil service during the early years of her career

“I’m very afraid of starting something that will take a long time to write – about three years with all the plotting and planning – which may be unfinished when I die. I hate the thought of that.”

Stephen Page, head of James’s publishers Faber, said Death At Pemberley was an “elegant, intelligent and moving” book.

“It is always a moment of great excitement when PD James delivers a new novel but the brilliance of both the idea and the execution on this occasion is simply breathtaking”.

Austen’s novel was originally published in 1813, and James is far from being the first writer to foray into the world she created.

In fact, more than 40 “Austenesque” novels were published in 2010 alone.

Notable examples of the genre include Darcy’s Story by Janet Aylmer, which retells Pride And Prejudice from the point of view of the antagonist, and Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, which is currently being turned into a Hollywood movie and video game.

USA TODAY的一篇题为Let’s talk about sex with some ‘Snark’-y authors的文章介绍了Lawrence Dorfman的一本新书 The Snark Handbook Sex Edition: Innuendo, Irony, and Ill-Advised Insults on Intimacy。该书花了十四章的篇幅谈到文学与性的话题。其中还大量引用了一些小说家、散文家和幽默作家的独特表述。部分摘录如下:

Woody Allen: “Sex is a beautiful thing between two people. Between five, it’s fantastic.”

John Updike: “Sex is like money. Only too much is enough.”

Camille Paglia: “Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist.”

Fran Lebowitz: “Girls who put out are tramps. Girls who don’t are ladies. This is, however, a rather archaic usage of the word. Should one of you boys happen upon a girl who doesn’t put out, do not jump to the conclusion that you have found a lady. What you have probably found is a lesbian.”

Nora Ephron: “In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind.”

Steve Martin: “Don’t have sex, man. It leads to kissing, and pretty soon you’ll have to start talking to them.”

Dave Barry: “People don’t think of writers as sex objects. The women who write to me and suggest that we ought to have sex usually turn out to be, like, eighty. And their letters always end with, ‘Just joking.’

Orange Prize及其他


1、年仅25岁的塞尔维亚裔美籍作家缇·奥布莱希特(Tea Obreht)的首部小说《虎妻》(The Tiger’s Wife)获得了2011年度的英国橘橙文学奖。奥布莱希特也成为获得该项殊荣的最年轻的作家。橘橙奖的奖金金额为3万英镑,奖励那些女性作品用英语创作的小说作品。相关评论,请点击这里这里,还有这里

2、塑造了“怪兽古肥猡”的童话作家朱莉娅·唐纳森(Julia Donaldson)成为新一任“童话大王(children’s laureate)”。这个称号每两年评选一次。荣誉获得者可获得1.5万英镑的奖励金。相关链接在这里

3、科恩获得一项西班牙文学最高奖,因其创作已经影响了三代人。。。

4、Hart also produced a number of West End plays, including Coward’s The Vortex and Iris Murdoch’s The Black Prince. Other bestselling novels include Sin, Oblivion, The Stillest Day and The Reconstructionist.

5、柯南·道尔的第一部小说即将出版.。。。

6、畅销书作家珍妮弗·沃斯去世……