200岁的《傲慢与偏见》仍然招人爱戴的10个理由

‘Pride & Prejudice’ was first published 200 years ago Monday, on Jan. 28, 1813

1813年1月28日,英国作家简·奥斯丁的第二部小说《傲慢与偏见》正式出版发行。2013年1月28日,《傲慢与偏见》200岁了。英国和美国举办了多种活动为这部经典作品庆生。200年来,《傲慢与偏见》的读者可谓长盛不衰。开篇的这一句“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”更可谓耳熟能详,是不朽的经典名句。

《今日美国》(USA Today)在祝贺《傲慢与偏见》200岁生日快乐的同时,还做了一个专栏,讨论为什么这部小说200年来能够始终如一地得到读者爱戴的原因。USA Today列举了以下10个理由:

1. It’s the ultimate “happy ever after” tale. Pride & Prejudice established the template for an infinity of romance novels, yet no subsequent love story has ever come close to equaling the delights of the original. In P&P, opposites repel then attract: Mr. Darcy is sullen and arrogant. Elizabeth is vivacious and charming. He is rich, she is poor. He is madly in love, she can’t bear him. In a scene both hilarious and dramatic, Elizabeth squashes Mr. Darcy’s massive pride when she rejects his first proposal. To win her, Darcy is forced to change, to become more kind and polite. But Elizabeth also changes, though her journey from prejudice is less visible.

2.It’s fun. The plot of P&P scarcely seems to be the stuff of comedy. Here are five unmarried girls in rural England who will face poverty once their improvident father kicks the bucket since his estate must pass to a male heir. If they can’t snag husbands, their career options involve downwardly mobile humiliations such as working as governesses or paid companions to the wealthy. And yet the novel, brimming with sparkling dialogue, “is a pure joy to read,” as Anna Quindlen once put it. Perhaps it is Elizabeth’s father, Mr. Bennet, who best explains its appeal: “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

3. It’s the rom-com of all rom-coms. Which is why P&P has been adapted for screens big and small around the world. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth have been portrayed by Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson (1940) and Matthew Macfadyen and the radiant Keira Knightley (2005). There is even a 2004 Bollywood musical, Bride and Prejudice. But for many fans, the ultimate adaptation is the 1995 BBC miniseries starring Jennifer Ehle. Her co-star Colin Firth may have won an Oscar playing a British monarch, but to Darcy fans, he is a god thanks to a certain scene involving a wet white shirt. These days, you can watch a Web adaptation on YouTube called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which stars Ashley Clements as Lizzie.

Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen are the most recent actors — but by no means the only ones — to embody Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy on the big screen, in 2005.(Photo: Alex Bailey, Focus Features, via AP)

4. Sex, lies and runaway teens. The next time someone dismisses Pride & Prejudice as a fussy old story about the breeding habits of early 19th-century Brits, point out that the novel’s villain, George Wickham, would probably be arrested today as a serial pedophile. An Army officer in his 20s, Wickham is a smooth operator who tries to seduce underage girls for fun and profit. Though he fails to lure Mr. Darcy’s 15-year-old heiress sister into marriage, Wickham succeeds in deflowering and shacking up with Elizabeth’s 16-year-old sister, Lydia, without benefit of clergy, thanks to her “animal spirits.”

5. P&P isn’t just “how to marry a millionaire, Regency style.” You can divide the world into two groups: mad romantics who adore those passionate Brontë tales about women yearning for tormented psychos like Heathcliff, and more pragmatic souls who admire Elizabeth Bennet’s decision to marry for love and money. Readers know that Austen, who never married, disapproves of Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte Lucas’ decision to marry a “conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man” simply for money. Mr. Darcy, however, wouldn’t be Mr. Darcy without the ka-ching of 10,000 pounds a year and the big estate up north. Elizabeth herself jokes about her change of heart regarding Darcy: “I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.”

6. Before the Kardashians, there were the Bennets. Reality TV didn’t invent miserable, weird families. Just look at Lizzie’s parents, the supremely ill-matched Ma and Pa Bennet. When not locked in his library reading, Mr. Bennet entertains himself by teasing and tormenting his whiny dimwit of a wife in front of their offspring. The deepest bond in the novel isn’t romantic love, it’s affection between siblings. (Austen adored her own sister Cassandra, who, in turn, encouraged Austen’s writing.) Even when Elizabeth dislikes Mr. Darcy, she admits he’s an outstanding brother to his little sister. And it’s sibling solidarity, not rivalry, with Elizabeth Bennet and her older sister, the head-turning beauty Jane. Indeed, it is a worried Elizabeth rushing to help Jane, fallen sick while dining with wealthy new neighbors, that captured the heart of British writer Martin Amis, who wrote: “Impelled by sibling love, Elizabeth strides off through the November mud to Netherfield, that fortress of fashion, privilege, and disdain. She arrives unannounced, and scandalously unaccompanied, ‘with weary ancles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise.’ By now the male reader’s heart is secure (indeed, he is down on one knee).”

7. Back then, well-off people’s purpose really was to eat, drink and be merry. Name the one activity that Mr. Darcy, Bingley, Sir Lucas and Mr. Bennet all avoid: Work! They visit the ladies. Hunt birds. Attend balls. Ride horses. Travel. The one worker bee in the bunch — Elizabeth’s uncle Mr. Gardiner — is socially handicapped because of that icky thing called his job. Even military life appears to be a social club for swanky young studs — pretty remarkable since P&P was published at time when Napoleon was rampaging through Europe.

8. Now, as then, we choose to see what we want. First Impressions was Austen’s original title. Though far less catchy, it does convey perfectly Austen’s important message: First impressions are often wrong. For example, Darcy’s little sister is often mistaken for proud when she’s simply painfully shy. Other first impressions are dangerous. P&P‘s one truly evil character is the slick seducer Wickham, who charms everyone, even Elizabeth, who prides herself on being nobody’s fool.

9. Hypocrisy is always good for a laugh. Some of Austen’s funniest and sharpest scenes involve hypocrites. There’s Mr. Collins, the clergyman. Upon learning that his teenage cousin Lydia is living in sin, this man of God writes a letter to Mr. Bennet, noting that “the death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison” and closes by urging, “Let me then advise you, dear sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your affection forever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offense.” Nice. ​And while Mrs. Bennet embarrasses her family with her loud voice and silly ways, she’s Emily Post compared with the snobbish Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the novel’s rudest character.

10. Technology might change, but human nature remains the same. Give cellphones to the youngest Bennet daughters — the boy-crazy shopaholics Kitty and Lydia — and they would fit right in at any high school. Their father is every Baby Boomer dad ignoring both his upside-down mortgage and his out-of-control kids. The one homely Bennet female, Mary, is the 19th-century version of an insecure, overachieving nerd.

我也特别喜欢这篇专栏文章的最后一段总结。它能够代表很多P&P读者的心声:

In the end, although Austen crafted her characters with a quill pen dipped in ink, they have remained fresh, instantly recognizable and fascinating for 200 years. Whether people read P&P on a print page, a tablet or some future gadget, the love story of how Mr. Darcy won Elizabeth Bennet, will, no doubt, continue to captivate readers for another two centuries.

银河图书奖GNBP和国家图书奖NBA

GNBP是Galaxy National Book Prize(银河图书奖)的缩写,通常说成Galaxy Book Prize。2011年度的银河图书奖最后的短名单已经公布。在文学作品方面,桂冠诗人卡萝尔·安·达菲(Carol Ann Duffy)凭借其最新诗集《蜜蜂》(The Bees)而跻身其中。同时参加该奖项角逐的其他作家包括:Julian Barnes, Carol Birch,  Andrea Levy, Anthony Horowitz和 Alan Hollinghurst。【详细内容,请点击这里

这里的NBA不是北美篮球联盟,而是“国家图书奖”(National Book Awards)。今年国家图书奖的最终角逐名单也已于10月12日正式公布。其中的文学部分的候选人包括:

  • Andrew Krivak, for “The Sojourn” (Bellevue Literary Press), a novel set during World War I
  • Téa Obreht for “The Tiger’s Wife” (Random House), a best-selling debut novel set in the war-torn Balkans
  • Julie Otsuka for “The Buddha in the Attic” (Knopf), about Japanese “picture brides” brought to the United States nearly a century ago
  • Edith Pearlman for “Binocular Vision” (Lookout Books), a story collection whose characters confront issues of identity and relocation
  • Jesmyn Ward for “Salvage the Bones” (Bloomsbury USA), a story of a Mississippi Gulf family facing Hurricane Katrina

据说这次美国国家图书基金会( the National Book Foundation)还摆了个乌龙。他们将Lauren Myracle “Shine”列入了短名单,5天后有电话通知人家撤出。详情在这里

【有关国家图书奖的详细内容,请点击这里

朱利安·巴恩斯终获布克奖

说朱利安·巴恩斯(Julian Barnes, 1946- )终获本年度曼布克小说奖(Man Booker Prize),是因为此前巴恩斯已经三度进入布克奖评选的短名单。这是他的第四次。这一次终于他如愿以偿了。这次帮助巴恩斯获得该项殊荣的是他的小说《终结感》(The Sense of an Ending)。

  • 巴恩斯已经创作发表了11部小说和大量短篇小说以及其他文章。
  • 1946年出生于莱切斯特,在伦敦城市学习接受教育。
  • 他在牛津大学研究现代语言,1968年毕业。
  • 做过New Statesman的文字编辑;也为“观察家”频道做过电视评论员。
  • 他获得过法国的 Prix Medicis (for Flaubert’s Parrot) 奖和 Prix Femina (for Talking It Over)奖。他是唯一一位获得过这两项奖励的作家

【以下是来自BBC NEWS的报道】

Man Booker Prize won by Julian Barnes on fourth attempt

Julian Barnes has won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sense of an Ending, having been shortlisted on three previous occasions.

Barnes – the bookmakers’ favourite – said he was “as much relieved as I am delighted” to win the £50,000 prize.

The judges had been criticised for putting a focus on “readability” in their choice of shortlisted novels.

Chairwoman, ex-MI5 boss Dame Stella Rimington, said the publishing world was like the “KGB at its height”.

Of Barnes’s novel, Dame Stella said “the markings of a classic of English literature”.

She described the novel as “exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading”.

“We thought it was a book that spoke to the humankind in the 21st Century.”

In reference to the row over the literary merit of the books the judges chose, she accused her critics within the publishing world of resembling the Russian security service for their use of “black propaganda, de-stabilisation operations, plots and double agents”.

She said the judges had followed the debate “sometimes with great glee and amusement”.

“We were talking about readability and quality. We were certainly always looking for quality as well,” she said. “That fact it’s been in the headlines is very gratifying.”

And Barnes, in his acceptance speech, said: “I’d like to thank the judges – whom I won’t hear a word against – for their wisdom. And the sponsors for their cheque.”

Thanking the book’s designer, Suzanne Dean, he added: “Those of you who’ve seen my book – whatever you may think of its contents – will probably agree that it is a beautiful object.

“And if the physical book, as we’ve come to call it, is to resist the challenge of the e-book, it has to look like something worth buying and worth keeping.”

The shortest novel of the six finalists, The Sense of an Ending is about childhood friendship and the imperfections of memory.

It is narrated by a middle-aged man, Tony Webster, who reflects on the paths he and his friends have taken as the past catches up with him via a bequeathed diary.

Dame Stella said that although the main character appeared at first to be “rather boring”, he was gradually revealed to be somebody quite different.

The former spy chief added: “One of the things the book does is talk about humankind: none of us really know who we are – we present ourselves in all sorts of ways.”

The other nominees were Carol Birch (Jamrach’s Menagerie); Canadians Patrick deWitt (The Sisters Brothers) and Esi Edugyan (Half Blood Blues); and debut authors Stephen Kelman (Pigeon English) and AD Miller (Snowdrops).

Barnes had been shortlisted for the prize on three previous occasions, but without success.

The London-based author was nominated in 1984 for Flaubert’s Parrot, in 1998 for England, England and in 2005 for Arthur and George.

Dame Stella said the five judges had reached a final, unanimous decision after about half an hour of debate on Tuesday.

“I can tell you there was no blood on the carpet and nobody went off in a huff,” she said.

Her fellow Booker judges were writer and journalist Matthew d’Ancona, author Susan Hill, author and politician Chris Mullin and Gaby Wood of the Daily Telegraph.

Despite the literary row, this year’s shortlist has been the best-selling in Booker history – sales of the shortlisted novels are up 127% on last year.

According to Nielsen BookScan, 98,876 copies were sold in the six weeks after the shortlist was announced.

Snowdrops has sold most, shifting more than 35,000 copies since it was shortlisted. Next is Jamrach’s Menagerie with 19,500 and The Sense of an Ending with 15,000.

Barnes’s book has sold more than 27,500 copies since it was published in early August.

At 150 pages, it is not the shortest book to win the Booker. That record is held by Penelope Fitzgerald’s 132-page Offshore which won in 1979.

Commenting on the winner, Jonathan Ruppin, of Foyles, said: “As a writer characterised by immense intelligence and imagination, it would have been remarkable if Barnes had never won the Booker.

“This is definitely one that splits opinion, with some finding it subtly powerful and others frustratingly underdeveloped, but great writers rarely please everyone.”

Literature Prize(文学奖)

这里的”Literature Prize” 不是一个笼统的说法,而是一个新的独立的文学奖项。并且意欲与久负盛名的Man Booker Prize分庭抗礼。新“文学奖”认为布克奖的评选过分重视了可读性,而忽略了艺术性。另外,“文学奖”的受众面也较之布克奖有很大的拓展:“文学奖”面向所有在英国出版的英语作品。这个奖项计划明年颁出第一期。【以下是来自BBC的相关报道】

New literature prize launched to rival Booker

A group of leading lights from the literary world have launched a book prize in response to what they see as the changing priorities of the Man Booker Prize.

The organisers of the new Literature Prize claimed the Booker “now prioritises a notion of ‘readability’ over artistic achievement”.Man Booker administrator Ion Trewin dismissed that idea as “tosh”.

Booker 2011 judges: (l-r) Susan Hill, Chris Mullin, Dame Stella Rimington, Matthew d'Ancona, and Gaby Wood

The winner of the £50,000 annual Booker prize will be announced on 18 October.

“This is not about attacking the Booker or any books on the shortlist,” literary agent Andrew Kidd, spokesman for the Literature Prize, told the BBC.

“The Booker has made certain choices about how it wants to position itself and that’s great – but we think there’s a place for both of us and there can be a happy co-existence.”

The Literature Prize names among its supporters writers John Banville, Pat Barker, Mark Haddon, Jackie Kay and David Mitchell.

An announcement about the committee and funding for next year’s prize is expected within weeks.

‘Quality and ambition’

The Literature Prize will be open to any novel in the English language and published in the UK. The Booker competition is only open to those from the British Commonwealth and Ireland.

“The prize will offer readers a selection of novels that, in the view of these expert judges, are unsurpassed in their quality and ambition,” said the Literature Prize’s launch statement.

“For many years this brief was fulfilled by the Booker (latterly the Man Booker) Prize. But as numerous statements by that prize’s administrator and this year’s judges illustrate, it now prioritises a notion of ‘readability’ over artistic achievement,” it said.

Dismissing that as “tosh”, Man Booker’s Trewin told The Bookseller: “I think I have gone on record in the past as saying that I believe in literary excellence and readability -the two should go hand in hand.”

Jonathan Taylor, chairman of The Booker Prize Foundation, said: “Since 1969 the prize has encouraged the reading of literary fiction of the highest quality and that continues to be its objective today.

“We welcome any credible prize which also supports the reading of quality fiction.”

The Man Booker winner will be announced on 18 October

Julian Barnes is among six authors featured on this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist. He is the bookies’ favourite for his novel The Sense of an Ending.

Stephen Kelman, AD Miller, Carol Birch, Patrick deWitt and Esi Edugyan are also on the shortlist.

There were raised eyebrows in literary circles when previous Booker winner Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child did not make the final six.

Last week, chair of the Booker judges and former MI5 chief Dame Stella Rimington hit back at critics of the judges’ choices, which include two first-time novelists.

She told The Guardian: “As somebody interested in literary criticism, it’s pathetic that so-called literary critics are abusing my judges and me. They live in such an insular world they can’t stand their domain being intruded upon.”

Her fellow Booker jurors are writer and journalist Matthew d’Ancona, author Susan Hill, author and politician Chris Mullin and Gaby Wood of the Telegraph.

Kidd denied that the Literature Prize was about elitism.

“It’s a silly accusation,” he said.

“It is more about our feeling that a space has opened up for a new prize which is unequivocally about excellence – even if that sometimes means shortlisted books are more challenging and don’t necessarily fall under the easy description of readable.”

本年度竞逐布克奖短名单出炉

本年度布克奖(Man Booker Prize)短名单公布。英国作家朱利安·巴恩斯(Julian Barnes)凭借其小说《终结感》(The Sense of an Ending)第四次入围。另外的5位入围者分别为史蒂芬·凯尔曼(Stephen Kelman),艾迪·米勒( AD Miller),卡罗尔·帕奇(Carol Birch),帕特里克·德维特(Patrick deWitt)和埃斯·埃杜基(Esi Edugy)。

【以下是来自BBC的相关报道

Bookies’ favourite Julian Barnes is among six authors featured on this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist.

It is the fourth time Barnes has been shortlisted for the Booker

Bookmaker William Hill has put Barnes at 6-4 to win for his novel The Sense of an Ending.

Stephen Kelman, AD Miller, Carol Birch, Patrick deWitt and Esi Edugyan have also made it onto the shortlist.

The winner of the £50,000 annual prize – won last year by Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question – will be announced on 18 October.

Ladbrokes also named Barnes as favourite to win at 13-8 and made Birch second favourite at 7/2, as did William Hill.

Alan Hollinghurst, whose novel The Stranger’s Child had been second favourite to win, did not make the shortlist.

“Inevitably it was hard to whittle down the longlist to six titles,” said former MI5 chief Dame Stella Rimington, chair of this year’s judging panel.

“We were sorry to lose some great books. But, when push came to shove, we quickly agreed that these six very different titles were the best.”

Writer and journalist Matthew d’Ancona, author Susan Hill, author and politician Chris Mullin and Gaby Wood of the Telegraph are her fellow jurors.

Barnes has been shortlisted for the prize on three previous occasions, without success.

The 65-year-old was nominated in 1984 for Flaubert’s Parrot, in 1998 for England, England and in 2005 for Arthur and George.

This year’s shortlist contains two debut novelists – Miller and Kelman – as well as two women – Edugyan and Birch, who made the longlist for Turn Again Home in 2003.

Two of the authors are Canadian – Edugyan and deWitt – while the other four are British. Four of the novels are from independent publishers.

Kelman’s debut novel tells the story of an 11-year-old who, with his mother and sister, moves from Ghana to a rough London estate.

Booker judge Chris Mullin read 138 books before his panel whittled down the shortlist

Pigeon English follows him and a friend as they investigate the murder of a local boy who has been knifed to death.

Miller’s thriller Snowdrops, which reveals the dark underbelly of Moscow, was inspired by his time spent living in Russia.

Barnes’s novel has a middle-aged man reflecting on the paths he and his childhood friends have taken as the past catches up with him.

Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues begins in 1930s Berlin with a jazz musician going missing as the Nazis take over the streets.

The Sisters Brothers, deWitt’s second novel, is set against the backdrop of the 1850s Californian gold rush and is believed to be the first Western novel to feature on the shortlist.

Birch’s novel, Jamrach’s Menagerie, derives from a real-life incident – the sinking of the whale-ship Essex in 1820.

The competition is only open to those from the British Commonwealth and Ireland.

大卫·黑尔获颁本年度品特戏剧奖

Playwright Sir David Hare has been awarded this year’s Pen/Pinter Prize, it has been announced.

Sir David is known for his gritty portrayals of contemporary Britain

The award, set up by the writers’ charity Pen in memory of playwright Harold Pinter, is given to a British writer who casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world.

Pinter’s widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, said Sir David was a “worthy winner”.

He will be presented with his prize on 10 October at the British Library.

The award will be shared with an imprisoned “writer of courage” who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs, to be announced at the event.

Lady Antonia said: “In the course of his long, distinguished career, David Hare has never failed to speak out fearlessly on the subject of politics in the broadest sense.

“This courage, combined with his rich creative talent, makes him a worthy winner of the Pen/Pinter Prize”.

Known for his gritty portrayals of contemporary Britain, Sir David’s notable works include Plenty, a portrait of disillusionment in post-war Britain, and The Absence of War, a drama about the Labour Party.

He was nominated for Oscars for The Hours, in 2003, and for Kate Winslet drama The Reader, in 2008.