英美文学琐记1008

1. 创作了《纯真年代》(The Age of Innocence, 1920)这部经典作品的美国女作家伊迪丝·华顿(Edith Wharton, 1862-1937)自己的“纯真年代”在由伍尔德里奇(Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge)推出的最新传记《伊迪丝·华顿的出逃》(The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton)中得以再现。 这部最新传记讲述了 童年伊迪丝·华顿的执拗、睿智和不守常规繁文缛节,以及她在1880年的一次出逃。这部传记图文并茂,资料翔实,充分展示这位桀骜不驯的小女孩的非凡经历。。。

应该说,这部新的伊迪丝·华顿传记在讲述主人公的反叛方面做得非常精彩。传记从多个层面讲述了伊迪丝·华顿对当时束缚女性的传统的反叛;对她所处的那个社会的浅薄和势利的反叛;对她的苛刻冷漠的母亲的反叛。而另一方面,尽管她对当时的社会毫不留情地加诸谴责,那个社会对她却是礼遇有加,对她包容接纳,奉为明星。。。

总而言之,通过这部传记,读者可以更多地了解到一个更为丰满真实的作家伊迪丝·华顿!

2. 乔纳森·弗兰岑(Jonathan Franzen)的新书《自由》(Freedom)创造近年来美国文坛的一个现象:小说还没有正式出版,已然是好评如潮,被冠以当代美国小说的经典之作的美名。这个8月以及接下来的9月,美国书评的热点之一始终是弗兰岑及其《自由》。据说甚至连美国总统奥巴马也加入了宣传这部作品的行列(有报道称那时奥巴马随身携带的阅读书籍就是这部小说)。能被书评家们誉为“masterpiece”当然完全可以说明这部作品的精彩不容置疑。而作者弗兰岑在”自由“的引领之下到底讲述了怎样的故事,这一点则需要读者自己去发现。当然,在你开始进入弗兰岑的”自由“世界开始你的探索旅程的时候,别忘先把书评家们的言论从你的头脑中清理出去,让你自己少收些外界的影响。。。

3. 对美国文学的学习者和爱好者来说,雪莉·杰克逊(Shirley Jackson)这个名字可能比较陌生。而最近,由美国当代著名作家乔伊斯·卡罗尔·欧茨( Joyce Carol Oates)编辑出版的杰克逊小说集则再次将这位已经故去近半个世纪的女性作家呈现在了读者的面前。关于她的作品,下面的这两段英文给我们提供了简要的介绍: Near the end of Shirley Jackson’s most famous novel, “The Haunting of Hill House,” the heroine, a lonely young woman named Eleanor, thinks to herself, “What I want in all this world is peace, a quiet spot to lie and think, a quiet spot up among the flowers where I can dream and tell myself sweet stories.” And Eleanor does dream, but the stories, for her as for her creator, are rarely sweet. In addition to “Hill House,” 46 of her short stories, another novel — her last, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” — and an essay on the furious reactions to the magazine publication of her peerlessly disturbing 1948 tale “The Lottery.” Although few of the narratives collected here are as terrifying as “Hill House” or as shocking as “The Lottery” (which is about an exceptionally nasty small-town ritual), there’s precious little comfort in any of them. They’re quiet, usually, told in calm, precise, scrupulously unsensational prose, but peace of the kind for which poor Eleanor yearns is always elusive. There’s none apparent in the wide world — Jackson wrote at the height of the cold war, when anxiety was general, even fashionable. The first story in the book, “The Intoxicated,” is about a 17-year-old girl who sobers up an inebriated party­goer with a coolly imagined vision of the end of civilization: “Maybe there’ll be a law,” she speculates, “not to live in houses, so then no one can hide from anyone else, you see.” And Jackson knew too well that there’s not much peace in houses, either: no place, anywhere, to hide.

Shirley Jackson spent a good deal of her brief life — she died in her sleep in 1965, at 48 — playing the role of housewife and mother. She had a husband and four children, and in her final years ventured outside only infrequently. She lived indoors and in her head, wrangling her kids and her spouse and spinning her odd stories. Houses loomed large in her imagination, as places that promise but never quite deliver some respite from everyday terrors. In one of her last published stories, “The Little House,” a young woman — practically all the main characters in Jackson’s fiction are women — inherits a small, quaint house from her aunt, but before she’s had a chance to settle in, a visit from a pair of old neighbor ladies, soft-spoken but fearsomely passive-aggressive, sends her into a panic. After they’ve left, her new digs feel suddenly, inexplicably menacing. “ ‘Don’t leave me here alone,’ she said, turning to look behind her, ‘please don’t leave me here alone.’ ” Many of Jackson’s stories seem, as “The Little House” does, barely more than casual conversational encounters, between neighbors or friends or lovers or simply people on the street, but they generally end in unease: some petty rudeness, some fleeting hint of malice, reveals itself, and the world begins to look weird and unaccountable, vaguely but unmistakably threatening.

4. 捷克小说家米兰·昆德拉(Milan ­Kundera)当然 不应该包含在英美文学当中。但是由于他是我喜欢的作家,有关他的出版信息,我还是比较关注的。他的第四部杂文集的出版自然也会引起我的关注。《偶遇》(Encounter)是这部新的杂文集的标题。它收录了昆德拉近几年来的26篇散文。文章长短不一,有的只有几页,有的则长达数十页。无论长短,我们从字里行间能够领略到昆德拉对于文学、对于同行、对于当今社会等等都有他独特的真知灼见。

A Quote:

“No novelist,” Kundera comments, “no poet, no dramatist; no philosopher; a single architect; a single painter, but two couturiers; no composer, one singer; a single moviemaker (over Eisenstein, Chaplin, Bergman, Fellini, the Paris journalists chose Kubrick).” The selectors were not ignoramuses, Kundera writes. “With great lucidity,” they “declared a real change: the new relationship of Europe to literature, to philosophy, to art.”

Rules of Writing【续一】

【mabokov按】BTR最近在他的《看得见风景的房间》里翻译介绍了《卫报》上的名作家谈写作戒律的文字。这里是BTR贴出的另外四位作家的写作戒 律。现转贴于此与大家分享。

乔伊斯·卡罗尔·欧兹 Joyce Carol Oates

1。别期待会有“理想读者”——或许会有一个,但他/她在读别人的东西。

2。别期待会有“理想读者”——或许除了你自己,在未来某时。

3。做你自己的编辑/评论者。有同情心但毫不留情。

4。除非你在写一些非常先锋的东西——枝枝节节的、纠结的、“晦涩的”——要注意分段的各种可能。

5。除非你在写一些非常后现代的东西——自我意识的、自我指涉的、“挑衅的”——要注意尽量用简单、熟悉的词,来代替那些多音节的“大词”。

6。记得奥斯卡·王尔德说的:“一点点真诚是种危险的东西,而许多真诚绝对致命。”

7。保持轻松、期待的心情。但——要预想到最坏的情形。

安妮·普鲁 Annie Proulx

1。慢慢写,小心写。

2。为了保证慢慢写,用手写。

3。仅慢慢用手写那些使你感兴趣的主题。

4。通过长年的宽泛阅读拓展写作技能。

5。重写,编辑,直到你获得了最贴切的词/句/段/页/故事/章节。

扎迪·史密斯 Zadie Smith

1。还是孩子的时候,你要尽量读很多书。花在这上面的时间要比其它事多。

2。成年后,试着像陌生人那样读你自己的作品,甚至像敌人那样读,会更好。

3。别浪漫化你的“职业”。你要么能写出漂亮的句子,要么不能。不存在“作家的生活方式”。要紧的只有你留在书页上的东西。

4。避开弱点。但这样做的时候,别对自己说,你做不了的事不值得做。别把自我怀疑打扮成轻蔑。

5。在写作与编辑之间留下足够的时间。

6。避免派系、帮派、小圈子。一群人不能使你的写作变得更好。

7。在一个不连接互联网的电脑上工作。

8。确保你用来写作的时间和空间。 把其他人赶出去,甚至那些对你而言最重要的人。

9。别把荣誉和成就混为一谈。

10。透过手头无论怎样的面纱来讲真话——但要讲出真话。让自己离开毕生的来自于永不满足的伤感。
乔纳森·弗兰岑 Jonathan Franzen

1。读者是朋友,不是对手,不是观众。

2。小说,假如不是作者对于令人恐惧之事或未知领域的个人历险,就不值得写,除非为了钱。

3。永远不要用“然后”(then)作为——连词——我们有“而”(and)作此用途。代之以“然后”,是懒惰或音盲的作家对于一页上有太多“而” 这问题的没有办法的办法。

4。用第三人称写,除非有个真正独特的第一人称声音无法抗拒地出现。

5。当咨讯变得免费而唾手可得,为小说所做的大量研究便随之贬值。

6。最纯粹的自传性小说需要有最纯粹的创造。没人写出过一个比《变形记》更具自传性的故事。

7。你静坐时比追逐时看见更多。

8。很怀疑在工作场所有互联网的人能写出好的小说。

9。有趣的动词很少很有趣。

10。在无情之前,你必须先爱。