奥威尔的“失败之书”

Luke
2006-02-17 看过
我对奥威尔的偏爱自不待言,曾有译出“奥威尔全集”的宏愿,但是在读了他的早期小说《保持叶兰繁茂》(Keep the Aspidistra Flying)之后,这个宏愿有了动摇,因为总的说来,我不喜欢这本书。

未看这本书前,因为知道它是写一个诗人与生活(金钱之神)搏斗却归于失败,最终向生活投降,成为商业公司的一分子,觉得和文艺在中国的现状相比较不无意义,想着把书名干脆译为“诗人之战”,岂不宜乎?

但是看了这本书后却让人提不起精神,原因何在?这本书出版于1936年,完成之时为该年年初,为奥威尔出版的第3本小说——前两本为《缅甸岁月》和《牧师的女儿》——而最早出的一本书为纪实性的《巴黎伦敦落魄记》。跟《巴黎伦敦落魄记》一书相比较,这本《保持叶兰繁茂》写的也是贫困,但情绪上截然不同。当初奥威尔弃缅甸英国皇家警察的不错工作而去法国巴黎及英国过着贫困交加的生活,主要目的是为了写作,这在《我为何写作》中交代得清楚。《巴黎伦敦落魄记》里的“我”身处贫困,却毫无自怜自悲之感,反而因为自己接近了社会最底层而有自得之感——也许认为这是积累写作素材的一个途径,后来果真因为这几年的经历而写出不少作品,《保持叶兰繁茂》就是其中之一。但是从《保持叶兰繁茂》一书看来,奥威尔在过了几年贫困生活后,对这种生活的负面体会得颇深,在这本书里尽情描写了这种感觉,让人读得不舒服。主人公戈登给人的印象是“不够正直和真诚、缺少荣誉感,而且嫉妒兼自怜,他在社交、艺术、性等方面的失败感易使读者对他敬而远之”(杰弗里·迈耶斯《奥威尔传》)。而那些失败感,在书里都片面地归咎于“没钱”。阅读过程中,不由让人生出“哀其不幸,怒其不争”的感觉,全书给人的感情是情绪化、不通情理、扭曲,最后的结局又有些牵强。

奥威尔本人对这本书也有清醒的认识,认为是他在急需用钱时出的较差的小说:“我想我不能同意重印这本书,《牧师的女儿》也是,这两本都写得很糟糕,我宁愿让它们绝版。”但是奥威尔这个愿望并未实现,《保持叶兰繁茂》和《牧师的女儿》都一直再版,而且前书还拍成了电影,在美国换了个片名,叫《A Merry War》,还曾被评为年度“十大”呢。

看来因其名去看奥威尔的人大有人在,但我对这本书却实在喜欢不起来。

抄书:

P44
Probably the greatest cruelty one can inflict on a chilid is to send it to school among children richer than itself.

P46
Every intelligent boy of sixteen is a Socialist. At that age, one does not see the hook out of the rather stodgy bait.

P47
You can possess money, or you can despise money; the one fatal thing is to worship money and fail to get it.

P66
But if any survived they had grown rich and lost touch with their poor relations; for money is thicker than blood.

P73
When you have no money your life is one long series of snubs.

P89
The truth was that in every moment of his life he was apologising, tacitly, for the largeness of his income.

P180 关于喝酒的一段,深得我心。
It is almost always a mistake to order a second bottle. It is like bathing for a second time on a summer day. However warm the day is, however much you have enjoyed your first bathe, you are always sorry for it if you go in a second time. The magic had departed from the wine. It seemed to foam and sparkle less, it was merely a clogging sourish liquid which you gulped down half in disgust and half in hopes of getting drunk quicker. Gordon was now definitely though secretly drunk. One half of him was drunk and the other half sober. He was beginning to have that peculiar blurred feeling, as though your features had swollen and your fingers grown thicker, which you have in the second stage of drunkenness. But the sober half of him was still in command to outward appearance, anyway. The conversation grew more and more tedious.

P222
He didn’t want ever to work again; all he wanted was to sink, sink, effortless, down into the mud.

P231
On the floor below there was woman with a baby which cried, cried everlastingly; also a young couple who used to have frightful quarrels and frightful reconciliations which you could hear all over the house.

P233
Life had beaten him, but you can still beat life by turning your face away. Better to sink than rise. Down, down into the ghost-kingdom, the shadowy world where shame, effort, decency do not exist!

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