鹿城读笔(五)

《The Daemon Knows》洋洋洒洒五百页,讲述惠特曼和梅尔维尔的第一章就占到了一百五十页之多,不难理解这两人是布鲁姆用来给全书立论的基石。还记得他在前言里说到,He [Hart Crane] seems now the last transcendentalist poet of the American Sublime and the absolute conclusion to daemonic tradition in our literature. American poetry did not end with him, yet something glorious may have departed that cannot be renewed. 哈特·克莱恩是布鲁姆的最爱之一,也是本书十二位恶魔中的最后一位(与威廉·福克纳对组),在作者眼中,美国文学的光辉和某种崇高与传统在克莱恩之后即画上了句点。而这崇高与光辉,(我仍在研习过程中),便始于惠特曼和梅尔维尔。

What is the American Sublime and how does it differ from British and Continental instances? Simplistically, the sublime in literature has been associated with peak experiences that render a secular version of theophany: a sense of something interfused that transforms a natural moment, landscape, action, or countenance. 简单来说,(也借我粗浅的理解),布鲁姆在这里歌颂的是美国独有的以超验主义为核心的个人精神。超验主义强调人与上帝之间的直接交流,它无需借助神职人员,也无需借助仪式和道具,强调人的主观能动性,在模糊了人性与神性边界的同时,也极大地解放了人的视野和潜能。这种思想很大程度上塑造了当今的美国,成为了美国精神中重要的一部分。作者用 Daemon 来为本书命题,讲的也正是这一点:Except for T.S. Eliot, none of my twelve believed in God or the gods, and when they spoke of “Nature” they meant the American Adam. An Emersonian vision, the American Adam is the God-Man of the New World. He is self-created, and if he ever fell it was in the act of initial creation. Whet lies beyond the human for nearly all of these writers is the daemon, who is described and defined throughout this book. 

到底这恶魔的实质是什么,我还没有完整地领悟到,现在只知它指代的是上帝的反面。读完首章,尤其是占据了其中绝大多数(一百二十页)的惠特曼,也不难理解为什么他是这群恶魔的旗帜了。惠特曼是布鲁姆另一位最喜爱的作家,的确,经过这几天的粗读,我确实能感受到惠特曼诗句中强大的感召力和治愈心灵的力量。在段落间,布鲁姆常常会重复惠特曼《自我之歌》中的这两节:

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop some where waiting for you.

是这样,惠特曼在《自我之歌》的结尾处为我们真情描摹了那个 real Me 的样子,正在读诗的我们,虽然与他未曾谋面,也在眼前看到一个真切而坚实的背影,他就站在不远处的山间鼓舞来者前行。惠特曼的诗篇在南北战争后对美国影响很大,布鲁姆不止一次提到这点,而且,他还以自己的亲身感受作例。老人家今年已经八十四了,经受过不少伤病的折磨与煎熬,在难以入眠的黑夜里,他会情不自禁地背诵起读过的诗篇:Unable to rise out of bed for months, desperate for self-help, chanting much out of Whitman, particularly Song of Myself and the Sea-Drift and Lilacs elegies, has given me more than the illusion of consolidation and recovery. Walt calls this “retrievements out of the night” and persuades me that for once the poet is the man and I have become his poem.

年老的人爱怀旧,布鲁姆在讲解惠特曼的时候,常常会不经意间带入已经很久远的往事。诗句里提到了十一月,老人家也打趣道自己此刻正在十一月的纽黑文伏案写作。诗句里讲到初生的婴儿,老人家也追忆了自己第一个孩子降生的时刻。又比如说到对文学的热爱,布鲁姆又不着边际地讲起了大半个世纪前的孩提时代:Literary love has more to do with Plato or Saint Augustine than with Homer or the Bible … … My earliest memory of a similar experience goes back to an afternoon when I was seven or eight, playing in the snow with other children. I cannot recall the name of the little girl who suddenly caught my spirit, yet in the semi-awakefulness just before dawn, three-quarters of a century later, I sometimes see her face again with startled vividness, framed in the hood of her winter jacket. 我想,这应该也是布鲁姆对于惠特曼其人其诗的切身所感吧。有种模糊又纯粹的东西,总会在某个时候生动地浮现在眼前,正像惠特曼说的,“在某个地方等着你”。

我十分同意作者的一点是,惠特曼的魅力不仅仅在于其感召和治愈,同时,他从不以先知和预言家身份化身在我们眼前。看上去,他虽然形象高大,吟唱着海洋,死亡,和大地,命题宏大,但却又时刻与我们心手相连。也许这就是所谓的人与上帝间的直接交流吧。惠特曼在1856年版《草叶集》开头写下了如下经典名句,布鲁姆称其为 sudden gift of addressing the reader with an astonishing directness

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem.

惠特曼的美学力量完全是从个人角度出发的,它无关乎历史,无关乎神灵,只关乎我们每个人自己。而且,Walt is always passing us by, waiting somewhere up ahead. 我们会感觉到他在就在我们身旁,吟唱诗篇,而不是在高高处俯瞰众生。这种亲近,丝毫没有影响到他情感和力量的表达,因为惠特曼永远在我们前方不远处。

作者把惠特曼和梅尔维尔的比较,浓缩成了鲁克里娅(古罗马贞女)和诺斯替教(真知派)的比较。这个比方我还远未吃透,用布鲁姆自己的例子来说,[Lucretian] Whitman, ghostly father alike of Stevens and of Eliot, gloried that now and always he could send forth sunrise from himself,而反面的梅尔维尔,则正如其《白鲸》中主人公阿哈船长所言,“I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.” 同样是歌颂美国的人文精神,梅尔维尔作品中表现的如普罗米修斯般对自由的执着与追求,震撼人心,但布鲁姆更欣赏的是惠特曼的表现方法。这在如下两段话里可见一斑:Prophets do not heal; they exacerbate. I reread and teach Moby-Dick to uncover and appreciate the sublimity and the danger of American Promethean heroism. But several prolonged times when close to death, I have recited Whitman to myself as medicine. 还有这段:American Religionists, when I questioned them, frequently said that falling in love was affirming again Christ’s love for each of them. In such a labyrinth of idealizations I get lost, lacking the thread that might lead to an escape. Yet if our night journey is to meet an exit, we need the poet of our climate to cut it for us. Whitman stops somewhere waiting for us.

从文本的角度,惠特曼的字句也是极富魅力的。布鲁姆以《两头鹰的嬉戏》为例,给我们讲解了诗人是如何恋于使用不及物动词,并指出,在读诗的过程中秉持这种“不及物状态”才是上佳的。他说,Any strong poem, whether by Hopkins or Yeats, Bishop or Ashbery, eludes our drive to objectify it. 《两头鹰的嬉戏》是首短诗,只有十行,不到百字,五分之一都是动词,而它们几乎全为不及物。也就是说,诗中嬉戏的那两头鹰,羽翼翻飞间并没有明确指向确定的物体和方向,但通读下来,我们的感受却再具体不过。也许这与中国美学中的“留白”有着异曲同工之妙吧,往往在无所指的时候,我们才能领悟得更深,更远。而这种不及物和“留白”,也精妙地在诗者与读者间划了一段距离,引导我们看到更真挚的内在。距离不仅产生美,也会带来真实吧。布鲁姆说,We do not think of Walt as we recite this poem: What it celebrates and sings is not “myself” but the Lucretian way things are. 我依旧说不好这所谓鲁克里娅贞女式事物的内在具体为何物,但我知道,它的确是我们每个人在不懈追求自由和解放的过程中,心底里所需要的那部分安稳和温暖。

布鲁姆认为,伟大的文学应是一场盛宴而非历史本身,尤其在诗歌这种文体中,很多闪光的语句是很难从历史宏大视角去读解的。其实惠特曼也不精于此,他并不是一个通过让读者去认识和认知来传递伟大讯息的诗人,His still-undervalued art abides in nuance, indirection, gesture, subtle evasiveness, insinuation, ineluctable modalities of the visible, the signature of all things that he summons to us to come and see. 

惠特曼的诗篇往往还有惊艳的开头,这也是粗略读罢我很喜欢的一点。在这首《从这永不停息地摇摆着的摇蓝里》中,二十二行的铺陈——荒沙,原野,神秘的树影,悲鸣的小鸟——才引出吟诗者“我”,绵长悠远,舒展动人。《从巴门诺克开始》也当仁不让,经过了十三行的辗转,达科他的森林,尼亚加拉瀑布,慷慨好施的密苏里河 …… 我们才抵达 “Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World” 这强有力的呼喊。另一首《当我与生命之海一起退潮时》,“秋日的傍晚”,“沉思”和“向南凝望”的“我”出场之前,三句 As 和两句 Where 勾勒出了巴门诺克海岸上的卷卷浪潮和嘶嘶水声,让人身临其境。而悼念林肯总统的《曾忆丁香满庭时》的第二三节,在歌唱黑夜,歌唱星辰,歌唱盛开的花朵,歌唱每一片都是奇迹的叶子之后,惠特曼举重若轻地“折下带着花朵的一小枝”紫丁香,暗指巨星陨落,斯人已逝,唱出了极致的安详与深沉。

也罢,是时候再来重温这句惠特曼对读者说的话了:Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walk of dreams … … Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem. 我们还远未活到布鲁姆的年岁和高度,但一样可以体会,他问到如下字句时的心境:Who else has pursued me as Walt pursues?

八十四岁的老人自问自答来着:Shakespeare, whether in sonnets or onstatge, lets it be. Like Hamlet, he does not need our love.

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