鹿城读笔(九)

艾米莉·狄金森是本书十二位“恶魔”中唯一一位女性,她在生前几乎过着隐士一般的生活,死后人们通过她的千余篇诗稿才开始惊诧于这名女子的才华。如果你翻开《The Daemon Knows》的目录,想一扫作者是如何选章编排的,你会发现只有 Emily Dickinson 一人的名字下面没有任何其他子标题和章节名称,是布鲁姆想说的能说的不多所以不必划分章节,还是他想说的能说的太多了以至于难以概括成简单的几个词汇。

我估摸着还是前者的可能性更大一点。布鲁姆一上来自己就坦白了:The long experience of teaching Dickinson has been sublimely exhausting: She is the most rewardingly difficult of American poets. 据他的一位导师回忆,每一次布鲁姆讲完狄金森,都会头疼不已。然而作者自己也承认,尽管如此,他如今每一次讲完狄金森后心灵上的震动,和他六十年前第一次授她的课没什么两样。

天才的定义有许多,每个人也有每个人的喜好,但我们仍然可以大胆地拍着胸脯说,狄金森是美国文学史上一位不折不扣的异类。这种感觉不需要通过读太多她的诗来证明,短短四五篇下来,你的感受就会十分强烈了。她的诗句通常都很短,毫不拖泥带水,而且段落间经常会附着短破折号,好像乐谱上的延长音符一样,定眼一看又觉得纸面上的短句是不是会随着这一缕缕横线飞跃起来。尤其是在受过惠特曼诗篇的熏陶之后,狄金森无疑能给你带来一股别样的清爽,甚至有点瑟瑟发抖的凉气。

狄金森的诗句里带有一种鬼魅的诗意——如果我们依然称其是一种诗意的话(诗歌当然无须一定要有诗意)。布鲁姆在评论她的名篇《有那么一道斜光》时说到,全篇用的都是现在时态,可你感受到的却是彻头彻尾的过去。这种幻觉在莎士比亚中也会读到,他说,Shakespeare dramatizes presence, fullness of being now. Of all lyric poets in the language, Dickinson is closest to him. Pathos is the daemon, and personality creates itself through theatricality. 

狄金森和莎士比亚之间可以作比的远不止这些,在她的诗句中能读到和莎翁一样的对自我的拷问,然而需要留心的是,狄金森的诗歌却全不是关于她自己的——这与惠特曼的完全以自我为诗并高声歌唱自我大相径庭。而想必狄金森文字力量也正来自于此。她对自己的字句有着不由分说和确凿而有力的自信,她不会去考虑更别说去迎合读者的想法。我们也很难从她的生平经历去附会和推断出些什么,狄金森的个人生活极为神秘,从她的书信里,很难找到额外的线索,你甚至会以为和诗句中的那个“我”(如果她确曾出现在自己的诗里的话)是两个人。所有的这些,与莎士比亚又是何等的相似。

也难怪总是头疼的布鲁姆这样劝我们:The first principle of confronting and reading Dickinson is akin to what Whitman forces us to accept his poetry: self-conscious, self-affirmative aggressivity against Western literary tradition. Dickinson conceals her furious vitalism beneath a mask of elegant good manners and modesty, but that clearly belies her actual stance of energetic self-reliance. I would argue that she goes beyond Whitman in her aggressive assertion of her own poetic authority and accomplishment. 

说句玩笑话,都说惠特曼把他的手放在你手上的时候,你便成为了他的诗。如果狄金森也做出同样的举动(当然我想这几乎不可能),不好意思,你还是你,她还是她。布鲁姆也说,狄金森和惠特曼,这两位美国最伟大的诗人,都成功抵达了 “the place of the daemon”,但是,他们是从两个全然不同的大门走进去的。

八十四岁的布鲁姆在摘选和品读狄金森的时候一定是饱含深情的。文中多次提到了他已逝去的故友,字里行间充满了岁月和淡淡伤悲。我想,如果布鲁姆是要借这本《The Daemon Knows》来给自己的八十年岁画一个坐标的话,那么上述这种情怀被搁放在讲狄金森的这一章中无疑是再好不过了。她诗句中“你是你,我是我”的那般距离感,在这里倒成了最好的感情容器。布鲁姆说,As losses accumulate, I return often to Dickinson, not for consolation but plainly to propound the costs that confirm aesthetic contemplation. 而作为一位经常拿死亡和不朽作主题的诗者(另一位是惠特曼),布鲁姆把狄金森(而非惠特曼)当作是和他一样看清了什么才是死亡的那个知心人。Love is stronger than death in the Song of Songs; Dickinson is more wistful. She does not entertain anything like Henry James’s fascination with ghostly phenomena, and she shares Emerson’s rejection: “Other world! there is no other world. Here or nowhere is the whole fact.”

作者在一大段穿插了艾略特,叶芝和爱默生的议论中不经意间提到了一位叫 Robert Warren 的好友,他们是忘年之交,通过诗歌和书信相识,而祖孙三代依然保持着联系。布鲁姆说从他身上学到了时光的真正涵义。我个人觉得,这段不长却又深情满满的文字,是本书目前为止所有类似追忆中最精彩的一段。在结尾处布鲁姆是这么说的:

I learned from “Red” Warren as I have from only a few others — Gershom Scholem, M.H. Abrams, Fredrick Pottle — a distrust of my own daemon, or, rather, the necessity of standing apart from it without repudiating the energies upon which I relied. We learned face-to-face, kindled by immediacy. Reading Dickinson yields a similar gnosis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.