鹿城读笔(二十二)

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RUGGED TIMES, by Lillian Ross

莉莉安·罗斯这篇简短的与《裸者与死者》的作者诺曼·梅勒的访谈对话,作者提到了小说大获成功后自己的感受,自己早期写小说的经历,和在他看来人们对他作品的某种误解;《裸者与死者》是以二战为背景,是美国战后第一本以此为题材的长篇小说作品,曾高踞畅销排行榜数月之久。它也是当时年仅二十五岁的诺曼·梅勒的第一部发表作品。

  • “Whenever I make an appearance,” he said, “I have thirty little girls crowding around asking for my autograph. I think it’s much better when people who read your book don’t know anything about you, even what you look like. I have refused to let Life photograph me. Getting you mug in the papers is one of the shameful ways of making a living, but there aren’t many ways of making a living that aren’t shameful … … “
  • Mailer has an uneasy feeling that Dostoevski and Tolstoy, between them, have written everything worth writing, but he nevertheless means to go on turning out novels. He thinks The Naked and the Dead must be a failure, because of the number of misintepretations of it that he has read. “… … The book finds man corrupted, confused to the point of helplessness, but it also finds that there are limits beyond which he cannot be pushed, and it finds that even in his corruption and sickness there are yearnings for a better world.”

GOSSIP WRITER, by St. Clair McKelway

沃尔特·温切尔是《镜报》一名“八卦作家”,圣克莱尔·麦凯尔维的这篇人物小传为我们生动记述了这名性格特别的奇人。

  • Winchell has written more words on the subject of friendship than any other modern gossip writer, but the people he calls his friends do not number more than seven or eight and most of these are new rather than old.
  • Winchell believes, with some justification, that practically everybody reads his column every day … … A friend of Winchell’s once admitted he had not seen the column on a certain Tuesday. Winchell wanted to know with sincere concern if the friend had been ill. Another time another friend returned to New York after a trip abroad. “Jeez, Walter,” he said, “I sure did miss the column. I didn’t see it for two whole weeks.” “That’s all right,” said Winchell. “You can go over to the Mirror office tomorrow and look at the files.”

GOETHE IN HOLLYWOOD, by Janet Flanner

珍妮特·弗兰那笔下六十岁的诺贝尔文学奖得主,移民到美国来(其实是政治避难)的德国作家托马斯·曼,她简要回顾了老人的家族生平,深邃的人格,两次战争中的政治和“非政治”立场,以及到美国后的生活,没有明显的立场倾向,而是满怀着对长者的深深敬意;托马斯·曼的首部长篇小说《布登波洛克一家》在他年仅二十六岁时发表,轰动一时,讲述了一个德国家族百年兴衰史,很多人难以想象这是一个初出茅庐的小年青所作。

  • It is not joke to say that the greatest study of Mann is Mann. One of his children has said it is difficult not to see his writings as “a complex of family allusions.” Unconsciously, the Mann children speak of their father as if he were an edition.
  • These young Manns, already politically prescient, begged their parents not to come home because they weather was bad. Mann naively replied that the weather was bad in Switzerland, too. Erika then alluded to some terrible house-cleaning ahead. It was probably Frau Mann who realized that the weather the young Manns had described was political and that the house-cleaning might be a purging of anti-Nazis. Mann and his wife never set foot in Germany again.
  • Since it was not a language he learned to read with ease when he was young, as he did French, which interests him less, Mann is today driven to revert, for his regular afternoon reading after his nap, to his favorites, the German classics. He reread Goethe’s Faust five times hand running to get himself into what he considered the correct modern equivalent of the eighteenth-century mood in which to start writing his three novels about Joseph of the Old Testaments days.
  • This position, which in three years has become legendary, he acquired partly because his proud racial character has served as a magnet to a company of compatriot refugees who, sick of being ashamed of their nationality, take comfort from the pride of this German author whom they may never have seen, from this German author whose books they may never have read.

FROM WITHIN TO WITHOUT, by Geoffrey T. Hellman

杰弗里·赫尔曼写建筑师勒·柯布西耶,笔风与先前沃尔特·温切尔和艾灵顿公爵的文章很像,充满了打趣和活泼跳跃的语言。艾灵顿公爵的那篇最积极向上,看不到什么负面评价,温切尔的则是对他的“恶”已经无可奈何,而这里,赫尔曼笔下的柯布西耶,虽然讥弄嘲讽的口吻更多,但角色也因此更加丰满,读到最后你也许会开始喜欢上这位可爱的老人。而这种感情,也正和柯布西耶在离开纽约的时候对这座城市的感情一样,又恨又爱。

  • He dismissed this idea when he discovered that the bandits had removed not only his money, the loss of which he was philosophical about, but also his notes and sketches, about which he was not. For a while, he toyed with the notion that his attackers might have been partisans of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, an institution whose architectural devotion to eclecticism he had derided in many articles and books, … …
  • Le Corbusier rarely relaxes. His face, mobile and animated when he is speaking, is tense even in repose. He loves to talk to people he feels are responsive. His voice is low, gentle, insistent, and musical; his characteristic expression is one of the intelligent observation. He thinks about architecture, or form and color in general, most of the time. Even when he is sitting on a beach, he manages to keep busy. He examines the architectural structure of pebbles, shells, and bits of wood. They often turn up in his paintings, though sometimes in rather abstract form. His interest in food is similarly professional; he especially admires the structure of melons, in which he sees no traces of a regrettable eclecticism. He also approves of bee cells, since bees, like himself, distinguish between the wall as an insulating factor and the wall as a supporting factor.
  • “This is a funny country,” he told an American friend one night recently. “Your hospitality is Draconian, and your convictions are too tied up with finance. Money is ferocious here. Your brutality turns sensitive people into Surrealists. But the country has an extra cipher in population and money — it is alive, and everything is possible in it. All life is poisoned by the disorderliness of your cities; people look like cockroaches from your skyscrapers, and, oh, the loneliness of your large crowds, the anonymity of your cafeterias! No terrasses de cafe here, where three or four friends can talk over an aperitif — not that I ever have time for this in Paris. I was astonished by the fact that Americans never climb stairs. They will lose their legs. I’m the only man here who climbs stairs two at a time. Your escalators are undignified. New York is a turntable where you meet everyone in the world. I often ride the Third Avenue ‘L’ at two in the morning, looking at all the Negresses and Chinese dead of fatigue. I like the light here. Paris is grey — it used to be white — and Zurich is greenish, but New York is a red city — the color of blood and life. Everything in it arouses both enthusiasm and disgust; it reflects God and the Devil. Its potentiality is terrific. Your sky at night is formidable. It’s terrible to soil it with General Motors and Lucky Strike publicity. The beauty of the sky should belong to the people. I like your restaurants, and the great freshness in young people here. And how can one be bored in a city in which the young women were crowns of flowers and in which the houses are red?”

THE GREAT FOREIGNER, by Niccolo Tucci

尼克·图琪的这篇可是大名鼎鼎的爱因斯坦。与前几篇不同的是,这并不是真正意义上的人物小传,而是一次对爱因斯坦家庭访问的记录。作者对爱因斯坦的了解也集中在这次拜访之中,而他和爱因斯坦本人潜在的地位“不平等”也因此传递到了我们读者眼里。当然,这并不妨碍我们进一步了解这位物理天才——尽管是从一种“类八卦”的窥探角度出发的。正如苏珊·奥尔良在导读里说的,四十年代的名人还相对活在公众视线之外,而阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦就更是如此,正因此这篇短文也格外珍贵和精彩。

  • Then we spoke about dreams. Bice told us two symbolic dreams she had had years ago; I told the dream that the grandfather of a friend of mine had had the day before he died; Einstein told an absurd dream of his. He seemed the only one to find the conversation interesting, which it was not.
  • “In the past,” said Einstein, “when man travelled by horse, he was never alone, never away from the measure of man, because” — he laughed — “well, the horse, you might say, is a human being; it belongs to man. And you could never take a horse apart, see how it works, then put it together again, while you can do this with automobiles, trains, airplanes, bicycles. Modern man is besieged by mechanics … … You can’t elect them, you can’t control them from below; their work is not of the type that may be improved by public criticism.”
  • ” … … The lack of tolerance is also connected with this, but much more with the fact that American communities were religious in their origin, and religion is by its very nature intolerant. This will also help you understand another seemingly strange contradiction. For example, you will find a far greater amount of tolerance in England than over here, where to be ‘different’ is almost a disgrace, for everyone, starting with schoolboys and up to the inhabitants of small towns. But you will find far more democracy over here than in England. That, also, is a fact.”

arty: 附庸风雅; necktie: 领带; grease: 油脂; layman: 外行; opulent:富裕的; allusion: 暗示; mon vieux: 朋友; aperitif: 开胃酒

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