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2019年12月06日 08:25:54来源:飞度报

Books and Arts; Book Review;Poetry and the first world war;Late starter;文艺;书评;诗歌与第一次世界大战;诗坛后起之秀;Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas. By Matthew Hollis.《如今条条大道通法国:爱德华·托马斯人生最后几年》,马修·霍利斯著。Edward Thomas was a late starter to poetry. “I couldnt write a poem to save my life,” he declared aged 35, when a “literary hack” of minor biographies and travel memoirs, struggling to support a wife and three children. A year later, and three years before he was killed by a passing shell in the Arras offensive in the first world war, he had written and published some of the finest poems to come out of Britain at the beginning of the 20th century.爱德华·托马斯在诗歌方面是一位后起之秀。“我没法靠写诗养家糊口 。”他在35岁时如是说。当时他是一位“受雇文人”,写一些短篇传记和游记,艰难地供养妻子和三个孩子。他在36岁时创作并发表了一些诗歌。在20世纪初的英国,他的这些诗作是最优秀的。又过了三年以后,他在第一次世界大战的阿拉斯战役中被炮弹击中,不幸身亡。What changed Thomas from a middling prose writer to a dazzling poet is the central theme of Matthew Holliss engaging new book, which won two awards for biography when it came out in Britain last year and is just now being published in America. Mr Hollis, a poet and editor, focuses on the last five years of Thomass life before he died in 1917.马修·霍利斯这本引人入胜的新书主要讲述托马斯是如何从一位普通的散文作家成为一位杰出诗人的,去年在英国问世时赢得了两项传记奖,眼下即将在美国出版。作者霍利斯既是诗人也是编辑,他主要描写了托马斯在1917年去世之前最后五年的生活。His book begins in London, where Thomas visits a new bookshop dedicated to poetry that had just opened in “shady Bloomsbury”. Around this shop circled the poets that made up literary London at that time: Ezra Pound, an American, who would greet startled visitors to his flat in a purple dressing gown; W.B. Yeats, an Irish poet and playwright who shunned newfangled electricity in favour of candlelight for his evening ings; and Rupert Brooke, a dashing young English poet, who would die a soldier in 1915 from an infection caught while stationed near Greece, and whose poetry sold 250,000 copies in the decade after his death.书中的故事从伦敦开始。在“树影婆娑的布鲁斯伯里”,托马斯来到了一家新开的书店(这里主要销售诗歌作品)。在书店的墙上,到处都是诗集——都出自当时伦敦文学界的主要诗人之手:其中包括美国诗人埃兹拉·庞德——他会穿着紫色的睡袍来接待公寓里的访客,让他们目瞪口呆;爱尔兰诗人兼剧作家 W.B. 叶芝——他在晚上读书的时候喜欢就着烛光,而不用新潮的电灯照明;以及风度翩翩的年轻英国诗人鲁伯特·布鲁克——他曾是一名士兵,1915年驻扎在希腊附近时受到感染,败血症发作身亡——而在他去世后的十年之内,他的诗集售出了25万册。Less glamorous or eccentric than these figures, Thomas was a prolific and occasionally acerbic book reviewer, six feet tall, “slim, loose-limbed and vigorous”, who struggled with near-suicidal depression. He had married while still an undergraduate at Oxford and his relationship with his wife Helen was a troubled one. He often spent time away on the long journeys needed for his travel books, such as the “The Icknield Way”.托马斯不像这些人那么有魅力,也不像他们那么特立独行。他是一位多产的书评家,笔触偶尔会有些尖刻。他身高六英尺,“身材瘦削,四肢柔软灵活,充满了活力”,一直在和极易导致自杀的抑郁症抗争。托马斯还在牛津大学就读时就结了婚,而他和妻子海伦的关系并不好。为了写《伊克尼尔德驿道》之类的游记,他常常出门作长途旅行。Mr Hollis is adept at evoking the atmosphere of the time, and at negotiating the complicated friendships and squabbles between these poets. But it is when Thomas meets Robert Frost, a “Yankee” poet determined to be published in Britain that his book comes to life. It was Frost—a stocky, quick-tempered figure—who persuaded Thomas to write poems, and who believed that “words exist in the mouth, not in books”. Once Thomas decided to write verse, he did so quickly. Spurred on by Frost, and by the oncoming threat of war, at one point he wrote nearly a poem a day, including his much loved “Adlestrop” with its “lazed, heat-filled atmosphere…of that last summer before the war”. Mr Hollis re-creates Thomass process of writing by comparing the differing drafts of his poems, giving life to his process of composition, and charting the correspondence between Thomas and Frost once the latter had moved back to America.霍利斯擅长营造时代氛围,也擅长描写那些诗人之间复杂的友谊和矛盾。但这本书真正生动的部分是在托马斯遇到罗伯特·弗罗斯特(一位决心在英国发表诗作的“美国佬”诗人)之后。正是这位身材敦实、脾气急躁的弗罗斯特劝说托马斯走上诗歌创作道路的,他还认为“语言存在于口齿之间,而不是在书本里面”。一旦托马斯决定写诗了,他很快就开始了创作。受到了弗罗斯特的鞭策,战争的威胁又隐隐逼近,曾经有段时间他几乎每天就写出一首诗——其中就有那首广为人们称道的《艾德稠普》,诗中描写了“战争爆发前的最后一个夏天……那慵懒、闷热的空气”。霍利斯比较了托马斯不同的诗稿,为这位诗人的创作过程赋予了生命,并记录了弗罗斯特回到美国后两人的通信情况。通过这些途径,霍利斯重现了托马斯的写作历程。In many ways, Thomas was a difficult, reticent figure, who was quite capable of signing off letters to his mother “Yours ever, Edward Thomas”. Even after he had enrolled in the Artists Rifles regiment, he remained painfully shy about his work, hiding his poetry among calculations on the trajectory of shells, or disguising it as prose. This may be one reason why Mr Hollis tends to address his subject formally throughout his book, frequently by his full name, and does not delve—beyond polite speculation—into the various extramarital romances Thomas may have had. Those who want such details will have to go elsewhere. Instead, Mr Hollis captures something far greater than a mans personal life, and far more elusive: the desire and struggle to write, even when you begin, as Thomas put it, “at 36 in the shade”.从很多方面来说,托马斯是一位寡言少语、不易相处的人。他在给母亲写信时,末尾处总是署上“您永远的儿子——爱德华·托马斯”。即使是在他加入艺术家兵团之后,他仍然极为羞涩,不愿将自己的作品公诸于众。他把诗作混在炮弹弹道测算纸里,或是伪装成散文。这或许能够从一个方面解释为什么霍利斯在写这本书时自始至终都郑重地论述主题,提到托马斯时常常以他的全名相称,而且并未探究托马斯可能有过的几段婚外恋——只是礼貌地进行了一些推测。想要了解此类细节的读者不得不去别的书中寻找了。而霍利斯所描绘的内容远比诗人的私生活重要,也更加难以捉摸,那就是:创作的欲望、创作的努力——正如托马斯所说,即使这个创作过程是从“36岁时在某片树荫下”开始的。 /201210/203927。

  • Books and Arts;America and Iran;Cloud computing;文艺;美伊问题;云计算;A Single Roll of the Dice: Obamas Diplomacy with Iran, by Trita Parsi.《孤注一掷:奥巴马的对伊政策》;特里塔·帕塞著;With dark rumours swirling of an attack on Irans nuclear programme, this new book by Trita Parsi is well-timed. The founder of the National Iranian American Council in Washington, DC, details American diplomacy with the Islamic Republic under Barack Obama. His analysis of the grim stalemate that has characterised relations between the Great Satan and the mullahs since 1979 is both absorbing and frustrating. It is a tale of missed opportunities, obduracy and short-sightedness, all which are pushing the Middle East towards greater instability.特里塔·帕塞新作的面世,伴随着针对伊朗核计划的漫天谣言,来的正是时候。作者曾创立了位于华盛顿特区的伊朗裔美国人全国理事会,在本书中,他详细阐述了奥巴马领导下的美国政府对伊斯兰共和国的外交路线。自1979年起,“大魔头”和“毛拉”之间的关系一直深陷僵局,作者对这一严峻状态的分析既引人入胜又令人沮丧,书中讲述了中东是如何因为错失良机、顽固执拗、目光短浅等缺点而一步步陷入更大的动荡之中。Under George Bush, Americas relationship with Iran festered. The two powers collaborated occasionally in Afghanistan, but with America driven by the premise that “we dont speak to evil”, detente was a distant possibility. America saw negotiations not as a tool of diplomacy but as a reward to be granted only to those states that had proved they were deserving of them. Iran, grouped with North Korea and Iraq as part of the “axis of evil”, was not.在乔治·布什领导期间,美伊关系交恶。两国曾在阿富汗事务上有过数次合作,但随着美国将“不与罪恶结交”作为外交前提,两国和解变得遥遥无期。对美国而言,协商不是一种外交手段,而是一个嘉奖,只有那些能明自己值得交往的国家才配和美国进行协商。作为和朝鲜、伊拉克为伍的“邪恶轴心国”,伊朗自然是不够格的。The inauguration of a new president who from the start promised the Muslim world respect and who offered the hand of American friendship to those willing to unclench their fist, prompted stirrings of hope, both in Iran and beyond, that this could be a new start. (Farsi speakers also noted that Obama means “He is with us”.)新任总统在参选之初就郑重保,将尊重穆斯林,并把美国的友好传达给所有愿意松开拳头的伊朗人。他的就职演讲给伊朗乃至整个穆斯林世界带来了一丝希望,新的开始仿佛就在眼前。(伊朗人还认为,奥巴马是“和我们站在一起的”)But the bitter mistrust that divides Iran and America, and the domestic considerations of leaders on both sides, eroded that initial optimism. Time and again in negotiations over Irans nuclear programme, America and its allies assumed Iranian duplicity and insincerity. For their part, the Iranians saw in Americas outstretched hand only the determination to snatch from their country its independence, rights and potential.然而仇视和不信任导致美伊两国决裂,加之双方领导人推行了一系列国内政策,这些都扑灭了尚在襁褓的希望之火。随着一次次对伊朗核计划的探讨,美国及其盟友们将伊朗视作伪善的骗子,而在伊朗看来,美国插手伊朗事务,就是为了剥夺他们的独立,权利和潜在的能力。Even during the deepest chill of the cold war, America and Russia found ways of talking. Today a frozen silence stretches from Tehran to Washington. “When you dont know whats going on, and you dont feel like you have somebody you can communicate with on the other side of the table, you are going to revert back to whats safe…and whats safe in the Iran context is demonization and just general negativity,” explains an American official.即便是在冷战最僵持的时期,美苏两国也曾设法进行沟通,而今,弥漫在伊朗和美国之间的是冰冷的沉默。“当你对现状毫无头绪,谈判桌上又话不投机,你就会退回到安全的状态,而在伊朗看来,所谓的安全状态就是将美国妖魔化,挑起大众的消极情绪。”一位美国官员如是解释。Irans reluctance to engage goes deeper: “Tehran cannot come to terms with Washington without risking an internal identity and legitimacy crisis.” Animosity towards America is written into the Islamic Republics DNA. If the relationship is restored, “we will dissolve ourselves,” admits Amir Mohebian, an Iranian conservative.伊朗的抵触情绪则日渐深重。“伊朗要重回谈判桌,就得冒着国家身份缺失和合法性危机的风险。”对美国的仇恨铭刻在伊斯兰共和国的血液里,伊朗保守派人士埃米尔·莫比安表示,一旦美伊关系恢复,“伊朗将会自我毁灭”。But diplomacy with Iran, maintains Mr Parsi, has never been pursued to the point of exhaustion. Look at Libya (before the recent uprising), Vietnam and Northern Ireland, he insists, and the painstaking years of quiet discussions with each of them. The talks between America and Iran, a few weeks here, a fortnight there, have never matched that. The approach has focused on the nuclear issue to the exclusion of all others, a take-it-or-leave-it attitude that has always been doomed. Negotiations such as these succeed not because the proposals are flawless or because both sides play fair, but “because the many flaws associated with the talks are overcome by the political will to reach a solution”.但帕塞表示,美方与伊朗的外交关系远没有走到尽头。他认为,和(暴动之前的)利比亚,越南和北爱尔兰,以及与它们多年痛苦而漫长的讨论协商相比,美伊两国间或进行的短期谈判绝对算不了什么。美伊接触的焦点一直围绕着核问题展开,回避了其他问题,双方态度也僵持在要么全盘接受,要么统统滚蛋的状态。而纵观那些成功的协商谈判,并不是因为提议有多么完美,或是谈判双方有多么公正,而是“因为希望解决问题的政治意愿克了谈判中出现的种种缺憾”。That political will, says Mr Parsi, has been absent. The mutual mistrust has left no margin for error. Neither has seen any domestic political benefit in pushing for a serious settlement. And now, with the tick-tocking of the nuclear clock growing ever more insistent, reconciliation looks less and less likely. The enmity between America and Iran, stoked by three decades of demonising each other, is no longer a phenomenon, concludes Mr Parsi. “It is an institution.”帕塞认为,美伊缺少的正是这种政治意愿。双方互不信任,因而无法容忍对方的任何过失,加之没有任何国内政治利益能推动美伊冲突得到切实解决。而现在,随着伊朗核武器的日渐面世,美伊和解的可能越来越小。30多年来,美伊两国相互攻击诋毁,两国间的敌对状态已经不再是一个现象,引用帕塞的话来说,“这已然是个习俗。” /201210/206565。
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