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J.D.Salinger 他的人生是他最后收工的作品: 塞林格

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Obituary
逝者

J.D. Salinger
J.D.塞林格

Feb 4th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

Jerome David Salinger, writer, died on January 28th, aged 91

杰罗姆·大卫·塞林格,作家,于1月28日逝世,享年91岁

PEOPLE kept sneaking year after year to the place on the hill in Cornish, New Hampshire, but the Great American Writer was almost never seen. Ageing rebels, second-year_master’s students with lacquered nails, broad-shouldered phonies in Norfolk jackets, snappers from Newsweek, all approached the cringing, little house where he had lived, or battened down, or holed up—you, general reader, can choose the word you please—ever since a great wave of fame had broken over him in 1953, two years after he happened to write a book called “The Catcher in the Rye”.

新罕布什尔州的科尼什的一座小山上的一处地方——一年又一年,不断会有人潜行至此,但是那位美国大作家却总是不得一见。这些人当中有上了年纪的愤青,有涂着指甲油的二年级研究生,有穿着诺福克上衣宽肩膀的装酷男,有《新闻周刊》的摄影记者;他们都接近了那个拒外的小房子,那是他居住的地方,或者说是他自我封闭的地方,或说是自我囚禁之所——读者你们可以选择自己喜欢的词来形容——自那股巨浪般的盛名突然向他砸来之后,他就住到了那里,那是1953年;在那两年之前,他恰巧写了一本书,书名叫作《麦田里的守望者》。

They caught a glimpse of him sometimes, with his haughty head, angular and bug-eyed, getting groceries in the village; but he gave them the slip almost always. The truth of it was that though his book might be on all the syllabuses, picked over by the academicians, hailed as the authentic voice of every teenager who had ever squeezed a pimple or tried, drawing himself up tall, to order a Scotch and soda, his life was nobody’s godammed business. If his dream was to live in the woods, with a fireplace and a typewriter and sheaves of notes hooked on the wall, almost like a deaf-mute in his dealings with the world, that was his affair.

他在村里的杂货店买东西时,他们有时会捕捉到他的身影——头上昂,脸颊棱角分明,眼睛大如牛;但是他几乎总是摆脱得掉他们。他避人的真正缘由在于——尽管他的书可能在所有由教育专家精挑细选出的学校必读书单上(被誉为道出了所有少年的心声(只要这些十来岁的小孩曾经挤过或是试着挤过青春痘,只要曾经为了点一杯加苏打的威士忌而使劲拉长身子以显得更高))——他的生活和他妈的别人无关。他的生活是住在树林中,屋里有壁炉,桌上有打字机,墙上挂着成捆的笔记,几乎像聋哑人一样与世界打交道——如果这是他梦想的生活的话。

He was not just away in Cornish, he was also above. (The italics were his own.) From above, Holden Caulfield, the hero of “Catcher”, first entered his story to look down on the distant football game between Saxon Hall and Pencey Prep, all those little running figures of whom he was not one, because he was outside and expelled. The writer who truly lived for his art—who made it, as Mr Salinger did, his religion, along with Vedanta and Zen and the Tao—did not descend and did not integrate. He defended until death, or non-publication, the sanctity of his words. A writer asked to discuss his craft ought just to jump up and declaim, de haut en bas, the names of Flaubert, Tolstoy, Blake, Coleridge, Proust, James. And admit that after Melville there had been no really good American writer until—Salinger.

住在科尼什的他不只是在[尘世的]远处,而且是在高处。(斜体字引自他自己的话。)同样是在高处,《麦田》的主人公霍尔顿·考菲尔德首次登场,俯看远处的橄榄球比赛,对阵双方是萨克逊·霍尔中学和潘西中学,那些跑动的微小身影中没有他,他是局外者,他被开除了。真正为艺术而生的作家——这些人把艺术变成自己的宗教,就像塞林格所做的那样;除了艺术,塞林格的宗教还有吠檀多,还有禅,还有道——不会选择屈尊向下,不会选择妥协融合。塞林格至死都在捍卫自己作品的神圣纯粹,或者干脆不发表。作为一个作家,如果有人要你谈谈自己的写作技巧,你只要跳起来,居高临下地大声喊出这些作家的名字:福楼拜,托尔斯泰,布莱克,柯勒律治,普鲁斯特,詹姆斯。并且要承认在梅尔维尔之后,美国还没有真正好的作家——直到塞林格的出现。

But that—wait—was not necessarily the name he answered to. In his short stories, a scant three dozen of them, rounding off the whole oeuvre, he gradually took the name and voice of Buddy Glass, a fortyish and paunchy short-story writer who had ended up in an English Department. And Glass in turn wrote obsessively, devotedly, as if of some plaster saint, about his elder brother Seymour, his Literary Ideal. Buddy was the working-writer Salinger, the man who had laboured in 1939-43 to get stuff into Esquire and the Saturday Evening Post, while all the time disdaining those slicks and lusting after the New Yorker—which, in 1948, took him into its embrace. But Seymour was “all real things to us: our blue-striped unicorn, our doublelensed burning glass, our consultant genius, our portable conscience…our one full poet.” He would open the door, blow “three or four or five unquestionably sweet and expert notes on a cornet”—and then disappear.

等一下,上面这些名字不全然是他膜拜呼应的对象。在他的短篇小说里(一共写了为数不多的三十几篇,和其它作品一块儿组成了他的全部作品),他慢慢开始借用巴蒂·格拉斯的名字和声音来说自己的话,这是一个四十来岁、大腹便便的短篇小说作家,最后沦为一名大学英语系教师。而格拉斯则好像圣人附体一般、痴迷专注地写他哥哥西摩——他的文学理想。巴蒂是那个以写作为职业的塞林格,是那个在1939-1943年间笔耕不辍只为把自己写的东西弄到《君子》杂志和《周六晚邮报》上的那个人,但在1948年被《纽约客》揽入怀抱之后便开始且始终如一地厌恶那些亮丽无实、奢欲横流的报刊。但是西摩“对于我们来说则是全部的真实:他是我们的蓝带独角兽,我们的复式凸透镜,我们的天才咨询师,我们的是非活手册……我们唯一的大诗人。” 他会推开门,“在短号上吹出三个、四个或者五个音符,悦耳且专业那是自不用说”——然后消失掉。

On the cliff-edge

在悬崖边

In time the Glass family thoroughly eclipsed the Salingers in the mind of the man in Cornish. But they were often the same. He too was “of part-Jewish, part-Irish, and conceivably part-Minotaur extraction”, brought up comfortably on the upper West Side with bellhops and cab-rides to Macy’s, and educated in schools like Pencey Prep. There, in Holden Caulfield mode, he failed to apply himself in almost everything except English composition; and so, although icily sardonic in conversation and convinced he would be a “superlative” writer, he never made the Ivy League. That hurt all his life.

最终,在这位科尼什居者的心中,格拉斯家族的光芒完全盖过了塞林格一家。但是两者之间时常有重合。塞林格同样是“一部分犹太血统,一部分爱尔兰血统,还看得出有部分弥诺陶洛斯血统”,他在曼哈顿上西城无忧无虑地长大,那里有到Macy’s百货商店的出租车,会有服务生帮着搬行李。他进了和潘西中学一样的学校。在那里,他和霍尔顿·考菲尔德无出二辙,除了英语作文之外几乎什么都不行;于是,尽管在与人交谈时会带有不友善的讽刺,尽管确信自己会成为一个“最棒的”作家,他最终却没有迈进常春藤盟校。他一辈子都对此耿耿于怀。

Salinger or Glass, he lived on his nerves. After his war service he could feel his mind teeter like insecure luggage and his fingers bump together, his f-a-c-u-l-t-i-e-s not intact. In the opinion of some lofty experts they never quite cohered again. Hence his hatred of photographs, blurbs, potted biographies and all else that might besmirch the plainness of a book-jacket—as well as the increasing weirdness of the work, thousands upon thousands of words about Seymour which both laboured to idolise and failed to describe, culminating in 1965 in “his” letter from summer camp, “Hapworth 16, 1924” in the ever- and over-indulgent New Yorker.

无论是作为塞林格,还是格拉斯,他的神经总是与紧张相伴。从战场归来后,他会感觉心总是晃晃悠悠的,就像[行李架上]没有放稳的行李,他的手指会相互碰撞打架,他的湿—嗯——西—阴受损了。在某些玄虚的专家看来,他们没有再完全融洽统一过。于是就有了他对于书皮上的照片、宣传推荐语、简短肤浅的作者介绍以及其它可能会玷污其朴实品性内容的憎恶——其作品的愈加怪异就更不用说了:动用千言万语描写西摩只为表达无限崇拜之情,却未能给出一个清晰的人物轮廓。这种絮语式作品的顶峰是1965年“他”从夏令营寄来的信——《哈普沃思16,1924》,发表在对其一贯纵容且过分纵容的《纽约客》杂志上。

Perhaps, said the hacks to the paparazzi as they climbed the hill again, it had all been hype; apart from a hawk-sharp ear for dialogue, and a keen, tender eye for the tricksiness of children, he had never shown half as much literary talent as talent for publicity-by-intrigue. There were said to be unpublished manuscripts in his safe; most pundits were happy to wait.

也许都是宣传的噱头(小报作者这么告诉帕帕垃圾,于是帕帕垃圾带着新目的再次上山);除了一对能从对话当中捕捉到精彩的灵敏耳朵,除了两行投向淘气顽童敏锐且温暖的目光,他显示出的文学才华还不及自我宣传才能的一半。据说,在他的保险箱中存有尚未发行的手稿;塞林格迷们大都在乐观等待,认为手稿总有现天日的那天。

What they did not always realise, as their cars left tyre-ruts on his property, was exactly what Mr Salinger had been doing there. He said he wrote just for himself; but he was also “the most terrific liar”. As Holden Caulfield, he had famously seen himself on the edge of “some crazy cliff”, watching thousands of children at play in a big field of rye, and “What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff.” Eight years later the idea recurred as he wrote “Seymour: An Introduction”. He felt he was “removing, at least for a minute or two, all the detonators from all the bombs in this bloody world.”

但是,当他们把轮胎印留在他的“领地”上的同时,他们并不总是搞得懂塞林格到底在那儿做着什么。他说他只为自己写作;但是他同时也是“最会撒谎的人”。作为霍尔顿·考菲尔德,他看见了自己的理想状态:站在“那混账的悬崖边”,看着在一大片麦田里玩耍的上千个孩子,“我要做的就是守望,如果有哪个孩子朝悬崖处来,我就要把它捉住。” 八年后,在他写作《西摩:小传》时,这种想法再次浮现。他觉得他正在“拆除这个混账世界里所有炸弹上的所有雷管,至少也会拆个一两分钟。”

Not ignoring it, then; not hiding from it; frankly, if you believed him, saving it.

那么,就不要对这个世界置之不理;也不要对其避之恐不及;坦率说,如果你信他的,就伸出援手吧。



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