2016年6月16日 星期四

John Updike: More Matter: Essays and Criticism, Rabbit Angstrom , Man in the Middle / Roger's Version 罗杰教授的版本/JUST LOOKING/ Always Looking: Essays on Art. By J...


“It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.” 
― from "My Father's Tears" by John Updike

Everyman's Library
John Hoyer Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on this day in 1932.
“You’re not in Baltimore now, Joan,” Miss Fritz said.
“You are in Olinger, Pennsylvania.”
--from "Olinger Stories" by John Updike
In an interview, Updike once said, "If I had to give anybody one book of me, it would be the Olinger Stories." These stories were originally published in The New Yorker and then in various collections before Vintage first put them together in one volume in 1964, as a paperback original. They follow the life of one character from the age of ten through manhood, in the small Pennsylvania town of Olinger (pronounced, according to Updike, with a long O and a hard G), which was loosely based on Updike's own hometown. "All the stories draw from the same autobiographical well," Updike explained, "the only child, the small town, the grandparental home, the move in adolescence to a farm." The selection was made and arranged by Updike himself, and was prefaced by a lovely 1,400-word essay by the author that has never been reprinted in full elsewhere until now. READ an excerpt here: http://knopfdoubleday.com/book/240437/olinger-stories/




JUST LOOKING/ Always Looking: Essays on Art. By J...


More Matter: Essays and Criticism - John Updike - Google Books

books.google.com › Literary CollectionsEssays
In this collection of nonfiction pieces, John Updike gathers his responses to nearly two hundred invitations into print, each “an opportunity to make something ...幾乎可讀全文

 ......COMPANIONS, IN THE HUNT FOR THE ELUSIVE mot juste, AND THE FEARSOME PHRASE MAUVAISE


罗杰教授的版本
原作名: Roger's Version
作者: 约翰·厄普代克
译者: 刘涓 / 李海鹏
出版社: 河南人民出版社
出版年: 2000
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1st edition (publ. Knopf)
Roger's Version is a 1986 novel by John Updike about Roger Lambert, a theology professor in his fifties, whose rather complacent faith is challenged by Dale, an evangelical graduate student who believes he can prove that God exists with computer science. Roger becomes obsessed with the thought that Dale is having an affair with his wife, Esther, although it remains ambiguous whether this affair takes place. Roger himself becomes involved with his niece Verna, a coarse but lively nineteen year old and single parent whose own mother (Roger's half sister) had a sexual hold over him when they were in their teens. Verna, frustrated by her poverty and limited opportunities, becomes increasingly abusive towards her one and a half year old, mixed-race daughter, Paula. Roger, out of sympathy for her situation and his increasing sexual attraction for her, begins to tutor Verna so she can earn her high school equivalency. One evening, when Paula refuses to go to sleep, Verna shoves and hits her; Paula falls and breaks her leg. Roger, after helping Verna disguise the assault as a playground accident from the hospital staff, has sex with her. The novel ends with Verna leaving Boston to return to her parents in Cleveland and Roger and Esther receiving temporary custody of Paula.
There are frequent popular culture references throughout the novel, particularly to the popular music singer Cyndi Lauper who is much admired by Verna and Richie, Roger and Esther's twelve-year-old son.[citation needed]

Major themes

The novel's structure, characters and themes are based somewhat on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.




厄普代克小說中的「居中之人」


當漫長的選舉之夜開始時,所有人的目光都緊盯着那些搖擺州。有幾個搖擺州在東岸(佛羅里達和弗吉尼亞),另外幾個則在西部(科羅拉多和內華達)。在大多數情況下,這些州的選舉結果取決於選舉人團的票數。
然而,在大選的中心“戰場”——俄亥俄、愛荷華、賓夕法尼亞和威斯康辛——選票的計算要更為複雜。雖然這些州的人口結構並不十分多樣化,卻總是能產 生出數量最多的“獨立選民”。這些選民常被稱為美國國民性格之典範——他們勤儉顧家,信仰虔誠,更重要的一點,還是男性白人新教徒。這些人都是後工業時代 里美國社會的普通一員,被約翰·厄普代克(John Updike)在《兔子歸來》(Rabbit Redux)中稱之為“居中派”(man in the middle)。這部小說出版於1971年,故事發生在1969年,既是查帕奎迪克島醜聞和美國登月那一年,也是尼克松上台執政的開端。儘管這部小說表面 上似乎與政治毫無瓜葛,但其實它是極具啟發性和預見性的現代政治小說。
《兔子歸來》里既沒有競選者和選戰,也沒有政治煽動和選區政客。它與《國王班底》(All the King’s Men)和《最後的歡呼》(The Last Hurrah)完全不同。相反,厄普代克的主題是日常生活的政治化。小說的主人公出身工人階級,住在賓夕法尼亞州一個虛構的城市(小說中叫布魯厄市,其實 是雷丁市)。他過去所熟知的世界,是平靜寧和的小區,“人們砰地關上家門,體育比賽又開始了”,而“戰爭只在大洋對岸發生,所以他能夠在這樣的幸福中度 日”。然而,他感覺到這個世界正在發生改變,甚至每天都有所不同,而自己卻對此束手無策。
“我才不關心什麼政治,”哈利·安斯特羅姆(Harry Angstrom,“兔子”是他在高中棒球隊的綽號)有次在飯桌上和人吵架時堅持說,“這是我們美國人操蛋的寶貴權利。”然而,當話題轉到他衷心支持的越 南戰爭時,他又變得怒不可遏。“美國的行為不能簡單地用權力來解釋,它有着不可思議的影響,就像是上帝的代言人,”他深信,“美國在哪裡,哪裡就有自由, 哪裡沒有美國,瘋狂就會帶着鐵鏈統治一切,黑暗就會絞殺成千上萬的人。”他故意在車上貼了一面國旗,這個舉動對他而言,其象徵意義不亞於阿波羅11號的宇 航員把國旗插上月球。 在《兔子歸來》中,登月與晚間新聞里的水災畫面被放在一起重播:“越南的死亡人數,某地發生的種族暴亂。”厄普代克並非簡單地記錄這些事實。他要把它們提 升為一種關乎社會的現實主義詩歌,那是約翰·多斯·帕索斯(John Dos Passos)在T·S·艾略特(T. S. Eliot)或華萊士·史蒂文森(Wallace Stevens)的幫助下有可能會寫出的詩:“下午四點整,臉色蒼白的工人們如幽靈般走出那個小型印刷廠。他們一個勁地眨巴着眼睛,戶外的光線太強,在室 內呆久了,要有個適應的過程。”這是小說的開頭。厄普代克用他著名的點畫派手法,還原了一副死氣沉沉的城市景象:“那一排排的房子都差不多的樣子,區別只 是它們各自簡陋的外壁板,上面污跡斑斑,以及一個個看似溫馨的小門廊,裝着交錯的架子和放擱奶瓶的灰色木箱,還有就是一棵棵被熏黑的銀杏樹和停在路邊被太 陽炙烤的汽車。”哈利,這個落魄蒼白的男人,曾在“維真”(Verity,真實性——譯註)印刷廠當排版工。那時,“維真”和所有那些支撐着美國“鐵鏽 帶”(Rust Belt,指美國中西部和東部的那些以重工業和製造業為經濟基礎的州——譯註)的道德真理一起,正在走向衰敗。
有個人對雷丁-布魯厄(Reading-Brewer)很熟悉,那就是曾任《雷丁雄鷹報》的新聞主編小約翰·D·福萊斯特(John D. Forester Jr.)。1969年他正在編輯部任職,認識當時在報社做送稿生的厄普代克。厄普代克當時還不滿二十歲,負責把新聞故事和照片存檔,這份工作使他能夠追蹤 這個城市變化的腳步。福萊斯特在一封郵件里告訴我,哈利·安斯特羅姆的岳父名下的車行是“真實存在的,就在蘭卡斯特大街,當時那一條街都是生意興隆的大型 汽車營銷店,兩邊則是工廠,以及一個叫密爾蒙特的藍領居民區”。他還告訴我,現在這條大街上“到處都是空展廳,還有幾處空地和廢棄的工廠”。
安斯特羅姆一家的父子兩代都是後來所謂“里根式民主黨人”的先驅。厄爾早年曾受益於“羅斯福新政”和“偉大社會”的改革,對聯邦醫療保險深信不疑。 “我從66年就一直在付錢,它就像壓在我胸口的一塊大石頭,”他在下班後一邊喝着施樂滋酒,一邊跟兒子說,“現在,我們再也不用為醫藥費擔心了。他們在書 里用各種髒話去罵約翰遜總統,但相信我,他確實給窮人做了許多好事。”
“兔子”也是一個忠誠的民主黨人。“我是個保守派,”他在犯罪現場告訴警察,“我把票投給了休伯特·漢弗萊(Hubert Humphrey)。”今天,說民主黨是保守派似乎不恰當,但當時厄普代克卻沒說錯。1968年,漢弗萊的確在雷丁得了多數選票。“當時在這個城市註冊的 主要是民主黨人,”福萊斯特指出,但隨即補充說,“這裡典型的民主黨人可能換到任何別的地方就變成了共和黨。”
然而,“兔子”的政治傾向卻因為種族問題而變得愈發複雜。在他乘車去郊區住宅時,他注意到“巴士上有太多黑人”。當然,“他們一直都在這兒”。事實 上,即使是在1969年,黑人也只佔雷丁人口的6.6%。但在“兔子”看來,他們是“異族”入侵者。在當年布魯厄市中心的大街上,非裔美國人並不那麼惹 眼,當他從這些人身邊經過時,他們對他“只是瞅瞅”。但現在不同了,他遇到的非裔美國人似乎認為他們和他一樣,都是這個城市的主人。
當“維真”從鉛字印刷轉型為膠版印刷,很多員工丟掉了飯碗,其中就包括哈利。“我們只要留下一些人操作計算機的磁帶就行,”老闆解釋道,“我們已經 跟工會達成協議了。”厄爾·安斯特羅姆因為資格老,所以無需擔心,但他兒子就不一樣了。老闆本來更想解僱一個美國黑人,但“這樣一來,市裡的公益機構就會 找我們算賬”。其實,哈利在這個崗位上幹了十年,這已經是恩惠了——這裡的隱情是,工會有照顧職工子弟的傳統,當時是他父親為他爭取到了這份工作。
在“兔子”居住的郊區,還存在進一步分化的擔憂。哈利有個鄰居是越戰老兵,被安斯特羅姆家的事情攪得心神不安。他帶着威脅的口吻責備說,“這可是個 講規矩的白人區。”而另一個社會經濟地位更高的鄰居——“我是搞計算機的,做硬件端的”——則說得更為平和。“是不是白人區並不重要,我們歡迎自尊自愛的 黑人家庭。我上學那會兒都是和黑人同校的,我每天都跟黑人一起工作。”人們的口頭禪都或多或少有了變化,但這些情緒卻沒有改變。在今年總統競選時,我們就 感受到了這一點。
約翰·厄普代克在2008年大選日的前一周來《紐約時報》做客。我問他,“兔子”安斯特羅姆最有可能把票投給誰?“我非常支持奧巴馬,”厄普代克 說,“我不可能讓我筆下的人物不選他。”然而,在《兔子安息》(Rabbit at Rest)中——這是“兔子”系列的最後一部,以主人公的死亡結尾——我們發現“兔子”把最後的選票投給了喬治·W·布殊。當我向厄普代克提醒這一點時, 他看起來非常震驚。但是,他對2008年的判斷是對的,那一年奧巴馬贏得了雷丁的多數選票,11月6號他再次在雷丁大獲全勝。最後的得票統計,約翰·福萊 斯特(John Forester)說,“奧巴馬得17,248票,羅姆尼是3740。”選票數為何能相差如此懸殊?因為這個城市的人口有所變化,雖然這變化與“兔子”當 初預測的不太一樣。現在西裔人口佔到近60%。“兔子”早已不像當年那麼狹隘,他也許會對這種變化坦然接受,就像他在1969年那樣。“我愛我的祖國,” 他信誓旦旦地說,“無法容忍它失敗,”哪怕現在的美國已經不再是他當初認識的模樣。
本文作者山姆· 湯恩豪斯(Sam Tanenhaus)是《紐約時報》“書評版”的主編。
本文最初發表於2012年11月18日。
翻譯:但漢松


Man in the Middle


It's the long election night began to take shape, all eyes remained fixed on the swing states. Some were on the Eastern Seaboard (Florida, Virginia), others in the West (Colorado, Nevada). In most cases the outcome hinged on the marshaling of dependable blocs of voters.
But in the heartland “battlegrounds” — Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin — the calculation seemed more complicated. The populations in these states are not especially diverse, but they seem, time and again, to yield the richest harvest of “independent voters,” so often depicted as paragons of the national character — thrifty, family-­oriented, churchgoing — especially if they are white males of Protestant stock, each an Everyman caught in the tangle of post­industrial America, a “man in the middle,” as John Updike puts it in “Rabbit Redux.” Published in 1971 and set in 1969 — the year of Chappaquiddick and the moon landing, the beginning of Richard Nixon’s presidency — it remains the most illuminating and prophetic of modern political novels, though on the surface it seems not about politics at all.
There are no candidates or campaigns in “Rabbit Redux,” no demagogues or ward bosses. It bears no resemblance to “All the King’s Men” or “The Last Hurrah.” Updike’s subject is instead the politicization of everyday life. The novel’s working-class hero, an imagined inhabitant of Reading, Pa. — called Brewer in the novel — senses that the world he had known, of placid neighborhoods where “the doors would slam and the games begin again,” with “a war being fought across oceans just so he could spin out his days in such happiness,” is changing, almost daily, and he’s powerless to stop it.
“I don’t think about politics,” Harry Angstrom (nicknamed Rabbit in his high school basketball days) insists during a mealtime quarrel. “That’s one of my Goddam precious American rights.” But he becomes apoplectic when the topic is the Vietnam War, which he supports with a worshipper’s faith. “America is beyond power, it acts as in a dream, as a face of God,” he believes. “Wherever America is, there is freedom, and wherever America is not, madness rules with chains, darkness strangles millions.” He defiantly puts a flag decal on his car, as potent a symbol to him as the flag the Apollo 11 astronauts plant on the moon.

The moon landing is replayed in the pages of “Rabbit Redux” among the flooding images of the nightly news: “Vietnam death count, race riots probably somewhere.” Updike doesn’t simply record all these facts. He elevates them through a kind of social realist poetry, what John Dos Passos might have written if he had the help of T. S. Eliot or Wallace Stevens: “Men emerge pale from the little printing plant at four sharp, ghosts for an instant, blinking, until the outdoor light overcomes the look of constant indoor light clinging to them,” the novel begins, Updike’s celebrated pointillism refreshing a moribund cityscape: “The row houses differentiated by speckled bastard sidings and the hopeful small porches with their jigsaw brackets and gray milk-bottle boxes and the sooty ginkgo trees and the baking curbside cars.” Harry, one of the lumpen pale men, works as a linotypist at Verity Press at a time when Verity and all the moral verities that undergird Rust Belt America seem to be corroding.
Someone well acquainted with Reading-Brewer is John D. Forester Jr., news editor of The Reading Eagle. He was on its staff in 1969 and got to know Updike, who in his teens had been a copy boy at the paper and had since kept up with the city’s changes, filing stories and photos in the archive he kept. The car dealership owned by Harry Angstrom’s father-in-law is “in real life, Lancaster Avenue, which was lined in those days with large, successful dealerships and flanked by factories and a blue-collar neighborhood called Millmont,” Forester told me in an e-mail, adding that now the avenue is full of “empty showrooms, a smattering of vacant lots and empty factories.”
The Angstroms, father and son, are forerunners of those who would later be called Reagan Democrats. Earl, rescued first by the New Deal and then by the Great Society, swears by Medicare. “I’ve been paying in since ’66, it’s like a ton of anxiety rolled off my chest,” he tells his son over a Schlitz after work. “There’s no medical expense can break us now. They called L.B.J. every name in the book but believe me he did a lot of good for the little man.”
Rabbit too is a loyal Democrat. “I’m a conservative,” he tells a policeman at a crime scene. “I voted for Hubert Humphrey.” Today the formulation seems off-key. But Updike got it right. Humphrey indeed carried Reading in 1968. “The city in those days was largely Democrat in registration,” Forester pointed out, though he added, “the typical Democrat here would be a Republican anywhere else.”
But Rabbit’s politics are getting complicated, because of race. “The bus has too many Negroes,” he observes on the ride to his suburban tract house. “They’ve been here all along,” of course. And in fact, even in 1969, they made up only 6.6 percent of Reading’s population. But to Rabbit they seem a “strange race” of invaders. Unlike the African-Americans who were once half-invisible on Brewer’s downtown streets, who “ just looked” when he walked by, those he meets now seem to think the city belongs to them no less than to him.
When Verity switches over from hot type to offset, jobs will be lost, including Harry’s. “We can keep a few men on, retrain them to the computer tape,” the boss explains. “We’ve worked the deal out with the union.” Under seniority provisions, Earl Angstrom is safe, but his son is not. The boss would prefer to release an African-­American, but “we’d have every do-good outfit in the city on our necks.” What’s unmentioned is the rewards of patronage Harry has enjoyed for a decade­ — it was his father, in the hallowed union tradition, who got him the job.
There is further worry in Rabbit’s neighborhood, a new subdivision outside the city. “This is a decent white neighborhood,” he is admonished, menacingly, by a fellow resident, a Vietnam vet distraught by the goings-on in the Angstrom household. Another neighbor, higher up the socioeconomic ladder — “I’m in computers, the hardware end” — softens the message. “White neighborhood isn’t exactly the point, we’d welcome a self-­respecting black family, I went to school with blacks and I’d work right beside one any day of the week.”
The idioms have changed, slightly, but the passions have not, as we were reminded this election year.

John Updike visited The New York Times a week before Election Day in 2008. Whom, I asked him, would Rabbit Angstrom most likely vote for? “I’m so for Obama,” Updike replied, “that I can’t imagine creating a character who wouldn’t vote for him.” And yet in “Rabbit at Rest” — the last novel in the cycle, which concludes with the hero’s death — we discover he cast his final vote for George H. W. Bush. When I reminded Updike of this, he looked startled. But he was right about 2008. Obama carried Reading that year, and he did it again on Nov. 6. The finally tally, John Forester said, “was 17,248 for Obama, and 3,740 for Romney.” Why the lopsided outcome? Because the city’s population has indeed changed, though not in the way Rabbit foresaw. Nearly 60 percent of its population is now Hispanic. Rabbit, more open-­minded than he first appears, would have made his peace, just as he did in 1969. “I love my country,” he avows, “and can’t stand to have it knocked,” even if it has become something he no longer recognizes.
Sam Tanenhaus is the editor of the Book Review.

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