Today is the 48th anniversary of the death of John Steinbeck, Author (1902-1968), winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Steinbeck was one of the most popular and decorated American writers of the mid-twentieth century, and many of his books—which include The Grapes of Wrath (winner of the 1940 Pulitzer Prize), Of Mice and Men, East of Eden and many others—continue to be read and loved by millions today.
Travels with Charley By John Steinbeck
Travels with Charley: In Search of America is a travelogue written by American author John Steinbeck. It depicts a 1960 road trip around the United States made by Steinbeck, in the company of his standard poodle, Charley. Wikipedia
Originally published: 1962
《查理與我：史坦貝克攜犬橫越美國》 Travels with Charley: In Search of America 約翰史坦貝克著，麥慧芬譯，台北：馬可孛羅出版社，2003，頁127
January 09, 2013
When their best-laid schemes of mice and men, and authors and writing, went awry, the members of the Swedish Academy made the best of what they thought was a bad situation in 1962: they awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to John Steinbeck. The decision came amid their general dissatisfaction with the candidates for the prize that year, according to documents recently released by the academy.
1962年，瑞典學院(Swedish Academy)的成員們在“人鼠之間”、作家與作品之間所做的精心計劃出了問題，只好在糟糕的狀況下做出他們認為最佳的選擇，於是把諾貝爾文學獎頒給了 約翰·斯坦貝克(John Steinbeck)。根據學會最近披露的文件，當年評委們在文學獎得主問題上存在很大分歧，因此才最終做出了這個決定。
According to The Guardian, 66 authors were put forward for the literature Nobel in 1962, and the list was narrowed down to Steinbeck, Robert Graves, Lawrence Durrell, Karen Blixen and Jean Anouilh. But after looking at the field of contenders a committee member, Henry Olsson, wrote, "There aren't any obvious candidates for the Nobel prize and the prize committee is in an unenviable situation."
根據《衛報》報道，1962年，有66位 作家被提名為文學獎得主，最終名單被縮小到斯坦貝克、羅伯特·格雷夫斯(Robert Graves)、勞倫斯·德雷爾(Lawrence Durrell)、卡倫·布里森(Karen Blixen)和讓·阿努依(Jean Anouilh)。但在看過全部候選人之後，評委會成員亨利·奧爾森(Henry Olsson)寫道：“諾貝爾獎沒有脫穎而出的候選人，評獎委員不是什麼美差。”
Blixen, the Danish author who wrote "Out of Africa" under the pen name Isak Dinesen, became ineligible when she died in September 1962. Graves, whose novels included "I, Claudius," was nonetheless regarded primarily as a poet and Olsson, The Guardian said, was reluctant to give the prize to an Anglo-Saxon poet until Ezra Pound, whose work he greatly admired, died. (Although Olsson objected to Pound's politics.) Durrell's series of novels "The Alexandria Quartet" was not yet considered a significantly substantial body of work (the author had also been passed over in 1961), while Anouilh, the French dramatist, had the bad fortune to come between the 1960 Nobel victory of his countryman Saint-John Perse and the ascent of Jean-Paul Sartre, who would win in 1964.
丹麥作家布里森曾以伊薩克·迪內森 (Isak Dinesen)為筆名創作了《走出非洲》(Out of Africa)，她於1962年9月逝世，因此失去了獲獎資格。格雷夫斯的小說包括《我，克勞迪斯》(I, Claudius)，但他主要被人們視為詩人。根據《衛報》報道，奧爾森不願把諾貝爾文學獎頒發給盎格魯-撒克遜詩人，直到埃茲拉·龐德(Ezra Pound)去世之後，他非常熱愛龐德的作品，儘管不贊同龐德的政治觀點。德雷爾的系列小說《亞歷山大四重奏》(The Alexandria Quartet)在當時還沒有被公認為傑作，作者亦已於1961年逝世。而法國劇作家阿努依則是運氣不佳，因為1960年諾貝爾文學獎剛剛授予他的同胞聖 瓊·佩斯(Saint-John Perse)，與此同時正值讓-保羅·薩特(Jean-Paul Sartre)崛起，後來薩特於1964年獲得諾貝爾獎。
So the prize was given to Steinbeck, whose body of work consisted merely of such enduring novels as "Of Mice and Men," "The Grapes of Wrath," "Cannery Row" and "East of Eden." In awarding the Nobel to Steinbeck, the Swedish Academy offered no public hint of its internal weariness, citing him for being among "the masters of modern American literature" and "for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and a keen social perception."
於是這個獎就落入斯坦貝克囊中，他的全部 作品其實只有幾部較為持久不衰的小說，諸如《人鼠之間》(Of Mice and Men)、《憤怒的葡萄》(The Grapes of Wrath)、《罐頭工廠街》(Cannery Row)和《伊甸之東》(East of Eden)。在斯坦貝克的頒獎典禮上，瑞典學院並沒公開暗示自己的內部問題，而是讚美斯坦貝克可以躋身“美國現代文學大師之列”，以及他的“現實主義和富 於想像力的寫作，充滿同情心的幽默感與敏銳的社會意識”。
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“Travels with Charley” 當然台灣已有翻譯
Steinbeck's journey of rediscovery
Jul 11th 2012, 12:48 by B.R.
Debate about John Steinbeck’s 1962 road book, “Travels with Charley”, often coalesces around two questions: Why did he write it? And how much of it is true?
In the opening chapter, Steinbeck says that he decided to wend his lonesome way across America in a camper van, accompanied only by Charley, a sickly poodle, because he was an American writer who had been stuck in New York for too long and had thus grown unfamiliar with his subject: “writing about America, [I] was working from memory, and the memory is at best a faulty, warpy reservoir.” His son, though, tells a different story. The real motivation for the trip, he says, was that Steinbeck thought he was dying, and wanted to say farewell to his homeland.
As for the tale’s veracity, stories abound. It is said that Steinbeck actually spent barely a night in the cramped camper, sometimes staying in glitzy hotels instead. Some claim that he was not often alone, since he had his wife for company. Others say that the conversations he recorded with the many ordinary, and several extraordinary, people he came across were made up.
It is true that the dialogue is perhaps too beautifully crafted to ring true. But this is to miss the point of one of the greatest travelogues ever written. It is churlish to hold beautifully crafted prose against “Travels with Charley”. Indeed, in a book with so much to commend it, the majesty of Steinbeck’s writing is the single biggest draw.
Better to think of it as a poetic tale of rediscovery. From New York he first travels through New England and then across the Midwest to Montana (“of all the states my favourite and my love”). Along the way, Steinbeck finds two countries: one that he recalls and one that is changing and homogenising. In Seattle, he wonders why “progress looks so much like destruction.” He remembers when Salinas, the town of his birth, proudly announced its 4,000th citizen. When he returns it is home to 80,000. “I have never resisted change, even when it has been called progress,” he writes, “and yet I felt resentment toward the strangers swamping what I thought of as my country with noise and clutter and the inevitable rings of junk.”
Having worked his way down through California, Steinbeck takes a left towards the racist South. This leg of the trip has been hanging, unspoken, over the story. He approaches it with the dread of the outsider. “When people are engaged in something they are not proud of, they do not welcome witnesses. In fact, they come to believe the witness causes the trouble.”
He watches a spiteful daily campaign by a group of women calling themselves “the Cheerleaders” against a young black child attending a white school. Twenty times he hears the same joke when people see that he is riding with his dog: “I thought you had a nigger in there!”. After a confrontation with a man he has picked up, who says he would lay down his life to stop his child “going to school with niggers”, Steinbeck decides it is time to wend his way back to New York.
“I early learned the difference between an American and the Americans,” he writes. “They are so far apart that they might be opposites.” In the course of its long journey, the book celebrates both: the underlying fabric of what it is to be an American, and the myriad contrasting individuals who make it up. Generally he still finds a country to love and admire. And even in those encounters one suspects may be mere fiction, there are deep truths to be had.