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英美文学史上最尖酸刻薄的13条书评 [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-3-1 13:35:59 |Display all floors
“评论家与作家的关系,就如同狗跟电线杆子的关系一样。”
——美国作家杰弗瑞·罗宾森(Jeffrey Robinson)
一、《红衣主教的情人》
"The Cardinal's Mistress" by Benito Mussolini
作者贝尼托·墨索里尼
评论者:桃乐丝·帕克尔(Dorothy Parker)
读罢墨索里尼的小说《红衣主教的情人》,帕克尔说:“这本小说可不能随手扔到一边;应该狠狠甩飞!”
In response to reading Benito Mussolini's "The Cardinal's Mistress", Dorothy Parker said, "this is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

二、亨利·詹姆斯
Henry James
代表作:《悲剧缪斯》(The Tragic Muse)等
评论者:马克·吐温(Mark Twain)
针对詹姆斯,马克·吐温曾说:“读他的书不能停,你一旦放下,就再也拿不起来了。”
Of Henry James, Mark Twain said, "Once you've put one of his books down, you simply can't pick it up again."

三、乔治·梅瑞狄斯(George Meredith)
代表作:《利己主义者》(The Egoist)等
评论者:奥斯卡·王尔德(Oscar Wilde)
针对梅瑞狄斯,王尔德曾说:“作为一个作家,他掌握了一切,除了语言;作为一个小说家,他几乎万能,可就是不会讲故事;作为一个艺术家,他简直就是上帝,唯独搞不懂说话的艺术。”
Of George Meredith, Oscar Wilde said, "as a writer he has mastered everything except language; as a novelist he can do everything except tell a story; as an artist he is everything except articulate ."

四、赫尔曼·梅尔维尔(Herman Melville)
代表作:《白鲸》、《皮埃尔》等
《白鲸》刚放表的时候就是个哑炮,大多数批评都十分严厉。有一位评论者甚至称梅尔维尔的这部代表作是“纯粹神经错乱撒癔症”。
而《波士顿环球报》则这样评价梅尔维尔的《皮埃尔》:
“这本大部头里面大部分内容都是纯粹的垃圾,概念是垃圾,行为是垃圾,对话是垃圾,情感也是垃圾。谁要是因为梅尔维尔的名气去买这本书,那就是在浪费钱,我们相信这个世界上绝对不会有人能坚持读完整本书……(对剧情的)评价更是没必要了。但这一连串剧情如此荒谬,竟然与本书极度夸张的激情相得益彰,只因为那一系列情感也是荒谬至极。这本书到底要讲什么?我们搞不懂。这本书如果不想沦为彻底一无是处的垃圾,那就最好是定位成一篇散文诗,而且还要说是一个住在疯人院里的病人写的散文诗,不要说是住在伯克希尔幽静度假村的谁谁谁写的小说。我们沉痛地宣布:梅尔维尔先生这样浪费他的才华真是太不应该、太可惜了。他的这些‘才华’,如果能找张纸巾,小心翼翼裹起来,一辈子不拿出来显摆,都比现在这样好一百倍。”
"But the amount of utter trash in the volume is almost infinite -- trash of conception , execution, dialogue and sentiment. Whoever buys the book on the strength of Melville's reputation , will be cheating himself of his money, and we believe we shall never see the man who has endured the reading of the whole of it.... Comment upon the [plot] is needless. But even this string of nonsense is equalled by the nonsense that is strung upon it, in the way of crazy sentiment and exaggerate d passion. What the book means, we know not. To save it from almost utter worthlessn ess, it must be called a prose poem, and even then, it might be supposed to emanate from a lunatic hospital rather than from the quiet retreats of Berkshire. We say it with grief -- it is too bad for Mr. Melville to abuse his really fine talents as he does. A hundred times better if he kept them in a napkin all his natural life."

五、《呼啸山庄》Wuthering Heights
作者:艾米莉·勃朗特(Emily Brontë)
《呼啸山庄》广受苛责,艾米莉·勃朗特英年早逝,她去世前所读到的每一条评论都是差评,哪曾想这部作品有朝一日竟然成为大师级杰作。
本书的第一篇书评发表于1848年1月的《亚特拉斯周报》(The Atlas),报上评论说这部作品是个“奇怪的、缺乏艺术性的故事……(这故事)令人头疼,简直是难以用语言来形容。”评论者表述说书里每一个角色都是“要么就可憎可恨,要么就该被彻底鄙视。”
《考察家报》(The Examiner)则不屑地贬称它作“奇怪”以及“失控、混乱、脱节、太假”。而《格兰汉姆女士杂志》(Graham's Lady Magazine)就真得很不留情面:“作为一个正常人,读这样一本书,居然能坚持读十几章而不自杀?这实在是很神奇。这本书,糅合了粗俗的堕落与不自然的恐怖。”
The Examiner dismissed it as "strange" as well as "wild, confused; disjointed, and improbable." But Graham's Lady Magazine really dug in: "How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors."

六、欧内斯特·海明威(Ernest Hemingway)
代表作:《太阳照常升起》等
评论者:戈尔·维达尔(Gore Vidal)
维达尔如此评价海明威:“这世界上,还有哪种文化,可以制造出像海明威这样一个人,却不将他看作是一个笑话?”
Gore Vidal said of Hemingway, "What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke?"

七、一本被历史遗忘了的诗集
评论者:兰德尔·杰瑞尔(Randall Jarrell)
评论者代表作:《华盛顿动物园的女人》等
杰瑞尔曾讽刺一本现已无法考证的诗集,留下了一句精辟短评:“这玩意儿读起来简直就像是打字机打出来的一样——作者就是那个打字机。”
Randall Jarrell's one sentence review of a forgettable book of poetry: "This reads like it was written on a typewriter --by a typewriter ."


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Post time 2012-3-1 13:38:03 |Display all floors
八、西奥多·德莱塞
代表作:《嘉莉妹妹》等
评论者:亨利·路易斯·曼肯(H.L. Mencken)
曼肯曾这样批判他的挚友德莱塞:“一个印第安纳州来的农民,一把鼻涕一把泪简直是荒唐,为了某种弱智低能的情愁而感伤,一听到骗人的鬼玩意儿就凑个耳朵上去,还听得直喘粗气、眼珠滴溜溜乱转就是他了。”
H.L. Mencken managed to pan one of his closest friends, Theodore Dreiser: "An Indiana peasant, snuffling absurdly over imbecile sentimenta lities, giving a grave ear to quackeries , snorting and eye-rollin g with the best of them."
He called The Great Gatsby a "glorified anecdote."


九、《了不起的盖茨比
作者:弗·司各特·菲茨杰拉德(F. Scott Fitzgerald)
又是曼肯,他说《了不起的盖茨比》是一段“备受推崇、备受美化的奇闻轶事”。
H.L. Mencken called "The Great Gatsby" a "glorified anecdote."

十、《契沙比克》
作者:詹姆斯·米切纳(James Michener)(图为作者与第三任妻子、日本人玛丽·寒风泽顺子【音;Mari Yoriko Sabusawa】)
对这部两千多页的作品,《纽约客》的“毒舌”们是这么评论的:“我有两个建议。第一,别买这本书;第二,如果你买,那么拿稳了,小心别砸着脚。”
At more than 2,000 pages, here's what The New Yorker had to say about it: "I have two recommendations. First, don't buy this book. Second, if you buy this book, don't drop it on your foot."

十一、弗拉基米尔·纳博科夫(Vladimir Nabokov)
代表作:《洛丽塔》等
评论者:埃德蒙·威尔逊(Edmund Wilson)
威尔逊曾写到:“纳博科夫先生有个习惯,那就是不管他干什么工作,他都要宣布说自己独一无二、所向披靡。别人如果也想要干同样的活儿,那他就说别人是个不学无术的呆子、是个浑浑噩噩的蠢人,而且还经常暗示说那个人肯定是来自社会底层,说别人的人格荒谬可笑。”
Edmund Wilson wrote: "Mr. Nabokov is in the habit of introducin g any job of this kind which he undertakes by the announceme nt that he is unique and incomparab le and that everybody else who has attempted it is an oaf and ignoramus, usually with the implicatio n that he is also a lo-class person and a ridiculous personalit y."

十二、杰罗姆·大卫·塞林格(J.D. Salinger)
代表作:《麦田守望者》、《法兰妮与卓依》等
评论者:诺曼·梅勒(Norman Mailer)
梅勒评塞林格的一句经典:“他的心智,是迄今为止我所见过最了不起的——就中学水平而言。”
A favorite from Norman Mailer: "The greatest mind ever to stay in prep school."

十三、《且让我搞点音乐》
作者:不详;可能是贝西·拉斯基(Bessie Lasky)
评论者:亚历山大·伍卡特(Alexander Woollcott)
伍卡特曾评论过一本素人自费出版的诗集,那本诗集题为《且让我搞点音乐》,他的评论是:“别在我家搞就行,女士。”
译注:伍卡特,是“阿尔冈琴圆桌会”(Algonquin Round Table)的中坚分子之一。这个组织,则是上世纪20年代左右纽约市一些作家、评论家、演员形成的一个非正式聚会,他们经常聚在阿尔冈琴饭店的一张圆桌上用餐,高谈阔论,交流见闻。文艺范儿小圈子。下图是圆桌会部分著名成员,四位男士由左至右分别是Art Samuels、Charls MacArthur、Harpo Marx及Alexander Woollcott。前排那位美妹纸,则是前面已经介绍过的:批评墨索里尼小说的桃乐丝·帕克尔(Dorothy Parker)。
Alexander Woollcott once reviewed a self-published book of poetry called "And I Shall Make Music" with: "Not on my carpet, lady."

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