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余华

 
 
 

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余华  

余华

作家,著有中篇小说集:《鲜血梅花》《战栗》《现实一种》《我胆小如鼠》,中短篇小说集:《世事如烟》《黄昏里的男孩》,长篇小说:《在细雨中呼喊》《活着》《许三观卖血记》《兄弟》,随笔集:《温暖和百感交集的旅程》《音乐影响了我的写作》《没有一条道路是重复的》。

演讲稿:文学中的现实  

2006-07-16 13:04:47|  分类: 文学随笔 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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              文学中的现实
                          余 华
    
  什么是文学中的现实?我要说的不是一列火车从窗前经过,不是某一个人在河边散步,不是秋天来了树叶就掉了,当然这样的情景时常出现在文学的叙述里,问题是我们是否记住了这些情景?当火车经过以后不再回到我们的阅读里,当河边散步的人走远后立刻被遗忘,当树叶掉下来读者无动于衷,这样的现实虽然出现在了文学的叙述中,它仍然只是现实中的现实,仍然不是文学中的现实。
  我在中国的小报上读到过两个真实的事件,我把它们举例出来,也许可以说明什么是文学中的现实。两个事件都是令人不安的,一个是两辆卡车在国家公路上迎面相撞,另一个是一个人从二十多层的高楼上跳下来,这样的事件在今天的中国几乎每天都在发生,已经成为记者笔下的陈词滥调,可是它们引起了我的关注,这是因为两辆卡车相撞时,发出巨大的响声将公路两旁树木上的麻雀纷纷震落在地;而那个从高楼跳下来自杀身亡的人,由于剧烈的冲击使他的牛仔裤都繃裂了。麻雀被震落下来和牛仔裤的繃裂,使这两个事件一下子变得与众不同,变得更加触目惊心,变得令人难忘,我的意思是说让我们一下子读到了文学中的现实。如果没有那些昏迷或者死亡的麻雀铺满了公路的描写,没有牛仔裤繃裂的描写,那么两辆卡车相撞和一个人从高楼跳下来的情景,即便是进入了文学,也是很容易被阅读遗忘,因为它们没有产生文学中的现实,它们仅仅是让现实事件进入了语言的叙述系统而已。而满地的麻雀和牛仔裤的繃裂的描写,可以让文学在现实生活和历史事件里脱颖而出,文学的现实应该由这样的表达来建立,如果没有这样的表达,叙述就会沦落为生活和事件的简单图解。这就是为什么生活和事件总是转瞬即逝,而文学却是历久弥新。
  我们知道文学中的现实是由叙述语言建立起来的,我们来读一读意大利诗人但丁的诗句。在那部伟大的《神曲》里,奇妙的想象和比喻,温柔有力的结构,从容不迫的行文,让我对《神曲》的喜爱无与伦比。但丁在诗句里这样告诉我们:“箭中了目标,离了弦。”但丁在诗句里将因果关系换了一个位置,先写箭中了目标,后写箭离了弦,让我们一下子读到了语言中的速度。仔细一想,这样的速度也是我们经常在现实生活中可以感受到的,问题是现实的逻辑常常制止我们的感受能力,但丁打破了原有的逻辑关系后,让我们感到有时候文学中的现实会比生活中的现实更加真实。
  另一位作家叫博尔赫斯,是阿根廷人,他对但丁的仰慕不亚于我。在他的一篇有趣的故事里,写到了两个博尔赫斯,一个六十多岁,另一个已经八十高龄了。他让两个博尔赫斯在漫长旅途中的客栈相遇,当年老的博尔赫斯说话时,让我们看看他是如何描写声音的,年轻一些的博尔赫斯这样想:“是我经常在我的录音带上听到的那种声音。”
  将同一个人置身到两种不同时间里,又让他们在某一个相同的时间和相同的环境里相遇,毫无疑问这不是生活中的现实,这必然是文学中的现实。我也在其他作家的笔下读到过类似的故事,让一个人的老年时期和自己的年轻时期相遇,再让他们爱上同一个女人,互相争夺又互相礼让。这样的花边故事我一个都没有记住,只有博尔赫斯的这个故事令我难忘,当年老的那位说话时,让年轻的那位觉得是在听自己声音的录音。我们可以想象这是什么样的声音,苍老和百感交集的声音,而且是自己将来的声音。录音带的转折让我们读到了奇妙的差异,这是隐藏在一致性中的差异,正是这奇妙的差异性的描写,让六十多岁的博尔赫斯和八十岁的博尔赫斯相遇时变得真实可靠,当然这是文学中的真实。
  在这里录音带是叙述的关键,或者说是出神入化的道具,正是这样的道具使看起来离奇古怪的故事有了现实的依据,也就是有了文学中的现实。我还可以举出另外一个例子,法国作家尤瑟纳尔在她的一部关于中国的故事里,一个名叫林的人在皇帝的大殿上被砍下了头颅之后,他又站到了画师王佛逐渐画出来的船上,在海风里迎面而来,林在王佛的画中起死回生是尤瑟纳尔的神来之笔,最重要的是尤瑟纳尔在林的脖子和脑袋分离后重新组合时增加了一个道具,她这样写:“他的脖子上围着一条奇怪的红色围巾。”这仿佛象征了血迹的令人赞叹的一笔,使林的复活惊心动魄,也是林的生前和死后复生之间出现了差异,于是叙述就有了现实的依据,也就更加有力和合理。
  但丁射箭的诗句,博尔赫斯的录音带,还有尤瑟纳尔的红色围巾,让我们感到伟大作家所具有的卓越的洞察力。人们总是喜欢强调想象对于文学的重要,其实洞察也是同样的重要,当想象飞翔的时候,是洞察在把握着它的方向。可以这么说,没有洞察帮助掌握其分寸的想象,往往是胡思乱想。只有当想象和洞察完美地结合起来时,才会有但丁射箭的诗句,博尔赫斯的录音带和尤瑟纳尔的红色围巾,才会有我这里所说的文学中的现实。
  
 
附录:The Reality inLiterature
   
              YuHua               

   What is reality in literature?  What I wantto speak of is not a locomotive passing by a window, or a manstrolling by the riverside, nor the falling leaves at the advent ofautumn.  Of course, these sorts of scenes willoften appear in literary narratives.  The questionis whether or not we will remember these sorts ofscenes.  A locomotive has passed, never to returnto the scene of our reading; the man strolling by the river hasleft, only to be immediately forgotten; the leaves have fallen andthe reader is left unmoved.  Although this kind ofreality appears in literary narrative, it remains a mere reality inreality, and not yet the reality in literature.
 There are a couple of true stories I've readin the Chinese tabloids which may perhaps shed some light on what Imean by the reality in literature.  Both incidentsare unsettling.  The first concerns a head-oncollision between two trucks on a national highway, the other a manwho jumped from a twenty-story building.  Thesekind of stories take place almost everyday in today's China, andhave already become journalistic cliches, and yet they captured myattention, because the noise of the collision was loud enough toknock a flock of sparrows down from the trees by the side of thefreeway, and because the force of the impact of the suicidal manwho had leapt from the tower was so powerful that his blue jeanswere left in tatters across the sidewalk.  Thesparrows knocked from the trees and the tatters of the blue jeansimmediately render these two stories into somethingout-of-the-ordinary, something startling, somethingunforgettable.  In other words, they allow us toread the reality of literature.  Without thedescription of these dazed or perhaps dead birds spread across thetarmac, without the description of those scraps of denim on thepavement, even if the head-on collision or the suicide were towritten down in literary form, they would all too easily be lost tomemory, for they would merely allow reality to enter into alinguistic system of narrative representation, without producing aspecifically literary reality.  But thedescription of birds or tattered jeans scattered across the groundis where literature distinguishes itself from real life andhistorical incident. It is through this kind of expression_r thatliterary reality is established, and without such expression_r,narrative sinks to the level of a simple diagram of life andincident.  This is why real life is alwaysephemeral, while literature remains forever new.
 We know that the reality of literature isestablished through narrative language.  Let'slook at a line by the Italian poet Dante.  I lovemore than anything else to read his masterpiece "The DivineComedy,” for its strangely marvelous symbols and tropes, gentlyforceful structure, and unhurried manner are withoutparallel.  Dante tells us in one line of poetrythat "the arrow hits its target/and leaves thestring."  Dante here reverses causal relationshipsby writing first that the arrow hits the target, and only laterthat it leaves the string.  This allows us to feelthe velocity inside the words.  If we thinkcarefully, we understand that we often encounter such velocity inour everyday lives.  The problem is that the logicof reality restricts our ability to feel it.  Inbreaking through pre-existing relations of logic, Dante allows usto see that literary reality is sometimes more real than thereality of our lives.
 Another writer from Argentina named Jorge-LuisBorges was no less an admirer of the work of Dante thanmyself.  In one very interesting story, he writesabout two Borges, the first sixty years old, and the other an oldman of eighty.  He has the two Borges meet in acarriage on a long journey.  Let's take a look atthe way he describes the sound of the older Borges'voice.  When the younger Borges hears him speak,he thinks to himself "it was the sound I had often heard inrecordings of my own voice." 
 To place the same person in two different timesand then let them encounter each other in same time and sameenvironment no doubt has very little to do withreality.  This could only happen in literaryreality.  Yet I've often read similar kinds ofstories by other authors in which a character, now grown old,encounters his younger self, and the two go on to fall in love withthe same woman, now contending with one another for her affection,now politely yielding to the other.  But I can’treally remember any of these amusingly decorative stories, whileBorges’ story is unforgettable.  When the old manspeaks and the younger feels as if he’s listening to a recordingof his own voice, we can imagine what it sounds like: an ancientvoice, suffused with feeling, and yet the voice of one’s ownfuture.  The trope of the tape lets us read astrange and wonderful difference, a difference concealed beneathsameness, and it’s precisely the wonder of this difference thatmakes the description of the encounter between the sixty year oldBorges and his eight year old counterpart so real and soreliable.  And this, of course, is the reality ofliterature.
 Here the tape recording is the crux of thenarrative, the prop that allows the story to reach the height ofperfection, providing a bizarre and fantastic series of events witha basis in reality, that is to say, in literaryreality.  I can mention one otherexample.  In a story by the French authorMarguerite Yourcenar set in China, after a man named Lin has beendecapitated in the palace of the Emperor, he stands once again onthe deck of a boat gradually taking shape in a painting by themaster Wang Fo, facing us through an ocean gale. To resurrect Lin in the painting by Wang Fo is Yourcenar’s masterstroke, but what’s most important is that in placing Lin’ssevered head back onto his neck, she’s added a newprop.  She writes, “Around his neck was wrapped astrange red scarf.”  This admirably suggestivefigure for the blood stains around his neck makes Lin’sresurrection terribly affecting.  It alsoregisters the difference between Lin as a living character and Linafter his death, and serves thereby as a basis in reality, areality rendered that much more powerful, and that much morereasonable.
 Dante’s arrow, Borges’ tape, andYourcenar’s scarf let us understand the superior insight possessedby great writers.  People are fond of emphasizingthe importance of imagination in literature, but actually, insightis just as important.  When imagination soars, itis insight which serves as a rudder.  One mighteven say that without the measure of insight, imagination is merelya nonsensical flight of fancy.  Only the perfectalignment of imagination and insight could create Dante’s arrow,Borges’ tape, or Yourcenar’s scarf.  And onlythen do we see the reality of literature of which I have spokentoday.

                     Translated by Andrew F.Jones

 
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