《斯通纳》

作者:[美]约翰·威廉姆斯
Stoner: A Novel by John Williams

斯通纳-豆瓣

《斯通纳》一直在我的书单中,碰巧这个月郑晶的读书会也是选的这本书,于是就提上了日程提前读完。读完整本书,仿佛跟随者斯通纳的视角度过了他的一生,心中有感动也有震撼。说不出来这种感动具体来自于哪里,也许是在斯通纳在英文课上与莎士比亚跨越时空的共鸣,也许是他「曾梦想过某种正直,某种绝对的纯洁」。

这本书我是中英文混着阅读,大概一半一半,中文部分快速浏览,精彩的地方我会找到英文原版慢慢品读。这本书是我九月阅读到的最喜欢的虚构作品,有时间的话会再通读一遍英文原版。5星推荐。

原文摘录

Ch 1

William Stoner realized that for several moments he had been holding his breath. He expelled it gently, minutely aware of his clothing moving upon his body as his breath went out of his lungs. He looked away from Sloane about the room. Light slanted from the windows and settled upon the faces of his fellow students, so that the illumination seemed to come from within them and go out against a dimness; a student blinked, and a thin shadow fell upon a cheek whose down had caught the sunlight. Stoner became aware that his fingers were unclenching their hard grip on his desk-top. He turned his hands about under his gaze, marveling at their brownness, at the intricate way the nails fit into his blunt finger-ends; he thought he could feel the blood flowing invisibly through the tiny veins and arteries, throbbing delicately and precariously from his fingertips through his body.

The past gathered out of the darkness where it stayed, and the dead raised themselves to live before him; and the past and the dead flowed into the present among the alive, so that he had for an intense instant a vision of denseness into which he was compacted and from which he could not escape, and had no wish to escape.

Ch 2

You must remember what you are and what you have chosen to become, and the significance of what you are doing. There are wars and defeats and victories of the human race that are not military and that are not recorded in the annals of history. Remember that while you’re trying to decide what to do.

Ch 11

Once, late, after his evening class, he returned to his office and sat at his desk, trying to read. It was winter, and a snow had fallen during the day, so that the out-of-doors was covered with a white softness. The office was overheated; he opened a window beside the desk so that the cool air might come into the close room. He breathed deeply, and let his eyes wander over the white floor of the campus. On an impulse he switched out the light on his desk and sat in the hot darkness of his office; the cold air filled his lungs, and he leaned toward the open window. He heard the silence of the winter night, and it seemed to him that he somehow felt the sounds that were absorbed by the delicate and intricately cellular being of the snow. Nothing moved upon the whiteness; it was a dead scene, which seemed to pull at him, to suck at his consciousness just as it pulled the sound from the air and buried it within a cold white softness. He felt himself pulled outward toward the whiteness, which spread as far as he could see, and which was a part of the darkness from which it glowed, of the clear and cloudless sky without height or depth. For an instant he felt himself go out of the body that sat motionless before the window; and as he felt himself slip away, everything–the flat whiteness, the trees, the tall columns, the night, the far stars– seemed incredibly tiny and far away, as if they were dwindling to a nothingness. Then, behind him, a radiator clanked. He moved, and the scene became itself. With a curiously reluctant relief he again snapped on his desk lamp. He gathered a book and a few papers, went out of the office, walked through the darkened corridors, and let himself out of the wide double doors at the back of Jesse Hall. He walked slowly home, aware of each footstep crunching with muffled loudness in the dry snow.

Ch 12

四十三岁那年,斯通纳学会了别人——比他年轻的人——在他之前早就学会的东西:你最初爱的那个人并不是你最终爱的那个人,爱不是最终目标而是一个过程,借助这个过程,一个人想去了解另一个人。

In his forty-third year William Stoner learned what others, much younger, had learned before him: that the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last, and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another.

Ch 13

这是那年夏天他们学到的被称为“成见”的奇谈怪事之一。他们是在这样一种传统中成长起来的:这种传统以这样或那样的方式告诉他们,精神生活和情感生活是分离的,而且事实上也是互相为敌的。他们相信,虽然从来没有真正深思过,在某种程度上选择其中一个就要以牺牲另一个为代价。那种其中一方强化另一方的事在他们身上从未发生过。由于这种具体表现是在认识到这个真理之前就出现的,这似乎是一种专属他们的发现。他们开始收集这种怪异的“成见”,把它们当金银宝贝般积藏起来,这种东西有助于把他们从这个灌输给他们这些意见的世界孤立出来,有助于以某种微不足道却感人的方式拉在一起。

That was one of the oddities of what they called "given opinion" that they learned that summer. They had been brought up in a tradition that told them in one way or another that the life of the mind and the life of the senses were separate and, indeed, inimical; they had believed, without ever having really thought about it, that one had to be chosen at some expense of the other. That the one could intensify the other had never occurred to them; and since the embodiment came before the recognition of the truth, it seemed a discovery that belonged to them alone. They began to collect these oddities of "given opinion," and they hoarded them as if they were treasures; it helped to isolate them from the world that would give them these opinions, and it helped draw them together in a small but moving way.

他们生活其中的是一个暗淡的世界,他们把自己好的那部分带到这个世界——所以不久,外面那个人来熙往,语声哗然的世界,不断变化和持续运动的世界,在他们看来都是假的虚幻的。他们的生活在两个世界之间被截然分开,在他们看来这好像天经地义,就应该生活在这种分裂里。

他走出办公室,踏进漫长走廊的黑暗中,步履沉重地走进阳光里,走进外面开阔的世界,无论他从哪里转过身,这个世界都像一座监狱。

Ch 16

这本书跟他想象的一样好。文字优美,激情掩藏在某种冷静和智性的明晰背后。他从阅读的内容中看到了她本人,他想。斯通纳很惊讶,此刻看着她竟如此逼真。忽然,好像她就在隔壁房间,他把她的样子定了好一会儿才消失。他双手刺痒,好像刚刚触摸过她。他的失落感,内心藏了很久的失落感,喷涌而出,彻底将他吞没,他任由这股洪流裹挟着,意志已失去控制。他不想搭救自己。接着他又亲切地笑了,好像是冲着某个记忆而笑。他忽然想到,他都快到六十岁了,应该能够不受这种激情和这种爱的力量左右。

可他还是难以超越,他知道,而且永远超越不了。在麻木、冷漠、孤绝的背后,这种力量还在,强烈而稳定,它永远都在那里。年轻时他不假思索自由地释放这种力量,他曾经把这种力量投到阿切尔·斯隆展示给他的知识中——那是多少年前?在求爱和婚后的最初那段盲目、愚蠢的日子里,他曾把这种力量投放给伊迪丝。他曾把这种力量投给凯瑟琳,好像以前从未投放过。他还以古怪的方式,而且在自己完全意识不到的时候,把这种力量投到生活的某些关键时刻,也许投入得最充分。这是一种激情,既非心灵也不是肉体的激情,它就是一种综合了二者的力量,好像它们不过是爱情的材料,它的具体内容。对一个女人或者一首诗,它只是说:看哪!我活着。

Ch 17

他想当一名教师,他成了教师。但他知道,他永远知道,人生的大部分时候他都是一个冷漠的人。他曾梦想过某种正直,某种绝对的纯洁。他寻找过妥协和无关紧要的攻击性消遣。他曾想象过智慧,在漫长岁月的尽头,他找到了无知。还有什么呢?他想,还有什么呢?

他又想到应该喊一下伊迪丝,接着他又知道自己不会喊她。死亡是自私的,他想,它们像孩子那样,要的是属于自己的那个时刻。

Ch 1

斯通纳活着的时候同事对他并不怎么尊崇,现在几乎绝口不提了。对年纪稍长的同事来说,他的名字意味着让人想起等待大家的那个最后结局;在年纪更轻的听来,这个名字不过是勾起毫无意义的过去的某种声音而已,而且没有什么共性可以跟他们本人或者自己的职业联系起来。