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HomeModern Chinese EssaysPai's Lifelong Pursuit of Love and Beauty~《​情与美——白先勇的痴恋与追求 》 with English Translations

Pai’s Lifelong Pursuit of Love and Beauty~《​情与美——白先勇的痴恋与追求 》 with English Translations

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情与美——白先勇的痴恋与追求

Pai’s Lifelong Pursuit of Love and Beauty

白先勇《台北人》小说开头引唐朝诗人刘禹锡的《乌衣巷》,这是《台北人》的基调,其实也是白先勇的人生写照。

Kenneth Pai opens Taipei People (a collection of 14 short stories) with the Tang-Dynasty poem Blacktail Row by Liu Yuxi. This poem sets the tone for the entire book, and in fact traces out a thumbnail sketch of Pai’s own life.

将军之子、名门之后,随国民政府播迁来台,飞入寻常百姓家的他,依然在文学、戏剧各领域引领风骚,留下婉转动人的啁啁燕语。

As the son of an army general and scion of a powerful family that retreated along with the ROC government from mainland to Taiwan, Pai—much like the swallow in the Tang poem—found himself in Taiwan “dipping among the doorways of the poor.” But that didn’t stop him from blazing a brilliant path through literature and the performing arts.

“台湾现代主义文学始祖”、”文坛巨擘”、”昆曲第一推手”、”将军之子”……,这些称号形容的都是白先勇。

“Father of Taiwan’s Modernist Literature,” “literary giant,” “number-one supporter of Kunqu Opera”… Kenneth Pai has been described in all these ways.

白先勇此生的最爱与追求,不脱”情”与”美”二字。

What Kenneth Pai has sought all his life boils down to two things—“love” and“beauty.”

作家白先勇:登场即达颠峰

Instant hit

《台北人》、《孽子》、《玉卿嫂》、《游园惊梦》……,白先勇许多脍炙人口的小说,都成就于青年时期,因而有人说,作家白先勇,登场就已达颠峰。

From Taipei People to Crystal Boys, to Jade Love, and Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream, many of Pai’s most notable works were written while he was still young. Someone once described his career as having started out right at the pinnacle and never looked back.

二十出头发表第一篇作品《金大奶奶》,与一般年轻人风花雪月或多愁善感的写作题材、文字风格迥异,夏济安教授以”老辣”来形容白先勇的文字。白先勇的小说老辣早熟,一如他的人生经历。

Pai published his first story, Madame Ching, in his early 20s. In this story there was none of the romance or melancholy that typifies much of the writing done by young authors. The writing style was very original. Professor Hsia Chi-an described Pai’s writing at the time as “mature beyond his years.” The accelerated maturity of Pai’s writing style mirrors his life story.

“我们这一辈走过历史的沧桑,经过天旋地转、天翻地覆,自然有一种焦虑、不安、敏感;对于人生的况味、看法,也被逼迫得早熟。”

“People in my generation have lived through a hellacious time in China’s history. It affected our circumstances, our thinking, and forced us to grow up quickly.”

抗战那年出生的白先勇,整个童年都在逃难。8年抗战后,紧接着国、共内战,”都是战争,都在逃难,都是破坏、毁灭,但中间也显现了人性坚韧、坚强的一面。”

Born in 1937, the same year that the eight-year war against Japan began, Pai spent his entire childhood running from military conflict. No sooner did the war with Japan end than the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists resumed. “There was always war, destruction, and flight. But in the process, the resilience and toughness of human nature shone through….

“这些我都看在眼里,年纪虽然小,但父辈他们的痛苦、悲哀、无奈、失落,我很小就懂。”

At a very young age, I understood the pain, the anguish, the helplessness, and the disappointment of the people of my father’s generation.”

白先勇的敏感、早熟,来自于童年大环境的流离失所,也与他生病、离群索居脱不了关系。

Illness and lack of a permanent abode played a role in Pai’s sensitivity and early maturity.

10名孩子中排行第8,家中兄长人数众多,但他8岁染肺结核,此后长达5年的时间被隔离而居,孤单寂寞,只能一个人在家看连环图,所幸有位能言善道的厨子相伴,《七侠五义》、《薛仁贵征东》、《薛丁山征西》……,他像说书人一样,一回、一回讲,”我拿个小板凳坐着,厨子一边洗锅、洗碗,一面讲给我听。”白先勇回忆道。

Born the eighth of ten children, Pai contracted tuberculosis at age eight and spent the next five years isolated from his family. The lonely boy spent his days reading comics at home. Fortunately, however, he benefited from the company of a family cook with a gift for storytelling. Day after day, the cook would tell stories, a chapter or so at a time, from The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants, Expedition to the East, and Expedition to the West. “I would draw up a little stool and listen as he washed dishes and told me stories.”

若说家厨是白先勇写小说的启蒙者,也不为过。”写小说不脱说书传统,要生动、有趣。”白先勇说:”很要紧的是敏感、观察力强、对人有兴趣,还要有一副善于倾听的好耳朵。”

It would be no exaggeration to say that the cook was Pai’s earliest inspiration as a writer. “If you write stories, then you are a part of the storytelling tradition. You’ve got to conjure up something that stirs the imagination and entertains.”

永远的尹雪艳

An undying stage character

初登文坛就吸睛,但白先勇回首年少时,自认一开始的作品不太成熟,一直到《台北人》(1971年)才称得上是成熟的作品。至于代表作?”如果一定要我挑,《游园惊梦》里历史的沧桑、对爱情的失落最浓烈。”他说。

Although he was an immediate success on the literary scene, Pai is not so impressed with his early works, and feels that maturity didn’t come until 1971 with the publication of Taipei People. So what would he consider his defining work? Says Pai: “If I had to choose, I’d go with Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream. The vicissitudes of history and the disappointments of love are so much more searingly painful in this work.”

白先勇的小说作品,不断被改编成电影、电视剧、舞台剧、绍兴戏、舞剧……,以各种不同形式出现。而大部分都必须经过他本人的参与审核。

Pai’s stories have often been adapted into movies, television dramas, and works of theater and dance. And pretty much every single such adaptation has had to be done under the watchful eye of none other than Pai himself.

去年,孽子舞台剧演得轰轰烈烈的。”我很多小细节都要盯,盯得他们烦死了!”白先勇说:”很要紧的!整出戏剧,一分、一秒、一环、一扣,都不能放松。”

Last year, a stage production of Crystal Boys played to considerable fanfare. “I watched over every little detail, to the point I drove them crazy! But it was important. Every part of the play, every little transition, every connection, had to be done just right.”

如同自己笔下永远不老的尹雪艳;白先勇也有一颗年轻、开放的心。

Just like Yin Xueyan, whose character he brought to life, Pai is forever young and open at heart.

“我对现代流行的东西也很感兴趣。”白先勇说,时下最夯的韩剧《来自星星的你》、《大长今》……都看过。”很好奇韩剧怎能影响这么大?看后发现他们制作严谨,服装、拍摄、剧本都很讲究,历史剧更是厉害!”他说:”不简单,成功不是偶然。”

“I’m also very interested in the latest things,” says Pai, who has watched the hit Korean television dramas My Love from the Star and Dae Jang Geum. “I was curious about why Korean TV dramas should be so popular. Then I watched a couple and found they were produced with great care. The costumes, filming, and script all showed painstaking attention to quality. And the period dramas were done even better! The success of Korean television dramas is no accident.”

红尘一梦话红楼

Red Chamber

有人说,白先勇是受《红楼梦》影响最深的作家,询问他本人的看法,他笑答:”不同意也不行!”

It’s been said that no writer has ever been more profoundly influenced than Pai by Dream of the Red Chamber. Asked about this comment, he replies with a chuckle:“There’s no way I can disagree with that!”

“《红楼梦》是我的圣经。”白先勇说自己很早就开始看《红楼梦》,在美国加州大学圣塔芭芭拉校区任教29年,教的也是《红楼梦》。

“Dream of the Red Chamber is my bible,” says Pai, who has been reading the novel since he was quite young. Indeed, he gave a course on it at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he taught for 29 years.

“这是本天书,我看到七十几岁,才懂一点!”白先勇说,在美国教了多年的《红楼梦》,每教一回,看一回,每看一回就对作者华丽的文字背后,苍凉、镜花水月的人生哲学,赞叹不已。

“I swear, that novel was divinely inspired. I’ve read it again and again, and now in my 70s I still only have a rudimentary understanding of it!” Pai says that with each rereading, he feels awestruck at its beautiful use of language, the grandeur of its tragedy, and the ephemeral elusiveness of reality that it portrays.

在白先勇眼中,《红楼梦》是经典中的经典。”这部18世纪、乾隆时代的巨著,在同一时代的西方文学,没有一本可以与之媲美;19世纪西方文学百花齐放,有很多了不起的作品,可是像《红楼梦》这般精深博大,有佛家、道家、儒家思想在背后支撑,技巧那么好、文字那么美,这么多人物,个个写得栩栩如生的,西方文学里找不到。”

Pai considers Dream of the Red Chamber to be a classic among classics: “This is an 18th-century masterpiece, written during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, and there is nothing from that same period in the West to compare with it. Western literature reached tremendous heights in the 19th century, and lots of truly great works came out. But there’s nothing in Western literature that can match the breadth and depth of Dream of the Red Chamber, with its grounding in Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian thought. It is so bristling with artifice. The writing is so beautiful. There are so many characters. It’s so true to life.You can’t find that in Western literature.”

“《红楼梦》是一个一个细节拼出来一个大的拼图,随便拿出一段都好看。”怪了,这个小说!”白先勇赞叹不已,尤其对小说中人物刻画功力之高深,最是佩服:”一开口、一吹气,人就活了!”

“All the details in Dream of the Red Chamber come together like a huge jigsaw puzzle. But pick any part of it at random, and you’ll find it’s a great read all by itself. It’s uncanny, this novel!” Pai has high praise for the author’s adroit development of characters: “The characters virtually jump off the page, a live as you or me, when they speak!”

赏心乐事谁家院

Who’s feeling that old joy now?

若说《红楼梦》是中国文学美的极致;那么集戏剧艺术美之大成者,非昆曲莫属。

If Dream of the Red Chamber is the apex of beauty in Chinese literature, then Kunqu Opera is a cornucopia of all that’s best in traditional Chinese opera.

“我的一生似乎跟昆曲结上了一段缠绵无尽的不解之缘。”白先勇说,小时候在上海看过梅兰芳与俞振飞演出〈游园惊梦〉,从此昆曲便沁入了灵魂深处,无法拔除。

“Kunqu Opera has always been a central part of my life,” says Pai, explaining that Kunqu has been lodged deeply in his soul ever since, as a boy in Shanghai, he saw Mei Lanfang and Yu Zhenfei perform Interrupted Dream (from The Peony Pavilion).

教职退休后,白先勇花了十几年时间投入昆曲的复兴大业。他之所以独钟昆曲,乃因其有独到之处。白先勇说,西方歌剧有歌却无舞;芭蕾有舞无歌,唯有昆曲载歌载舞、无歌不舞,将两种表演艺术融合得天衣无缝。

After retiring from his university teaching position, Pai spent over a decade working to promote a revival of Kunqu Opera. Pai notes that Western opera has singing, but no dancing, and ballet has dancing but no singing. He says it is only KunquOpera that combines the two forms of stage art in a seamless whole.

不会唱昆曲对白先勇而言是”很大的遗憾”。六十多岁时他起心动念问老师父:”现在学昆曲还来得及吗?”老师父回答:”晚了一点!”

But Pai lacks the chops to sing Kunqu himself, which he considers “a great regret.”When he was already in his 60s, he once asked a Kunqu instructor: “Is it toolate for me to become a Kunqu performer?” The instructor replied: “Yes, it’s a bit too late.”

一句话,断了白先勇拜师学昆曲之念,却没能阻挠他积极复兴昆曲的想望。

And so Pai gave up on the idea. But that didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for a Kunqu revival.

2003年4月,白先勇振臂一呼,组成两岸三地创作团队,耗时一年制作出青春版《牡丹亭》,为16世纪汤显祖的经典之作加入现代元素。

In April 2003, Pai successfully created a team from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the mainland to produce The Peony Pavilion Young Lovers’ Edition. The team would be introducing modern elements into the classical 16th-century Kunqu work authored by Tang Xianzu.

2004年4月29日,青春版《牡丹亭》在台北国家剧院举行世界首演,此后,这个白先勇口中凑合组成的”草台班”,巡回世界各地演出两百六十多场,白先勇亲自跟着跑了一百五十几场。

After premiering in April 2004 at the National Theater in Taipei, Young Lovers’ Edition went on a world tour of over 260 performances. Pai was personally on hand formore than 150 of the shows.

“9个钟头的大戏,勾动很多人的心。”白先勇说,昆曲进入校园,意义尤其非凡。”现在大学里传统文化的课太少了。昆曲结合了音乐、舞蹈、美术、文学……,可以当作一门文化课程的启蒙课。”

“A lot of people are very moved by a nine-hour opera like this,” says Pai, adding that the performance of Kunqu Opera on school campuses has been very meaningful.“University courses on traditional culture are too few and far between. Kunquis a combination of music, dance, fine art, and literature. You could presentit as a cultural appreciation course.”

人子白先勇:《疗伤止痛》

Father and son

最近几年,”人子”成为白先勇生命中的身份主轴,他将很多心力放在为父亲白崇禧作传,还原父亲当年在二二八事件之所作所为,及其造成的重大影响。

Pai has expended a huge effort in recent years chronicling the life of his father. His purpose has been to set the record straight on his father’s conduct during the February 28 Incident of 1947, and to show the tremendous influence that the elder Pai exerted.

2012年,白先勇出版《父亲与民国:白崇禧将军身影集》,在两岸三地及欧美汉学界引起广大回响;在2014年又出版《止痛疗伤:白崇禧将军与二二八》,整理他父亲当年来台的史料,以及口述采访纪实。

In 2012, Pai published Father and the Republic: Impressions of General Pai Chung-hsi, a photo-based work that generated intense interest in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland, as well as among China scholars in the West. Then in 2014 he published Healing the Pain: General Pai Chung-hsi and the 228 Incident, a full-blown biography that set forth historical materials and oral interviews focusing on his father’s time in Taiwan.

“还原历史真相很要紧。”白先勇说,二二八对台湾来说是很重要的一段历史,其中怎能有一大段空白。他指出,白崇禧奉命来台那16天的确是关键,许多已经判死刑的犯人,因为白崇禧上将一道”禁止滥杀,公开审判”的命令,在千钧一发之际,得以刀下留人。

“It’s important to set the historical record straight.” The February 28 Incident was a very important event in Taiwan’s history, says Pai, who explains that GeneralPai Chung-hsi was ordered to come to Taiwan to deal with the crisis, and spent 16 critical days here at that time. A lot of people had been sentenced to death, but General Pai sent out an order forbidding indiscriminate killing and requiring that all cases be tried in public. At a time when so much was hanging in the balance, his father managed to save many lives.

白先勇表示,藉由还原这段历史真相,自己也重新认识了父亲白崇禧。”我对父亲的确认识不够,很多事情没有深究其中的意义。”

His study of the past led Kenneth Pai to a new understanding of his father. “I really didn’t know my father well enough. So many things happened that I didn’t truly understand.”

奼紫嫣红开遍

Agarden in full bloom

一阵旋风似地忙碌过后,6月底,白先勇返回美国住处开始他的”闭关”生活。

After a whirlwind of activity, Pai returned to his home in the US in late June to begin a period of seclusion.

“台湾什么都好,台北是最适合居住的地方,除了夏天……”白先勇说,台北是自己很熟悉、很安心的地方,还有些亲友在这里,但每次回来事情就多到不行,”太忙了,我要跑回美国清静一下。我有满园子花要照顾,有好多书、电影要看,还欠了一大堆文债……”

“Taiwan is a great place, and Taipei is eminently livable, except for the summer.” Pai explains that he’s very familiar and comfortable with Taipei, where he has relatives and friends. But on his recent trip back, he was impossibly busy. “I was too busy. I had to go back to the US to get some peace and quiet. I have a garden full of flowers that need tending, a lot of books and movies to see, and a lot of writing that I’ve promised to do.”

回到美国的白先勇,过的是完全与世隔绝的生活,”有时候一个礼拜没跟人讲半句话!”

Back in the US, Pai follows an utterly different routine, practically becoming a hermit. “Sometimes I go a whole week without saying a thing to anyone!”

与世隔绝之际也是最好的写作时节。”写作还是我的最爱。”白先勇说:”对读者,我还有一肚子话要说,那些话,还没讲好,也还没讲完。”

Time spent alone is the best time for writing. “Writing is what I love best. I’ve got a million things I want to say to the readers, that I haven’t quite said correctly yet, or said at all.”

白先勇的写作过程,总是先有人物,然后再想故事大纲。白先勇纸笔写作模式至今不改,他用的依然是孔雀牌600字稿纸,依然是黑色的墨笔,”计算机弄得我紧张得很,深怕写一写,碰一下就不见了。”

When he writes, Pai always starts off first of all with a character in mind. Only then does he work out a storyline. He still writes on ruled paper, using a black brush-tip pen: “Computers make me nervous. I’m always scared to death I’ll hit the wrong key and everything I’ve written will just disappear.”

夜猫子的他,总在晚上十点、十一点开始写作。”我写作是磨蹭、磨蹭,很难弄,有时候一个字也写不出来,有时候几百字,一、二千,不一定。”问他在写什么?一改有问必答的个性,他坚持不透露,”写出来再说!”

A night owl, Pai always starts writing at about ten or 11 o’clock in the evening.“Writing is a long, slow grind for me. It’s difficult. Sometimes I can’t write a single character, but sometimes I’ll do a hundred or a couple thousand characters at a sitting. It all depends.” Asked what he’s currently writing, he becomes uncharacteristically reticent, and says simply: “Let’s talk about that after I’ve finished it.”

永远的《孽子》

The indelible mark of Crystal Boys

白先勇接下来的作品,确实令人引领期待。

Pai’s next publication is indeed something to look forward to.

2015年6月,美国最高法院裁定同性婚姻适用全美,引发世界各国对于同性婚姻权的讨论,而白先勇早在1983年便”惊世骇俗”地写了《孽子》。

In June 2015, the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout that nation, triggering a global wave of discussion on the topic. But Pai had already set off shock waves himself way back in 1983 with his publication of Crystal Boys, a novel about a young gay man.

“同性恋也是人性的一部分,值得写。”白先勇说,自己写《孽子》时完全不考虑会面临什么压力。”一个作家对自己内心想讲的话,要无畏,要百分之百的诚实,你的信念相信什么,就写什么。”

“Homosexuality is a part of human nature. The novel was worth writing.” During the writing, says Pai, he never worried at all about what sort of backlash it might elicit.“When a writer engages in an internal dialogue with himself, he must be 100% honest. Whatever you believe, that is what you should write.”

没想到这本书的影响巨大,非但没有成为禁书,还陆续翻译成英、法、德、义、荷兰、日文等各语版发行世界各国。白先勇透露,目前正在着手翻译越南文,还有非洲埃塞俄比亚来接洽版权。

The book’s impact far exceeded Pai’s expectations. Not only was its publication not prohibited, it was even translated into English, French, German, Dutch, Japanese, and other languages, and sold worldwide. Pai reveals that the book is now being translated into Vietnamese, and someone in Ethiopia has contacted him to discuss copyright issues.

有人赞许白先勇的《孽子》,是将悲情研成金粉的歌剧。无论是华丽的悲歌,抑或前瞻的惊世预言,白先勇的创作都令人期待。50年前如此,半世纪后亦复如此。

Crystal Boys has been praised as an “opera” that grinds tragedy into gold dust. But regardless whether he is lovingly crafting songs of tragedy or shocking readers by putting forward topics that are far ahead of the times, Pai’s works are just as eagerly anticipated today as they were a half a century ago.

转自:北极光翻译 来源:《光华杂志》

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