Mrs Craddock by Maugham

2018年3月19日 月曜日 晴れ; 晴れてはいるが、ものすごい強風(秒速20メートルほどもあろうか)で、気温も1.5度と低い。

Mrs Craddock by W.Somerset Maugham

* Mrs Craddock
* By: W. Somerset Maugham
* Narrated by: Beth Chalmers
* Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
*
モームのクラドック夫人、読了(聴了)。バーサ Bertha Ley の結婚から夫の死までを描く。クラドック夫人は平凡な夫を愛さなくなってから最後には死ぬことさえ考えるが・・夫の突然の死(落馬による事故死)で物語が終わる。

続きを読む Mrs Craddock by Maugham

モーム メリーゴーラウンド Maugham’s characters share a great capacity to make themselves unhappy

2018年2月20日 火曜日 雪

モーム メリーゴーラウンド 1904年
The Merry Go Round  By: W Somerset Maugham
* Narrated by: Eve Karpf
* Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
* Unabridged
* Release date: 12-03-12
* Language: English
* Publisher: Audible Studios

モーム メリーゴーラウンド a great capacity to make themselves unhappy

補註  ネットで以下の書評欄を見つけたので読んでみた。

https://swiftlytiltingplanet.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/the-merry-go-round-by-w-somerset-maugham/  

Maugham’s characters share a great capacity to make themselves unhappy, and Miss Ley realizes that most of this stems from humans’ failure to understand their deepest motivations. So much unhappiness could have been spared these characters if they’d only understood themselves a little better. ・・・(中略)・・・ But it is that vast dichotomy that exists in most of us–the gap between who we think we are and who we really are–that trips up Basil. He thinks he can marry Jenny and make the best of it when in reality he patronizes her, is deeply ashamed of her and imagines that she “drags him down” to her level.

以上、以下のサイトより引用: https://swiftlytiltingplanet.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/the-merry-go-round-by-w-somerset-maugham/  

補註:
モームの The Merry Go Round を聴了。
作家バズ(Basil Kent)とジェニー(バーメイド、the beautiful barmaid Jenny)との結婚と、悲惨な結婚生活、そして悲劇的な破綻・・その経過を中心に、幾つかのカップル(恋人同士、夫婦)の愛と葛藤を、医師のフランク、そしてミス・レイの二人の視線を経糸にして織り成した人間悲喜劇のメリーゴーラウンド。どうしても(偶然に振り回されるのではなく必然的な進行として)、こうまでもうまくいかない男女の仲・・

まさに、Maugham’s characters share a great capacity to make themselves unhappy のこの世の現実が地獄の火に焼かれているような苦しみの世界。

・・それを繰り返し描くモーム。「アッシェンデン」(の中の大使の挿話)でも、「月と6ペンス」でも、「お菓子とビール」でも、「painted veil」(補註の補註*参照)でも、そしてもちろん「人間の絆」でも、モームは執拗に描かなければいられない、男女の葛藤。乗り超えるために描く・・しかし、それでも乗り越えられないからまた描かざるを得ない・・デジャヴューのようにもう一度回ってくるメリーゴーラウンド。

余談になるが、ジョージ・オーウェルの「アスピディストラ」を途中まで読んで(実際にはオーディオブックで聴いている)いて、その余りに無意味なお金事情に振り回される登場人物の詳細についていくのがつらくて終わりまで進めず、この「メリーゴーラウンド」へと迂回したのであったが、またまた辛い読書遍歴となった。オーウェルにしても、モームにしても、その明解平易な英語表現もあって私にとっては敷居の低いお気に入りの二人なのだが。この冬は気持ちの上でなぜか壁にぶつかっているようだ。

この冬に通読したものでは、たとえばアガサ・クリスティの「ナイル殺人事件」や「メソポタミア殺人事件」などは、同じく男女間の葛藤をプロットの中心部に扱ったものであっても、読んでいて本当のつらさは経験しないように上手に(?)描かれているのである。(ミステリーとしてジャンル的に当たり前のことだが)。一昨年に読んだ「Absent in the Spring」などにも、それが言える。クリスティー流の達人的男女の描き方のタッチ・筆の扱い方はそれはそれで人間国宝級である。

対照的に、モームの才能は、Maugham’s characters share a great capacity to make themselves unhappy ・・というわけだ。そして、モームがこれでも足りないとして書き連ねたように、私たちも繰り返し読み続けながら考え、そして多くの場合、モーム同様、乗り越えたくて、そして今も乗り越えられていないことを自覚・痛感させられるのである。

モームだけで終わるわけではない。私の場合、たとえば、「アンナ・カレーニナ」の英訳朗読の再々通読(通聴)の方は、かれこれ十年近くも前、途中で余りに辛くなって3分の2ぐらい(CDで19枚目)のところで止まっている。そろそろ再び冒頭から読み始めようかとも思わねばなるまい。思い返せば、ボヴァリー夫人の訳本も去年の夏に、鞄の中でS市とM市との間を何度も往復しながらも読み続ける根気なく途中で止まっているではないか。もともと私の場合は読書のスピードが大変に遅いのであるが、それだけの理由ではなく・・私にとってつらい読書もあるのである。

補註の補註 Absent in the Spring
A Mary Westmacott Novel  By: Agatha Christie
* Narrated by: Jacqui Crago
* Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
* Unabridged
* Release date: 01-23-12
* Language: English
* Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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補註 朗読のイヴ・カープ女史の読みは秀逸だった。特に夫婦の喧嘩の場面は恐ろしいほどの迫力である。真に逼りすぎて、聴いていて冷や汗が出そうだ。寝る前に聴くと、目が冴えて眠れなくなってしまう。

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補註*: The Painted Veil: ウィキペディアによると・・・
Plot summary[edit]

Maugham uses a third-person-limited point of view in this story, where Kitty Garstin is the focal character.
Garstin, a pretty upper-middle class debutante, squanders her early youth amusing herself by living a social high life, during which her domineering mother attempts to arrange a “brilliant match” for her. By age 25, Kitty has flirted with and declined marriage proposals from dozens of prospective husbands. Her mother, convinced that her eldest daughter has “missed her market”, urges Kitty to settle for the rather “odd” Walter Fane, a bacteriologist and physician, who declares his love for Kitty. In a panic that her much younger, and less attractive, sister, Doris, will upstage her by marrying first, Kitty consents to Walter’s ardent marriage proposition with the words, “I suppose so”. Shortly before Doris’s much grander wedding, Kitty and Walter depart as newlyweds to his post in Hong Kong. 以下、略。https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Painted_Veil_(novel) の全文を参照下さい。

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補註 https://swiftlytiltingplanet.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/the-merry-go-round-by-w-somerset-maugham/ より<以下引用>

The Merry-Go-Round, an early and largely forgotten novel from W. Somerset Maugham is not considered his best, but it’s one of my favourites. The Merry-Go-Round was written in 1904 following Mrs Craddock(another great favourite) in 1902. The main character in Mrs Craddock isBertha Ley, and she’s the niece of Miss Mary Ley, the main character in The Merry-Go-Round.

Set in Edwardian England, The Merry-Go-Round concerns the troubled relationships between several people. The central character is Miss Ley, a fifty-seven-year-old spinster who inherits a comfortable sum of money from a cantankerous elderly aunt. Independent and strong-willed in her youth, in middle-age Miss Ley has very definite ideas about male-female relationships. As a keen observer of people, her sardonic, practical view of the foibles and vanities of human nature establish Miss Ley as a witty hostess. Soon her friends become involved in various relationships and mesalliances that put Miss Ley’s theories about life, love and marriage to the test. Miss Ley rather unexpectedly finds herself becoming a confidant, an advisor and also “a censor of morals.”  

Shortly after the novel begins, Miss Ley invites a handful of acquaintances to dinner, and this event introduces the main characters and kickstarts their stories, dramas and tragedies. Guests for the evening include: Mrs. Castillyon (whose husband is a member of parliament), Basil Kent, Dr. Frank Hurrell, Reggie Bassett and his overbearing mother Mrs. Barlow-Bassett, the attractive widow Mrs. Murray, Miss Ley’s cousin, Algernon Langton, Dean of Tercanbury and his middle-aged daughter Bella.

Over the course of the book, these characters plunge into love affairs and marriages for a variety of reasons and with a range of results. Barrister Basil Kent, a promising writer, although attracted to Mrs Murray, decides to do the honourable thing and offer marriage to the beautiful barmaid Jenny. Dr Frank Hurrell, a man whose “passions were of the mind rather than of the body” chafes at his career in Harley Street and longs for something unknown. Mrs. Castillyon, bored with her marriage, abandons herself in a destructive affair with Reggie Bassett, and Bella Langton at age forty falls in love with a twenty-year-old bank clerk named Herbert Field.

Maugham explores the relationships between unequals in his masterpiece Of Human Bondage. It’s obviously a theme that fascinated Maugham and in The Merry-Go-Round, there are three such inequitable relationships (one I shan’t mention due to spoilers). Bella Langton marries Herbert Field–a man considered her social ‘inferior’ and Basil marries Jenny against Miss Ley’s advice. The marriages have different results, and while Bella and Herbert love each other, there are additional factors which impact their relationship. Basil imagines a Pygmalion scenario–with himself, naturally, as the purveyor of culture and education, and Jenny as the eager, lowly and grateful pupil. After marriage, however, Jenny’s charms are lost on Basil and he quickly finds himself bored with his wife and ashamed to introduce her to his friends. He stashes her at home and then attends his social functions alone. Jenny of course, hasn’t essentially changed since Basil first cast eyes on her; Basil’s infatuation simply dies, and with his sexual enthrallment satiated, he loses interest. In doing the so-called honourable thing, and meeting the moral obligations he feels are demanded of him, Basil becomes unintentionally cruel and tragedy results.

It’s been more than 100 years since Basil’s creation, but many of us will still identify with his decision to ‘do the right thing.’ But just what is the ‘right thing’ is a question for some debate. Miss Ley is vehemently opposed to the match and she expresses her feelings unreservedly. In her view, Basil has already caused Jenny considerable damage which will only be compounded by marriage–an act she feels is motivated from “selfishness and cowardice.” Here’s Miss Ley giving Basil her opinion:

“Are you sure you don’t admire a little too much your heroic attitude?” she asked, and in her voice was a stinging coldness at which Basil winced. “Nowadays self-sacrifice is a luxury which few have the strength to deny themselves; people took to it when they left off sugar because it was fattening, and they sacrifice themselves wantonly, from sheer love of it, however worthless the object. In fact, the object scarcely concerns them; they don’t care how much they harm it so long as they can gratify their passion.”

In Basil’s case, Miss Ley sees the misguided passion as Basil’s drive to “sacrifice” himself by marrying Jenny. Basil is motivated by the desire to not seem like his mother, the one-time notorious Lady Vizard whose affairs (Basil imagines) scandalized society–when in fact prissy Basil was the only person outraged. Basil tends to place impossibly high standards of behaviour on people and is perhaps destined to be disappointed in his relationships:

“Basil had not the amiable gift of taking people as they are, asking no more from them than they can give: but rather sought to mould after his own ideas the persons with whom he came into contact.”

The relationship between Reggie Bassett and Mrs Castillyon remains, for me at least, the most fascinating relationship in the novel. While the vast social differences in Basil and Jenny’s marriage are certain to leave bitter recrimination, it’s uncertain just who is going to be the casualty in the twisted relationship between the shallow, spoiled, selfish, petulant Reggie, and the bored superficial Mrs Castillyon. Socially, Reggie is used to prostitutes and at first can’t believe his luck at discovering a ‘loose’ woman of his own class (a woman, he assumes, who will pay her own way). Reggie fails to understand that Mrs Castillyon is mainly a tease and initially has no intention of becoming his mistress. The scenes detailing the first steps in the affair between Reggie and Grace Castillyon are especially delightful. Invitations to tea and to the theatre mask elaborate games in which Reggie and Grace test and exploit each other’s boundaries.

Miss Ley doles out advice when asked and sometimes when she isn’t asked, and throughout the novel, she is also an observer of the silliness and hypocrisy of others. Lady Vizard’s compulsion to drop the occasional French word into conversation provides just the right degree of snobbery and pretension to the upper class set, and this develops into scorn when she discovers Basil’s marriage to Jenny. Some of the narrative is stiff, and the novel seems a little unkind to most of the working class characters who either steal (Jimmy Bush), get drunk (Bridger) or get “into trouble” (Fanny Bridger, Jenny Bush). On the other hand, the upper classes suffer from priggishness (Castillyon, Basil) and selfishness induced by boredom (Grace Castillyon, Reggie).

 補註 priggishness【名】 堅苦しさ、気取った不自然さ、学者ぶった言動

The first time I read The Merry-Go-Round many years ago, I thought that Maugham’s novel preached virulently against marriages between different classes. Now, however, I find myself moving away from that opinion. While Basil’s marriage to Jenny is disastrous, the third, completely unexpected, marriage that takes place between two characters may or may not be successful. Miss Ley seems to think that the marriage could well be the making of the weaker, shallow character–in spite of the class differences between the newlyweds. Perhaps it is safer to say that a marriage that begins as a “favour” to the other person or as a “sacrifice” is doomed to failure, and that at the very least, respect, if not affection must be present in order for the union to have a chance of success.

Maugham’s characters share a great capacity to make themselves unhappy, and Miss Ley realizes that most of this stems from humans’ failure to understand their deepest motivations. So much unhappiness could have been spared these characters if they’d only understood themselves a little better. Here’s Basil blaming his mistakes on society:

“In this world we’re made to act and think things because others have thought them good; we never have a chance of going our own way; we’re bound down by the prejudices and the morals of all and sundry….The world held up an ideal, and I thought they meant one to act up to it; it never occurred to me that they would only sneer.”

I don’t buy Basil’s theory that his actions were dictated by society–in his case it was rather the opposite. Everyone advised him not to marry Jenny. But it is that vast dichotomy that exists in most of us–the gap between who we think we are and who we really are–that trips up Basil. He thinks he can marry Jenny and make the best of it when in reality he patronizes her, is deeply ashamed of her and imagines that she “drags him down” to her level.

So at the end of the novel, The Merry-Go-Round has stopped. Some characters alight and some continue with their delusions. Some fortunate characters get a second chance at life, and some…do not.

https://swiftlytiltingplanet.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/the-merry-go-round-by-w-somerset-maugham/ プロットに関しては上記を参照下さい。

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トルストイとバルザック:場面中心 vs 総括的描写

2017年8月20日 日曜日 未明(霧)

P.ラボック 小説の技術 佐伯彰一訳 現代小説作法シリーズ ダヴィッド社 1957年(原著は1921年)

トルストイの想像力が、明らかに一番伸び伸びと生動し得る形態たる、あの単刀直入な場面中心の形態(ラボック、同書、p190)

トルストイという偉大な例は、バルザックの例と相互に補足的なものといえる。バルザックの天分は、逆の方向に向いており、いつでも個々の場面より、総括的な描写のほうに引きつけられた。(ラボック、同書、p190)

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小説の作者は技術者だ。

2017年8月20日 日曜日 未明(霧)

P.ラボック 小説の技術(The Craft of Fiction) 佐伯彰一訳 現代小説作法シリーズ ダヴィッド社 1957年(原著は1921年)

・・小説を扱う批評の任務は、とにかく、明瞭だ、と思われる。われわれが小説の組み立てという問題をしかと捉え、効果的にその探究を進めるまでは、小説に関して有用な発言は出来ない。小説について語る際、つねに、われわれを妨げるのは、いわゆる小説の技術面に対する無智であり、したがってまた、これこそ、われわれのぶつかってゆくべき面なのだ。・・・(中略)・・・われわれが是が非でも見たいものは、作者の才能や素養のみならず、その作品なのだーーところで、作品をしかと眺めようとすれば、われわれの力で再創造せねばならぬ。そして、永続的に再創造するための、唯一つの明確な道というのはーー技術を研究し、その過程を追い、構成に注意して読むことだ。この方法の実践こそ、現在の私にとって、正直なところ、小説批評の唯一の興味なのである。小説家に関する論議も、作品自体を真に、明瞭かつ正確に眺めるまでは、そこに何一つ新しいものは期待できまい。
 そして、結局真に、明瞭かつ正確に眺めることは不可能であるーーこれは確かだ。作品というものは、われわれがその上に手をおくと、消えてしまう。・・・(中略)・・・だが、それにしても影の間に、われわれを誘う一条の光が、きらめいている。・・もしそうなら、その可能性はいまあげた方向にこそ存在しているにちがいないと思われる。小説の作者は技術者だ。批評家は、彼をその仕事場で捕らえて、いかにして小説が作られたかを、見なければならぬのである。(ラボック、同書、p206-208)

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小説家は、その(=小説の)扱い方の中に含まれている無尽蔵の機会を、そのまま見逃すはずもあるまい。・・安易な道は、道とはいえぬ。唯一の道は、語ろうとする物語を一番よく生かす道であり、選ばれ、鍛錬を加えた方法によらずしては、物語を生かすことなど、出来ないのである。(ラボック、同書、p201)

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多くの小説論議は、じつは、小説論ではないのです。・・・(中略)・・・では、小説そのものを、どうして捉え、どうして論ずるか、これが本書の主題です。(木村彰一、同書、あとがき、p219)

‘art’(芸術)ではなくて、 ‘craft’(技術)なのだと、最近出た新版の序文で著者(=ラボック)自身もふれています。<芸術>という<高遠な>言葉をさけて、<技術>という地道な言葉をわざわざ選んだというのです。軽やかな一般論の高みに舞い上がることをさけて、小説自体という対象に密着したかったからだ、というのです。(木村彰一、同書、あとがき、p220)

<技術>についての分析は精細ですが、作家が何故、また何を目指して、彼の<技術>を選び取るのか、という点には全く触れていないのです。作家と読者との関係という問題も、この点を離れては、生きたつながりとは成り得ないのではないでしょうか。彼の先駆的な考察を動力学へと組みかえてゆくのが、今日の僕らの仕事だと思います。(木村、同書あとがき、p223)

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ラボック「小説の技術(1921年)」:a ‘straw man’-textbook

2017年8月19日 土曜日 晴れ(久しぶりの快晴・暑い陽射し)

P.ラボック 小説の技術 佐伯彰一訳 現代小説作法シリーズ ダヴィッド社 1957年(原著は1921年)

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グランデ爺さんのけち臭さは、金持ちになるにつれて、ますますひどくなるのだ。現在は過去と同じであり、未来は現在のそのままの延長だ。こうした場面の中で、中年になったウージェニィの辛抱強い忍従は、はっきりと眼で見える事実となり、それ以上強調せずとも、ただちに感じとられ、受け入れられる。・・・(中略)・・・「五年の歳月は去った」とバルザックは言う。しかし、それを言う以前に、歳月の影は少女の上にちらつき、その孤独に押しせまり、みずみずしさを奪い去り、じっと待っている彼女のむっつりとした諦めだけを残してゆく様が、ありありと見える。(ラボック、同訳書、p174)

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補註 ラボック(Percy Lubbock)は1879年生まれ。ということは、この「小説の技術」はラボックが42歳頃の著作ということになる。

ウィキペディアによると・・・Percy Lubbock, CBE (4 June 1879 – 1 August 1965) was an English man of letters, known as an essayist, critic and biographer.
His 1921 book The Craft of Fiction (‘the official textbook of the Modernist aesthetics of indirection'[4]) became a straw man (補註* 参照)for writers including Forster, Virginia Woolf and Graham Greene, who disagreed with his rather formalist view of the novel. Wayne Booth in The Rhetoric of Fiction[5] considers that Lubbock’s take on the craft of Henry James was in fact schematizing and formal, if systematic, with a flattening effect. Nevertheless, Lubbock’s The Craft of Fiction had a profound influence on novelists in the 1920s and after. As Michaela Bronstein has noted, “Lubbock’s book didn’t just influence critics; it was also a spur to contemporary novelists. Virginia Woolf vacillated between echoing and condemning his ideas. Woolf’s lengthiest engagement with Lubbock was her 1922 essay “On Re-reading Novels,” which primarily praises and extends Lubbock’s argument. However, in her Diary in 15 October 1923, she found herself disagreeing with him from an artistic perspective: “his ideal aesthetic form,” she says, “cannot be accomplished consciously.”[6](以上、ウィキペディアより引用)

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補註* a straw man 「容易に倒せそうな藁人形」
ウィキペディアによると・・・ 
ストローマン(英: straw man)は、議論において対抗する者の意見を正しく引用しなかったり、歪められた内容に基づいて反論するという誤った論法、あるいはその歪められた架空の意見そのものを指す。藁人形論法ともいう。

語源は不明である。 比喩的な用法は、容易に倒せそうな藁人形、ダミー、かかしなどを示唆する(以上、ウィキペディアより引用)、とのこと。

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