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Ragtimeで有名なE. L. Doctorowが先月亡くなった時に、Esquireが小説の重要性という彼が1986年に書いたエッセイを紹介していました。抜粋してYutaのざっくり訳と一緒に紹介します。

The Importance of Fiction
E. L. Doctorow 1986

I know now that everyone in the world tells stories. Relatively few people are given to mathematics or physics, but narrative seems to be within everyone’s grasp, perhaps because it comes of the nature of language itself.

The moment you have nouns and verbs and prepositions, the moment you have subjects and objects, you have stories.

But nothing is as good at fiction as fiction.

It is the most ancient way of knowing but also the most modern, managing when it’s done right to burn all the functions of language back together into powerful fused revelation. Because it is total discourse it is ultimate discourse. It excludes nothing. It will express from the depth and range of its sources truths that no sermon or experiment or news report can begin to apprehend. It will tell you without shame what people do with their bodies and think with their minds. It will deal evenhandedly with their microbes or their intuitions. It will know their nightmares and blinding moments of moral crisis. You will experience love, if it so chooses, or starvation or drowning or dropping through space or holding a hot pistol in your hand with the police pounding on the door. This is the way it is, it will say, this is what it feels like.

Fiction is democratic, it reasserts the authority of the single mind to make and remake the world. By its independence from all institutions, from the family to the government, and with no responsibility to defend their hypocrisy or murderousness, it is a valuable resource and instrument of survival.

Fiction gives counsel. It connects the present with the past, and the visible with the invisible. It distributes the suffering. It says we must compose ourselves in our stories in order to exist. It says if we don’t do it, someone else will do it for us.

特に最後の部分It says if we don’t do it, someone else will do it for us.が自分には重要です。結局、自分でやらないと、他の誰かの借り物に頼らなくてはいけないのですから。ただ、自分のものを作り上げるには大変な思いも必要でしょう。彼はyou're writing to find out what you're writingとも語っています。

REHM: Now, is there a new novel already in the works?
DOCTOROW: There is one. It's sort of at the beginning of things, yeah. It's at that stage where something is calling to you, but you don't quite know what it is. And so you're writing to find out what you're writing, actually. That's the way it is.
REHM: That must create a lot of insecurity on the part of a writer.
DOCTOROW: Well, I don't know if it's insecurity. At this point I'm really so used to it. It's quite an irrational way to live, actually. But it's the way I've been going along for many, many years.