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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Elegy

 


ノーベル賞作家ナイポールが亡くなったそうですが、ガーディアンの記事でテニスンの詩に触れていました。

Trinidad-born author won both acclaim and disdain for his caustic portrayals, in novels and non-fiction, of the legacy of colonialism
Richard Lea
Sat 11 Aug 2018

Mail on Sunday editor and friend Geordie Greig told BBC Radio 4 that he was at Naipaul’s bedside when he died. “Nadira talked about a poem by Lord Tennyson, Crossing the Bar, which had great resonance and meaning to him and I just turned on my phone and found it and we read it.”

He added: “He drifted off and it was peaceful and very sad but what a life, what an achievement, what a legacy.”

英文学に詳しい方だったら"Crossing the Bar"という題名を聞いただけでどんな内容か想像でき死期が迫った作家が共感するものだとわかるのでしょうね。

(Wikipedia)
"Crossing the Bar" is an 1889 poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It is considered that Tennyson wrote it in elegy; the poem has a tone of finality and the narrator uses an extended metaphor to compare death with crossing the "sandbar" between river of life, with its outgoing "flood", and the ocean that lies beyond [death], the "boundless deep", to which we return.

この詩の内容は例えばこちらのサイトなどで詳しく説明してくださっています。

Crossing the Bar
Alfred Tennyson

Sunset and evening star
   And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
   When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
   Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
   Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
   And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
   When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
   The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
   When I have crossed the bar.

starとbarやmeとseaのように韻になっています。

(Wikipedia)
The poem contains four stanzas that generally alternate between long and short lines. Tennyson employs a traditional ABAB rhyme scheme. Scholars have noted that the form of the poem follows the content: the wavelike quality of the long-then-short lines parallels the narrative thread of the poem.

詩の内容などに関して、分かりやすい英語で説明してくれているサイトもありました。

病床に臥した方がこの詩を聞いていたというエピソードを書いていた日本人の方のブログも見つけました。こういうのも文学の力と言えるのかもしれません。

ナイポールはガーディアンの社説のように偏見のある作家というYutaの偏見から一冊も読んだことがありません。色々問題のある人でもあったようですね。

Editorial

Nevertheless, Naipaul’s particular point of view on the travails of colonialism and post-colonialism – both in his novels and in travel books such as Among the Believers (1981) – earned him severe criticism. The Palestinian intellectual Edward Said found his picture of Islam unforgivably ignorant and cliched, and accused him of absorbing and repeating pernicious and misleading colonialist mythologies. As a man, Naipaul’s sheer naked honesty about his own unpleasant, sometimes violent behaviour was bracing, and threatened at times to overwhelm his purely literary reputation. He told his biographer, Patrick French, for example, about how he had beaten his lover, Margaret Gooding, so badly around the face that she was unable to appear in public. He did not seek to hide the endless humiliation he visited upon his first wife, Patricia Hale. Lesser sins included being magisterially hypocritical about fellow authors, revering Anthony Powell, for example, to his face while deprecating him in private; and an overwhelming arrogance about his own gifts that, while justified, was not exactly attractive.

もちろんだからと言って読まなくていい作家ではないようで、この社説でもそのように述べています。

Naipaul’s legacy will never be entirely straightforward – which does not mean he should not be read, enjoyed, debated and critiqued. Salman Rushdie’s brief tribute to Naipaul indicates the complexities: “We disagreed all our lives, about politics, about literature, and I feel as sad as if I just lost a beloved older brother,” he wrote on Twitter. In an era that yearns to render life in black and white, the complications of VS Naipaul are a reminder that it is more wisely seen in shades of grey.

それに斎藤 兆史さんもお勧めの現代作家の3人のうちの一人にナイポールを選んでいるんですよね。

斎藤 兆史

私自身が現代日本の英語学習者 - とくに教養ある英語を身につけたいと願う上級の学習者 - に勧めることにしている現代の作家・作品を紹介しておきます。

食わず嫌いもいけないですから、時間があれば読んでみようかなと思います。
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