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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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ディヴィッド・ミッチェルによる『砂の女』の書評

 

Woman in the Dunes (Vintage International)Woman in the Dunes (Vintage International)
(1991/04/16)
Kobo Abe

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今年は安部公房の没後20周年にあたりますが、先ほどの記事を書いているときに、『クラウドアトラス』を書いたディヴィッド・ミッチェルが安部公房の『砂の女』の書評を書いている記事をみつけました。

この書評は2006年にペンギンクラシックスとして『砂の女』と『他人の顔』が再刊されるために、日本に住んでいたディヴィッド・ミッチェルに依頼したという感じでしょうか。

• The Woman in the Dunes and The Face of Another by Kobo Abe are reissued by Penguin Classics this month. To order a copy of The Woman in the Dunes for £8.99 with free UK p&p call Guardian book service on 0870 836 0875. The DVD is rereleased by BFI Video Publishing (£19.99).


No escape
Is Kobe Abe's strange, bleak novel The Woman in the Dunes, about a man imprisoned in a pit of sand, a parable of damnation or salvation? Both, argues David Mitchell. It is a metaphor for the human predicament
David Mitchell
The Guardian, Saturday 7 October 2006

Words checked = [1915]
Words in Oxford 3000™ = [81%]


安部公房の生い立ちなどにも触れていてる随分長い書評で、内容も少し難しいです。例えば部落民の問題も指摘しています。

Things fail to go as planned, and the woman reveals a more chilling face. She tells the man how the village union sells sand illegally to a concrete manufacturer. The man fulminates that this would endanger the lives of all those dependent on dams not bursting and bridges not collapsing. The woman replies, accusingly, "Why should we worry what happens to other people?" A Japanese reader of The Woman in the Dunes is invited to assume that the villagers are burakumin, the little-discussed caste of untouchables historically obliged to work in "unclean" trades such as butchery, tanning or sewage removal and live where nobody else wanted to, and who were considered little better than animals. The villagers thus have just cause to distrust - to despise - a mainstream society that has always oppressed them.

The novel is not an apologia for the burakumin, but it does suggest that the man is trapped in a class war - or caste war - unacknowledged by society at large, yet taken for granted by the burakumin. This flash of relativism challenges the man's conviction that he is the innocent victim and the villagers the guilty perpetrators.

舞台監督、詩人でもあった安部公房ならではの文体を指摘しているところは作家ならではの詩的かもしれません。

Abe is an accomplished stylist. He was apt to frame his novels in "found" notebooks or other written artefacts, and The Woman in the Dunes closes with the missing persons report mentioned on its first page. It includes a page or two of its protagonist's jottings to himself; a dream, a hallucinatory flashback here and there, but the structure is simple and linear. The language, in E Dale Saunders' prudent and still crisp 1964 translation, has the clarity of a parable. Abe's first publication in 1947 was a privately mimeographed book entitled Poems of an Unknown Poet (Mumei Shishu), and the poet's eye - and discretion - informs Abe's use of imagery in his novels: "the sun was boiling mercury"; "it was like trying to build a house in the sea by brushing the water aside".

A further point of stylistic interest in many of Abe's novels is the sparseness both of their casts and their locations. Most of The Woman in the Dunes occurs either inside or immediately outside the woman's house, almost as if it were conceived for the theatre. Abe also enjoyed an international reputation as a playwright, and Abe the Stylist was informed by Abe the Stage Manager as well as Abe the Poet.

「鳥のように、飛び立ちたいと願う自由もあれば、巣ごもって、誰からも邪魔されまいと願う自由もある。飛砂におそわれ、埋もれていく、ある貧しい海辺の村にとらえられた一人の男が、村の女と、砂掻きの仕事から、いかにして脱出をなしえたか――色も、匂いもない、砂との闘いを通じて、その二つの自由の関係を追求してみたのが、この作品である。砂を舐めてみなければ、おそらく希望の味も分るまい」という安部公房自身の解説を読んでからだと以下の部分は少し分かりやすくなるかもしれません。

For this reader, the novel flaunts its symbolic and literal point and counter-point in its title. The woman is the animate; the mortal; the flesh; the impetus for sex; consolation in the cell of the unendurable. The dunes are the inanimate; the eternal; what confines us; the unendurable itself. Sand permeates the novel like a third major character. Sand gets in the food, the house, in clothes, into clocks. It is while brushing sand off each other's bodies that the man and the woman are ushered into sex. The sand of these dunes, laden with dampness, does not preserve but rots everything it touches: wood, leather, fabric, "morality". Like time itself, "Sand not only flows, but this very flow is the sand". To combat its voracity is what requires hapless men to be held captive in the first place. Sand is the prison: literally, symbolically; and not just for the man. We, too, are down in this burning sandpit. We, too, must spend a lifetime doing a job as meaningless (to the universe at large, if not to ourselves) as shovelling never-ending deposits of sand into buckets, getting nothing for our pains but the barest essentials. As we read about the man's predicament, existentially speaking, we are reading about our own.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. Buddhism is predicated on the impermanence of all things, including Buddhism. In a not dissimilar way, the meditations on freedom, captivity, the transient and the immutable in The Woman in the Dunes invite, and allow for, misinterpretations - which might be another word for "reinterpretations". Even the novel's opening epigram, "Without the threat of punishment there is no joy in flight", has fuzzy edges: is this an oppressor's justification or a would-be fugitive's consolation?

勅使河原宏監督で、武満徹音楽の映画も評価が高いですね。音楽家のグールドが好きな映画としてこの映画をあげて、100回以上も観たといっていたようです。

GLENN GOULD FROM A TO Z (BY MICHAEL STEGEMANN)
Film

Gould in turn was a self-confessed cineaste – his favourite film was Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes (1964).






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