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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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Man with no fixed addressになってから25年

 

The Satanic VersesThe Satanic Verses
(1992/04)
Salman Rushdie

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1989年の出来事として、ラシュディの『悪魔の詩』の一件も忘れられないものです。表現の自由について、どう対応すべきか、作家の間でも賛否があったようです。当時の状況をラシュディを支えた作家たちを交えた視点も含めて振り返った記事がVanity Fairにありました。ラシュディ本人は数年前に自伝を書いていますね。

このブログでは何度も言っていることですが、「多読が大事だ」なんて能書き垂れる前にVanity Fair, New Yorker, Atlantic, Harper’sなどの良質の文芸雑誌を読んでいくのが一番です。


A Fundamental Fight
When Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or death sentence, on Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, 25 years ago, the novel became more than literature. Talking to Rushdie and those who stood beside him—Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, E. L. Doctorow, and others—Paul Elie assesses the extraordinary impact of a prophetic, provocative book, which turned its author into a hunted man, divided the cultural elite, and presaged a new era.
By Paul Elie

ラシュディを支えた作家達はAnnie Leibovitzの撮影した写真でご確認いただけますが、ポールオースターなんかもいます。

It works so well that it keeps us from seeing how powerfully the novel and the fatwa defined the age for the people who knew Rushdie then, worked on the book, and stood up for it. Twenty-five years later, they decided to retrace those terrifying months, as did the author, who opened up to Vanity Fair.
“The Satanic Verses is the first chapter of the very long and unpleasant story that has, as one chapter, 9/11,” Ian McEwan says. “I initially read the book in purely literary terms—as an extraordinarily playful, exceedingly intelligent novel—and it’s taken all this time to wrench it back into the realm of the literary.”
“It was the first taste we had of the theocratic sensibility,” remarks E. L. Doctorow, who was active in a campaign by PEN (the global organization devoted to defending free expression) in support of The Satanic Verses. “It was our first taste of the relationship between faith and violence in that part of the world.”
Martin Amis (who in a 1990 piece in Vanity Fair profiled his friend who had “vanished into the front page”) says the controversy forced writers to be “more serious” about their work—and their rivals’ work, too. “The notion that writers are a bitchy, touchy, catty, competitive crowd, always scoring points off each other—this was absolutely obliterated by the Rushdie affair,” he believes. “Any writer who was bitchy or catty looked very trivial after the fatwa, because it was a matter of life and death.”

賛成人がいるということは、反対する人もいます。ルカレやナイポール、ダールなんかが反対していたそうです。

Then the fatwa against The Satanic Verses came down and things turned nasty, and London literary society took sides.

“Nobody has a God-given right to insult a great religion,” John le Carré bellowed in The Guardian, “and be published with impunity.” He also proposed that Rushdie do the right thing and withdraw the book. V. S. Naipaul, who felt he had been taken to task for his own acid portrait of Khomeini in Among the Believers, decried the support for Rushdie as hypocrisy: “Certain causes are good, and then other causes become good. Now the good people are saying something else. I wish the good people were a little more consistent.”

Germaine Greer (that good feminist) would eventually mock Rushdie as “a megalomaniac, an Englishman with dark skin.” John Berger (that good Marxist) urged Rushdie to tell his publishers to cease and desist so as to stop a “holy war” before it started.

Roald Dahl (beloved children’s-book author, professed anti-Semite) was the most open in his contempt. “Clearly he has profound knowledge of the Muslim religion and its people and he must have been totally aware of the deep and violent feelings his book would stir up among devout Muslims. In other words, he knew exactly what he was doing and he cannot plead otherwise.” The Satanic Verses was selling strongly, and Dahl insisted that Rushdie had stirred up trouble to get “an indifferent book onto the top of the bestseller list.” Dahl added dismissively: “He seems to be regarded as some sort of a hero. . . . To my mind, he is a dangerous opportunist.”

支える中でのクライマックスは作家達がラシュディの読書会を開いたことでしょうか。”Today we are all Salman Rushdie.”という連帯を示した作家の言葉は2001年に911テロでルモンドの社説が書いた“Nous Sommes Tous Américains” (We are all Americans)に通じるものがありますね。

The idea for the gathering came from Gerald Marzorati, who had carved out an excerpt of the book that ran in the December Harper’s, and then wrote a Rushdie profile for The New York Times Magazine. Why not a public reading of Rushdie’s novel, to be coordinated by PEN and Harper’s publisher John “Rick” MacArthur? “I was given the task of choosing excerpts because very few people in New York had actually read the book,” Marzorati says, pointing out that the roster of participants was very broad—from Abbie Hoffman on the left to Midge Decter on the right. Edward Said was there; so was Leon Wieseltier. Robert Caro was there; so was Tom Wolfe. Joan Didion was there; so was Larry McMurtry.

The Columns held 500 people, and as the writers entered, cries could be heard from the demonstrators outside. “Death to Rushdie! Death to Rushdie!”

The first author stood up to read, and his opening remark was a kind of answer. “My name is Robert Stone,” he said, “but today we are all Salman Rushdie.”


今では『悪魔の詩』は現在英文学の古典になっていると記事は締めています。

“The fact of being alive compensated for what life did to one,” Rushdie wrote in The Satanic Verses, and he has asserted the fact of his aliveness. In the quarter-century since the fatwa, he has published a dozen books and given scores of public readings and addresses. In 2007 departing prime minister Tony Blair successfully recommended him for knighthood. He has fulfilled a lifelong dream of adapting Midnight’s Children into a feature film. And he has seen The Satanic Verses become, remarkably, just another great book on history’s shelf, regarded less as a forbidden book (talk of the fatwa has diminished with the years) than as a classic of contemporary English-language literature.


もちろんタブーを書けば名作になるというような単純な図式ではないことは念頭に置く必要があるでしょう。。。
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