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第七十二期杂志——老年究竟是何种模样?

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    本帖最后由 小山林卡 于 2017-11-14 12:19 编辑
    OCTOBER 1, 2015
    2015.10.1
    关键词:变老,老年状态,文学作品

    What Old Age Is Really Like
    老年究竟是何种模样?
    德温·达维
    Dovey-What-It-Feels-Like-to-Be-Old.jpg


    Old age is perplexing to imagine in part because the definition of it isnotoriously unstable. As people age, they tend to move the goalposts that markout major life stages.
    许多人对老年阶段感到困惑,部分的原因在于它的多变性:众所周知,关于老年的定义并不是一成不变的。着人们年龄不断增长,他们生命中重要阶段的标志也随之改变。

    CREDITILLUSTRATION BY WESLEY ALLSBROOK
    CREDITILLUSTRATION 插画/韦斯利·阿尔斯鲁克



    Part 1

    What does it feel like to be old? Not middle-aged,or late-middle-aged, but one of the members of the fastest-growing demographic:the “oldest old,” those aged eighty-five and above? This has been the questionanimating me for a couple of years, as I’ve tried to write a novel from theperspective of a man in his late eighties. The aging population is on ourcollective minds; a statistic that intrigued me is that the average lifeexpectancy in the U.K.—and, by extension, most of the rich West—is increasing bymore than five hours a day, every day. I’m in my mid-thirties, but feltconfident that I could imagine my way into old age. How hard could it be,really?
    变老是什么感觉?不是中年,或者中老年,而是“高龄老人”——那些年龄在八十五岁及以上,已然成为人口统计中数量增长最快的那群人。近几年这个问题一直启发着我,因为我正试图从一位八十多岁的男性的视角出发,来创作一本小说。老年群体存在于我们的集体意识中;一项数据统计激发了我的好奇心,英国平均预期寿命——引申开来,大部分富裕的西方国家也是如此——每天增长五个多小时。我现在三十五岁,不过我确信能想象出自己以后变老的画面。这不是什么难事儿,对吧?

    Somewhere along the way, though, things went wrong.My protagonist became Generic Old Man: crabby, computer illiterate, grievingfor his dementia-addled wife. Not satisfied to leave him to his misery, Iforced on him a new love interest, Eccentric Old Woman: radical, full ofenergy, a fan of wearing magenta turbans and handing out safe-sex pamphletsoutside retirement homes.
    然而在创作的途中某些地方出了差错。我的这位主角变成了一个普通的老人:脾气暴躁,不懂电脑,因为妻子患有老年痴呆而悲痛不已。我不想看他这么痛苦,因此强制性给他安排了一个新的恋爱角色——一个古怪的老妇女:激进,精力充沛,喜欢戴洋红色的穆斯林头巾,乐此不疲地在养老院外散发宣传安全性爱的小册子。

    In other words, I modelled mycharacters on the two dominant cultural constructions of old age: thedoddering, depressed pensioner and the ageless-in-spirit, quirky oddball. Afterreading the first draft, an editor I respect said to me, “But what else arethey, other than old?” I was mortified, and began to ask myself somesoul-searching questions that I should have answered long before I’d writtenthe opening word.
    换而言之,我书中人物的原型,便是主流文化建构的两种老年人的形象:一种步履蹒跚,萎靡不振,靠着救济金过活;另一种则是元气满满,举止离奇的怪胎。我相当尊重的一位编辑读完第一稿之后跟我说,“可是他们除了老,还有什么特点呢?”我觉得很羞愧,然后开始深刻的自我反省,扪心自问那些我在提笔写作之前早应该回答的问题。


    The first was: Why did I soblithely assume that I had the right to imagine my way into old age—and that Icould do it well—when I would approach with extreme caution the task ofimagining my way into the interior world of a character of a different gender,race, or class? Had I assumed that anybody elderly who might happen to read thebook would simply be grateful that someone much younger was interested in hisor her experience, and forgive my stereotyping?
    首先一个问题:当我设想自己进入一个不同性别、种族或是阶层的角色的内心世界时,都是极其小心的;那我为什么会如此天真地认为自己有权利去想像如何步入老年,而且认定自己将会做的很好呢?我是不是以为如果有老年人恰好读到这本书,他们会很感激这个比他们年轻很多的人对他或她的经历该兴趣,从而原谅我的刻板成见呢?

    The conundrum of who has the authority to writeabout old age is that, unlike the subjective experience of most imaginedOthers, seniority is something that many of us will eventually experience forourselves. By contrast, I can imagine what it might be like to be a man, forexample, but won’t ever know for sure. As the literary scholar Sarah Falcuswrites, building on the work of Sally Chivers, “We may all have amore mobile relationship to age than to other perspectives or subject positions… because we are all aging at any one moment.” Yet just because I may, one day,know if I got it right—perhaps, to my surprise, I will find the world of my ownold age populated entirely by grumpy old men and old women who are either lostto dementia or sprightly and renegade—doesn’t mean that I should be cavalierabout how I imagine my elderly characters now. Of course, like any fictionalrepresentation, old age can be done well or badly regardless ofone’s own positioning as an author, but there’s less chance of being called outon hackneyed depictions of old age, in part because those in the know—theover-eighty-five-year-olds themselves—haven’t historically had any culturalpower.
    确定谁有权描写老年生活的难度在于,与其他臆想角色的主观经验不同,变老是我们每个人最终都会经历的事。与之相反,我可以想象自己,比如说,变成一个男人,但却永远不会确切知道成为变成男人的滋味。正如文学学者萨拉·福尔克斯根据萨利·奇弗斯的作品所写的那样,“我们与年龄之间的关系,相比于其他观点或主体位置,或许更加具有流动性…因为我们每时每刻都在变老。”然而仅仅或许因为某一天,我就会知道,自己的想法正确与否——也许那天我会惊讶地发现,老了以后的世界充斥着脾气暴躁的老头和老太太,要么败给了老年痴呆,要么就是精力充沛离经叛道——但这并不意味着我现在可以漫不经心地设想那位老年人的形象了。当然,同与任意一种小说虚构的再现一样,不管作者立场如何,老年的形象也可以表现的有好有坏。但很少有说这些关于老年的描述平淡无味,乏善可陈,部分原因在于那些了解这种生活的人,即那群八十五岁及以上的老人们自己,以往就没有文化权利。

    Stereotypes of old age, whether positive ornegative, do real harm in the real world, argues Lynne Segal, the author of “Outof Time: The Pleasures and the Perils of Ageing” (2013). She saysthat the biggest problem for many older people is “ageism, rather than the processof aging itself.” There is no possibility of diversified, personal approachesto aging if we are all reductively “aged by culture,” to use the age criticMargaret Morganroth Gullette’s iconic phrase, from her 2004 book, “Aged byCulture.” Gullette highlights the limitations of having only two sociallyaccepted narratives of aging: stories of progress or stories of decline.Neither does justice to the “radical ambiguities” of old age,Segal says. We’re forced either to lament or to celebrate old age, rather thansimply “affirm it as a significant part of life.”
    《时日无多:变老的快乐与危险》(2013)的作者琳妮·西格尔说过,对老年的刻板印象,不管是正面的还是负面的,都会在现实世界造成实际伤害。她说,对很多老年人来说,最大的问题是“对年龄本身的歧视而非变老的这一过程。”引用批评家玛格丽特·摩根罗斯·古丽特在其2004年出版的《文化衰老》中标志性的措辞,如果我们全体都被“文化衰老”而不断衰减,那多样个性化的变老进程将不复存在。古丽特强调了社会认可变老模式的局限性:只有两种,要么前进,要么倒退。西格尔认为,这两者都没有对老年的“根本上的模糊性”做出正确的评价。我们被迫哀悼或者庆祝老年,而不是简单地“把它看作是生活中重要的一部分。”

    Old age is perplexing to imagine in part becausethe definition of it is notoriously unstable. As people age, they tend to movethe goalposts that mark out major life stages: a 2009 survey ofAmerican attitudes toward old age found that young adults (those betweeneighteen and twenty-nine) said that old age begins at sixty; middle-agedrespondents said seventy; and those above the age of sixty-five put thethreshold at seventy-four. We tend to feel younger as we get older: almost halfthe respondents aged fifty or more reported feeling at least ten years youngerthan their actual age, while a third of respondents aged sixty-five or moresaid that they felt up to nineteen years younger.
    许多人对老年阶段感到困惑,部分的原因在于它的多变性:众所周知,关于老年的定义并不是一成不变的。随着人们慢慢变老,他们会自然将标志重要人生阶段的时间点后移。2009年美国人对老年态度的一项调查显示,青年人(18——29岁之间)认为六十岁开始就算老年;中年调查对象则认为老年是从七十岁开始;六十五岁以上的调查对象则将老年的门槛提高到了七十五岁。随着我们逐渐变老,我们会觉得自己更年轻了:年龄在五十岁以上的调查对象里,有接近一半报告说自己觉得比实际年龄至少年轻十岁,年龄六十五岁以上的调查对象里有三分之一表示他们觉得自己比实际年龄年轻十九岁。

    The researchers also found “a sizable gap betweenthe expectations that young and middle-aged adults have about old age and theactual experiences reported by older Americans themselves.” Young andmiddle-aged adults anticipate the “negative benchmarks” associated with aging(such as memory loss, illness, or an end to sexual activity) at much higherlevels than the old report experiencing them. However, the elderly also reportexperiencing fewer of the benefits that younger adults expect old age to bring(such as more time for travel, hobbies, or volunteer work).
    调查者们同时发现“青年人和中年人对老年的预期和美国老年人的真实经历相差很大。”年轻人和中年人预期变老带来的“负面基准”(比如记忆缺失,疾病,或性生活终结)比老年人的实际经历数据高很多。然而,老年人也反应,变老后得到的好处(比如旅行、发展爱好或志愿工作的时间会增多)也比年轻的成年人想象中的要少。

    These perceptual gaps betweengenerations are large and persistent. Simone de Beauvoir, in her exhaustivestudy “The Coming of Age” (published in 1970, when she was sixty-two), wrote,“Old age is particularly difficult to assume because we have always regarded itas something alien, a foreign species.” The anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff,who made the documentary film “In Her Time,” about a community of elderlyCalifornians, when she was in her forties, believed that “we are dehumanizedand impoverished without our old people, for only by contact with them can wecome to know ourselves.”
    几代人之间的感知差异巨大且稳定。西蒙·波娃,在她详尽研究的著作《老年来了》(1970年出版,她当时六十二岁)中写道:“老年相当难以想象,因为我们总是把它看作异形,当作外来物种。”人类学家芭芭拉·耶霍夫曾拍摄记录电影《她的年代》,讲述了一个社区里的老年加利福利亚人的故事,当时她四十多岁,坚信着“没有老年人,我们会失去人性,变得贫穷,因为只有和他们交流,我们才能了解自己。”

    Even more confusingly, we don’texperience old age identically. As Germaine Greer puts it, “Nobody ages likeanybody else.” The poet Fleur Adcock, who is eighty-one, says “this great rangeof abilities and states of health confuses the young: they can’t figure usout.” We age as individuals and as members of particular social contexts, yetthe shared experience of old age continues to be overstated. Theeighty-two-year-old British novelist Penelope Lively writes that herdemographic has “nothing much in common except the accretion of years, ahistorical context, and a generous range of ailments.” At the same time, though,she warns that aging is such a “commonplace experience” that nobody should“behave as though … uniquely afflicted.”
    更令人困惑的是,我们进入老年后经历各不相同。正如杰曼·格里尔所说,“每个人变老都不尽相同”诗人弗勒·爱德考克现年八十一岁,他说“能力和健康状态的差距会让年轻人觉得疑惑:他们无法理解我们。”作为个体我们在变老,同时我们也是特定的社会情境下的一份子,然而对于老年我们所认同的经验之谈确实被夸大了。八十二岁的英国小说家佩内洛普·莱夫利写道,她这个年龄段,“除了增长的年岁,历史的沉淀以及大大小小不断的病痛之外,再无相似之处””然而同时,她警告说,变老是“司空见惯的经历”,人们不应该“表现得好像…只有特定的人群受到了影响一样。”

    The actress Juliet Stevenson, who is in her latefifties, recently commented that “as you go through life it gets more and moreinteresting and complicated, but the parts offered get more and more simple,and less complicated.” The same could be said for the dearth of good roles forold characters in literature. Lively believes that “old age is foreverstereotyped … from the smiling old dear to the grumbling curmudgeon.” Infiction, she says, the stereotypes “are rife—indeed fiction is perhapsresponsible for the standard perception of the old, with just a few writersable to raise the game.”·      
    女演员茱丽叶特·斯蒂文森年近花甲,她最近评论道“随着你走过生命长河,生活变得越来越有趣而复杂,可是你所能扮演的角色却越来越简单,不再如此繁复。”这句话同样适用于文学作品中很少出现讨喜的老年人角色。莱夫利认为“老年形象永远被模式化了…从和蔼可亲的笑盈盈的老人到脾气乖戾怨声载道的老人。”她说,在小说里,刻板印象“很普遍——事实上,小说或许也是对老年那种标准化认知形成的原因所在,只有少数几个作者能够有所突破。”

    I started to realize that, in creating my spunkyelderly female character, I had romanticized the version of old age that tellsa story of progress, indulging a fantasy of who I might be when I’m old. Whenwriting her, I had been thinking of Jenny Joseph’s “Warning,” regularly votedthe U.K.’s favorite postwar poem, in which the youngspeaker imagines with longing the freedoms of rebellious old age and theprospect of making up for the “sobriety of youth.” I’m hardly a renegade now,however, so why did I harbor the illusion that as I get older I will somehowthrow off the shackles of propriety? Most of what has been written in thesociological literature about life in our seventies, eighties, and ninetiessuggests that who we are when we are old remains pretty close to who we werewhen we were young. There is comfort in the idea of some consistency of selfacross the decades. While sometimes distressing, the denialism ofold age—think of the sixty-three-year-old Freud’s horror at realizing that theelderly gentleman he’s glimpsed on the train is in fact his own reflection, orthe scientist Lewis Wolpert’s lament, “How can a seventeen-year-old like mesuddenly be eighty-one?”—is also proof of our ability to remain on intimateterms with younger versions of ourself. “Live in the layers, / not on thelitter,” as the Stanley Kunitz poem goes, and he knew what he was talkingabout: he became Poet Laureate of the United Statesat the age of ninety-five.
    我开始意识到,在创作精神奕奕的老年女性角色的时候,我把老年理想化了,把我对自己变老后的幻想加了进去,讲述了一个积极向上的故事。在描写她的时候,我一直在思考詹妮·约瑟夫的《预言》,它常被评选为英国最受欢迎的战后诗歌,讲述年轻的诗人怀着渴望幻想老年时能获得的不羁和自由,以及对弥补“年轻时的克制”的期待。然而,我现在算不上是离经叛道,那我为什么还执着于幻想老了之后却要摆脱礼节枷锁的桎梏?大部分社会学文献里面所描写的七十、八十乃至九十岁的生活表明,我们变老的时候的自我与年轻时相差无几。历经数十载仍能保持本心,也何尝不是一种慰藉。尽管有时候令人感到沮丧,对老年的否定——想一想六十三岁高龄的弗洛伊德突然意识到,他在火车上瞥到的老绅士正是他自己倒影时的恐惧,或者科学家路易斯·沃尔伯特的哀叹,“十八岁的我怎么突然变成八十一了?”——也能证明我们有能力同更年轻的自我保持亲密的关系,正如斯坦利·库尼茨的诗歌里所说,“活在岁月中,莫活在垃圾堆上,”而且他很清楚自己在说什么:他九十五岁时成为美国桂冠诗人。

    Another aspect of my fantasy was that old age is aconsistently satisfying bookend to a shapely arc of a life, a time for gettingthings in order. But in this, I was ignoring the fact that old people are justas vulnerable to disorder, not to mention happenstance, caprice, and bad luck,as anybody else. Grasping for closure might be the goal of fiction, but it isnot necessarily the lived experience of old age. As Helen Small writesin “The Long Life,” her study of the literature and philosophyof old age, “declining to describe our lives as unified stories … is the onlyway we can hope to live out our time other than as tragedy.” Lively describesthe frustrations of autobiographical memory in oldage. “The novelist in me—the reader, too—wants shape and structure,development, a theme, insights,” she writes. “Instead of which, there is thisassortment of slides, some of them welcome, others not at all, defying,refusing structure.” After reading the stories in “StoneMattress,” by Margaret Atwood, who is now seventy-five, I began to questionmy portrayal of old age as a time for the tying up of loose ends; as onereviewer wrote, Atwood’sstories depict “the stored-up rancour that one can amass over the years.” Manyof her characters express a desire for revenge over reconciliation.
    我对老年的另一层面幻想,便是它一贯都对应着人生轨迹中令人满意的,已经定型的一段时期,一切都是井然有序的。但是在这里,我忽略了一个现实,正如其他人一样,老年人同样容易受到混乱无序的影响,更不用说意外事件、反复无常和厄运了。急切地寻求结果可能是小说的目标,但它并不一定是老年生活的真实体验。正如海伦·斯莫尔在她研究文学和哲学里老年形象的书《漫长的生命》中写到的那样,“拒绝将我们的一生描述成一样的故事……这是我们能活下去而不是成为一个悲剧的唯一希望。”生动地描述了她自传回忆老年阶段的挫败感。“我身体里的小说家——还有读者——想组织塑造,创作,一个主题,见解深刻的主题.”她写道,“与之相反的,却是各种动摇情绪的集合体,有些欢迎着,有些则完全相反,反抗拒绝着这样的组建。”读完现年七十五岁的玛格丽特·阿特伍德写的故事《石床垫》后,我开始质疑自己将老年描述成一段处理解决零碎事情的时间是否正确;正如一位评论家写的那样,阿特伍德的小说描述了“一个人积压多年的怨念。”她的许多角色都表达了一种报复的渴望而不是和解的冲动。

    I’m not alone, among my generation, in falling intothis trap of positive stereotyping. A friend my age who is in medical schoolrecently chose to specialize in geriatrics, and over drinks with some otherdoctors she was asked why. “Because I love old people,” she replied. “I likehearing their stories and what they have to say about the world.” One of thechronology doctors made a dismissive sound. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he said.“Old people are just regular people who happen to be old.” My friend stuckwith geriatrics, but realized that she had been fostering anidealized notion of the elderly. “At the end of the day,” she told me, “an oldperson can be just as trying as any other person; just as messy, just asunthankful.”
    我不是这代人中唯一一个陷入这种正面偏见的人。我的一个朋友和我年纪相仿,她最近在医学院选择了老年病专业,在和其他医生喝酒闲聊时,她被问及选择这个专业的原因。“因为我喜欢老年人”她回答道。“我喜欢听他们的故事,喜欢听他们对世界的见解。”其中一位上了年纪的医生发出了不屑的声音。“别傻了,”他说到,“老年人就是些普通人,不过是老了而已。”我的朋友还是坚持选择了老年病专业,不过她意识到了她之前将老年人的的形象理想化了。“到生命的最后,”她告诉我,“老年人和其他人一样会令人厌烦;和其他人一样脏乱不堪,不知感恩。”

    She has alsobecome wary of her instinctual empathy impulse when dealing with elderlypatients. In this, she draws on the academic work of Kate Rossiter, whoadvocates fostering “ethical responsibility” rather than empathy in medicalpractitioners. “There’s something almost greedy about empathy, because itrelies on the notion that we can somehow assimilate the other,” my friendexplained. “A respectful and thoughtful distance is also part of what enablesus to respond to the other’s needs.”A few years before he died, at the age ofeighty-nine, the literary critic Frank Kermode wrote that “the young knownothing directly about old age and their inquiries into the topic must be doneblind.” Perhaps this is why younger artists seem to get waylaid by the sametropes: we are sometimes tempted to imagine old age as one big, funny,wisdom-rich adventure, with the comic caper a stalwart of the form, from the film“Grumpy Old Men” to the novel (and later film) “The Hundred-Year-Old Man WhoClimbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” (one film critic has dubbed thisgenre Old People Behaving Hilariously). At the other extreme are themind-disease psycho-dramas that we might call Old People BehavingTerrifyingly—recent novels like “The Farm” or “Elizabeth is Missing,” or thefilms “Iris” or “The Iron Lady.” As Sally Chiversargues in “The Silvering Screen: Old Age andDisability in Cinema” (2011), “in the public imagination … old age does notever escape the stigma and restraints imposed upon disability.”
    同时,她开始在和老年病人打交道时警惕自己发自本能出于同情的冲动。为此,她阅读了凯特·罗西特的学术著作,凯特·罗西特提倡培养“道德责任感”而不是医师的感情移入。“同情心有些时候可以说得上是泛滥的,因为它基于一个认知便是我们可以用某种方式将他人同化。”我的朋友解释道。“一段礼貌体贴的距离也是令我们能回应他人需要的原因之一。”文学评论家弗兰克·克默德在去世前,纪念八十九岁高龄时写道“年轻人对老年没有直观认识,他们对这一主题的研究必须摸索着来。”或许这就是年轻的艺术家们总是被同样的问题绊住的原因:我们有时会禁不住将老年幻想成一场巨大,有趣,充满智慧的冒险,反英雄犯罪小说是其最为坚定的形式,无论是电影《坏脾气老头》还是小说(后来也被改编成电影)《百岁老人爬窗消失记》(一位电影评论员将此类型称为举止滑稽的老人片)。另一种极端的例子便是精神上患有疾病,疯疯癫癫的,我们或许可以称之为举止可怕的老人——比如最近的小说《农场》或者《伊丽莎白不见了》,或者电影《爱丽丝》或《铁娘子》。正如莎莉·奇弗斯在《银幕:电影中的老年和残障者形象》(2011)里所说,“在大众的想象里……老年从未逃脱强加于其上的缺陷所带来的耻辱和束缚。”


    There are notable exceptions, of course, and too many to mention in fullhere. Lynne Segal, the author who warned against the negative impact ofstereotypes of old age, admires the work of Julian Barnes. Even as a youngwriter, she believes, he had an uncanny ability to write old age well. Perhapsthis is because he is a “thanataphobe,” as he puts itin his recent memoir, “Nothing to Be Frightened Of” (published when he wassixty-two); that is, he is more afraid of death than of old age, and so hiselderly characters—in, say, “Staring at the Sun” (published when Barnes wasforty)—are void, to Segal, of “any of the customary expressions of horroraccompanying the portrayals of old age.” In this way, Barnes also manages tocapture the unexpected indifference of many old people to death; as Lively haswritten, “Many of us who are on the last lap are too busy with the baggage ofold age to waste much time anticipating the finish line.”
    当然,也有很多值得注意的例外情况,在此无法全部例举出来。琳妮·西格尔,那个警告我们注意对老年的刻板印象会带来负面影响的女作家,推崇朱利安·巴恩斯的作品。她认为,尽管他是一位年轻作家,却有一种神奇的能力,能将老年描写得非常到位。或许正如他在最近的回忆录(六十二岁时出版)“无所畏惧”中所说,他“对死亡怀有恐惧”;也就是说,比起老年,他更害怕死亡,所以对西格尔来说,巴恩斯小说中的老年角色——以其四十岁出版的《凝视太阳》为例——都没有“任何在描述老年时所惯有的对恐惧的表达。”巴恩斯同样以这种方式记录下了很多老年人对死亡出人意料的漠不关心的态度;正如莱夫利写的那样,“我们很多人进入人生最后阶段的时候,忙于处理老年期的负担,而无法抽出时间展望生命的终点。”

    The Scottish writer Muriel Spark has also beencommended by authors who are themselves elderly, including Lively and herfellow British novelist Paul Bailey, as proof that a young writer cansuccessfully make a leap into the imagined territory of old age. Spark was onlyforty-one in 1959, when she published her novel “Memento Mori,”a black comedy about a group of nursing-home residents who begin receivingmysterious phone calls from an anonymous caller who announces portentously, asif it were unknown to them already, “Remember you must die.” Lively lauds thebook for its “bunch of sharply drawn individuals, convincingly old, bedeviledby specific ailments, and mainly concerned with revisions of their past.” V. S.Pritchett, in an introduction to a 1964 edition of “Memento Mori,” praisedSpark for taking on “the great suppressed and censored subject of contemporarysociety, the one we do not care to face, which we regard as indecent: old age.”
    自身已步入老年的作家,包括莱夫利和她的同事英国小说家保罗·贝利,都推荐了苏格兰作家穆丽尔·斯帕克,这证明一位年轻作家能成功跨入想象中的老年领域。斯帕克于1959年出版了小说《记住你将死亡》,当时她只有四十一岁,这部小说是一部荒诞喜剧,讲述了养老院里的一群老人突然开始收到一位匿名人士打来的神秘电话,那个神秘人在电话里不详地宣告:“记住,你一定会死。”就好像他们还不知道一样。莱夫利赞扬这本书“犀利描写了一群人,一群有说服力的老人,受到特定疾病困扰,将自己的注意力大部分用于回忆过去。” V·S·普利切特在1964年版《记住你将死亡》的前言中赞扬斯帕克呈现了“一个当代社会中受到极度压抑和严格审核的主题,一个我们不愿面对,视为不适当的主题:变老。”

    A more recent example is the thirty-seven-year-oldAustralian author Fiona McFarlane’s 2013 début novel, “The NightGuest.” McFarlane’s protagonist, Ruth, though succumbing to dementia andat the mercy of an unreliable caregiver, is capable of seeing beauty or takinggreat pleasure in her present—in a sexual encounter, for example—while alsoderiving equal parts enjoyment and pain from memories of her unusual past. Sheis neither hilarious nor terrifying. McFarlane says that, while writing Ruth,she thought of her as “an individual who, at seventy-five, is the sum of yearsof experience, memory, opinion, prejudice, decision-making, and desire.”
    最近的例子是三十七岁的澳大利亚作家菲奥纳·麦克法兰2013年的首部小说《夜晚来客》。麦克法伦的主人公,露丝,尽管患有痴呆症,受到一个不可靠的护工照顾,她还是能看到美好的一面,或从当下的生活中获得乐趣——比如,一次性爱的邂逅——然而她也从自己不同寻常的往事回忆中获得同样多的快乐和悲伤。她既不滑稽也不可怕。麦克法伦说,写露丝的时候,她把她想象成了“一个七十五岁,由若干年的经验、回忆、观点、偏见、决断和欲望构成的个体。”

    But why search for depictions of old age by the young when I shouldinstead be seeking out narratives by natives of old age? I don’t mean the richbody of work by late-middle-aged authors, which tends to be more about the fearof aging than about the experience of old age itself (fiction by Martin Amis,for example, or, further back, T. S. Eliot’s poetry), but literature written byauthors aged seventy-five and older.
    但是既然我们能找到老年作者写的老年故事,为什么还要看年轻作家写的作品呢?我指的不是中老年作家写的大量作品,这些作品写得往往是对变老的恐惧,而不是老年时期的经历(比如,马丁·艾米斯的小说,或者,再早一点,T·S·艾略特的诗歌),而是七十五岁以上作家写的作品。


    翻译BY 湘湘
    校对:Mark
    终校:路人戊

    树屋字幕组-文翻组
    翻译仅供学习交流,严禁用于商业用途



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