美國「失落的一代」與「經濟大恐慌」之代言人:史考特.費茲傑羅

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史考特.費茲傑羅


 

史考特.費茲傑羅


(F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896 –1940)


I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.


-F. Scott Fitzgerald 


與其重複我的純真,我寧可享受一再失去祂的樂趣。


 

費茲傑羅,1896年,出生於美國明尼蘇達州的聖保羅市,由於父親經商失敗,只得投靠岳家,過著寄人籬下的生活。大學就讀於普林斯頓大學,1917年從軍,一次大戰結束後,美國進入空前的經濟繁榮,1920年,二十四歲的費茲傑羅首作《塵世樂園》(This Side of Paradise)出版後,一夕爆紅,緊接《輕佻女子與哲學家》(Flappers and Philosophers) 、《爵士時代的故事》(Tales of the Jazz Age),都是描述1920年代美國人在歌舞昇平中,產生所謂「失落的一代」(The lost Generation)的空虛、享樂、矛盾的社會現象與生活思想。而驟得大名的費茲傑羅也娶了名門之女Zelda Sayre為妻,為了維持笙歌宴飲的奢華日子,費滋傑羅開始替《星期六晚郵報》(Saturday Evening Post)撰寫了大量連他自己也痛恨的「低俗」(whoring)短篇小說作品,以賺取高額稿酬,這也是為何後世批評他生活腐化、自暴自棄,以致浪費了自己的才華。好時光總是短暫的,緊接而來的三○年代經濟大恐慌,費滋傑羅飽受妻子精神狀態不佳,負債累累的經濟窘困,加上他本身長久以來的酗酒問題,1940年12月22日,聖誕節前夕,費茲傑羅心臟病發作,過世於加州好萊塢公寓,年僅四十四歲。


費茲傑羅一生由浮華以至幻滅的起伏歷程,完全重疊與倒映了美國一九二○年代「失落的一代」富裕下的縱慾與虛空以至三○年代「經濟大恐慌(The Great Panic)」財富破滅的歷程,他的作品也成了編年小說,使他成為這二十個年頭的社會與歷史見證,費茲傑羅最著名的小說為《大亨小傳》 (The Great Gatsby),堪稱當時美國社會縮影的經典代表。 


 

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藝術評論家方秀雲評價費茲傑羅《大亨小傳》,關於蓋茲比和黛西 
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作品介紹


費茲傑羅用小說方式解讀自己的人生與孕育自己人生的那個爵士時代 (the Jazz Age)──在這個特殊的二○年代,費茲傑羅已意識到其實金錢才是美國文化中最重要的符號,也是這個符號導致他作品的成功,同時也是這個符號導致了他一生的失敗,費茲傑羅《一個酗酒案例》根本是他個人經驗的自剖小說,屬於他人生最末端的作品,他藉由一第三人稱的護士對一酗酒病例的個案觀察,表現酗酒者的沉迷及無奈。費茲傑羅本人自大學時期就染上飲酒習慣,之後酗酒問題愈來愈嚴重,他的早逝與過於沉溺酒精關係甚大。文中,敘述一位酗酒的卡通畫家(就是費茲傑羅本人的化身)與看顧他戒酒護士的相處,最後只有自殺求以解脫,這無奈見於這位護士明知道他要自殺,卻也無濟於事的默許,費茲傑羅濃濃傳達了他難去酒癮的痛楚與他對那個時代的失落感。


費茲傑羅《一個酗酒案例》正好與美國當時社會喧騰已久的一段獨特禁酒歷史有關。如前所述,美國1920至30的背景年代,社會步調堪稱是雲霄飛車的時代,先是一戰後的經濟過熱,紙醉金迷的生活隨之而來,之後,經濟大恐慌,股市慘跌,又千金散去,不少人以跳樓自殺,結束生命,但有樣東西,在這期間卻是死而復生,就是酒。美國人是以「清教」立國,禁慾、簡約是傳統生活原則,酒老早看成是犯罪、家暴和貧窮的根源,社會改革之進步主義運動人士極欲去之而後快,一戰後,生活的糜爛氛圍,終於在民氣可用之下,禁酒被提升至國家意志的高度,在1919年,美國憲法第十八修正案使美國成為禁酒的國家,但這實在也是美國史上最愚蠢的法案,因為,沒有任何東西能夠改造人性,政府可以用法律宣佈酒類為禁品,但卻不可能從人的心中清除喝酒的欲望,1933年,美國在經濟大恐慌下,羅斯福以憲法第十九條修正案撤銷禁酒令,讓苦悶的人民至少有酒澆愁。費茲傑羅除了表達個人酗酒的無奈,無意間也表達了禁酒好比要人民不要抽煙一樣的天真。


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An Alcoholic Case


F. Scott Fitzgerald 


“Come on─give me the bottle. I told you I’d stay awake(保持清醒). Come on─leave it with me─I’ll leave half in the bottle.(留個半瓶)”


“You know what Dr. Carter says, I’m too tired to be fighting(爭吵)you all night. . . . All right, drink your fool self to death.”


Again they struggled(爭奪). 


“Once more you try to get it I’ll throw it down(砸碎),” she said quickly. “I will─on the tiles(磁磚)in the bathroom.”


“Then I’ll step on the broken glass(踩到碎玻璃)─or you’ll step on it.”


Suddenly she dropped it like a torpedo(魚雷), sliding underneath(滑落)her hand and through the open door to the bathroom. 


It was on the floor in pieces and everything was silent for a while. She began to worry that he would have to go into the bathroom and might cut his feet. With a sudden resurgence of conscience(良心發現)she got up and put a chair in front of the bathroom door. She had wanted to sleep because he had got her up early that morning and she hadn’t been home all day. 


She sat down in the rocker(搖椅) but she was no longer sleepy; there was plenty to enter on the chart(寫報告)and she could make so many: 


Tried to get bottle of gin(琴酒). Threw it away and broke it. 


She corrected(修改)it to read: 


In the struggle it dropped and was broken. Patient(病人)was generally difficult(難搞). 


She added in her report: I never want to go on an alcoholic case(戒酒照護案)again.


She was tired and didn’t want to clean up the glass on the bathroom floor. But she decided finally to clean up the glass first; on her knees(跪下), searching a last piece of it, she thought: ─It was so utterly senseless(完全沒道理)─as she put a bandage(紗布)on her finger where she had cut it while picking up the glass she made up her mind she would never take an alcoholic case again. 


But when she sat down in the chair she looked at his face, white and exhausted(疲憊不堪), and counted his breathing again, wondering why it had all happened. He had been so nice today, drawn her a whole strip of his cartoon(一長片的卡通)just for fun and given it to her. She was going to have it framed(裱褙). 


It was early the next evening in the hall of Mrs. Hixson’s Agency(人力介紹公司). In a moment Mrs. Hixson came out and, signaled(示意)her into the office. 


“I got your call from the hotel,” she began.


Mrs. Hixson was a very efficient(效率的)woman. She had been a nurse and had gone through the worst of it. She swung(轉身)around suddenly from the desk. 


“Oh, it wasn’t bad, Mrs. Hixson. He didn’t know what he was doing and he didn’t hurt me in any way. I was thinking much more of my reputation with you(我考慮信譽對妳公司的影響). He was really nice all day yesterday.”


“But one minute you say you’ll never go on an alcoholic case again and the next minute you say you want to go back to one.”


“I think I overestimated(高估)how difficult it was. Really, I think I could help him.”


Getting off the bus, she went down the long steps to the hotel, feeling a little exalted(自豪). She was going to take care of him because nobody else would, and because the best people of her profession(專業)had been interested in the cases that nobody else wanted. 


She knocked at his study door. He answered it himself. He was in dinner clothes even to a derby hat─but minus his studs(袖扣)and tie. 


He broke into a genial, indifferent(溫和淡然的)smile. 


“I thought you had quit(放棄)me,” he said casually. 


“I thought I had, too.”


“Who are you going to see?” she asked. 


“It’s the President’s secretary,” he said. “I had an awful time(苦日子)trying to get ready. I was about to give up when you came in. Will you order me some sherry(雪莉酒)?”


“One glass,” she agreed wearily(厭倦地)…


She went behind him and tied his tie─his shirt was already thumbed out of press(被姆指印沾污)where he had put in the studs, and she suggested: 


“Won’t you put on(穿)another one, if you’ve got to meet some people you like?”


“All right, but I want to do it myself.”


“Why can’t you let me help you?” she demanded in exasperation(憤怒). “Why can’t you let me help you with your clothes? What’s a nurse for─what good am I doing?”


He sat down suddenly on the toilet seat(麻桶蓋). 


“All right─go on.”


“Now don’t grab my wrist(別抓我的手腕),” she said, and then, “Excuse me.”


“Don’t worry. It didn’t hurt. You’ll see in a minute.”


“Now watch this,” he said. “One─two─three.”


She pulled up the undershirt(掀起內衫); simultaneously(同時)he thrust(刺入)the crimson─grey point of the cigarette(火紅的煙頭)like a dagger(匕首)against his heart. He said “Ouch!” as a stray spark fluttered down(火花濺落)against his stomach. 


“You’ve had a hard time with that, I guess,” she said lightly. “Won’t it ever heal(痊癒)?”


“Never.”


“Well, it’s no excuse for what you’re doing to yourself.”


He turned his great brown eyes on her, aloof, confused(疏離、茫然). He signaled to her, in one second, his Will to Die, and for all her training and experience she knew she could never do anything constructive(有建設性的)with him. She knew death─she had heard it, smelt it, but she had never seen it before it entered into anyone.“


She tried to express it next day to Mrs. Hixson: “It’s not like anything you can beat(擊敗)─no matter how hard you try. It’s just that you can’t really help them and it’s so discouraging(氣餒)─it’s all for nothing.”


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