發文作者:c.w. | 二月 27, 2005

Boat

Book front cover

Title:
Fortress Besieged
Author:
Qian Zhongshu, Jonathan Spence
ISBN:
0713998350
Rating:
Not rated

那天和某位北京姑娘看完電影,不知說什麼講到楊絳和錢鍾書那時到英國來念書,坐輪船晃呀晃的晃了三個月,接著問我看了圍城沒,她說,這小說就是講一個月的船上發生了什麼事,然後她話鋒一轉忽然說到:現在人唸書沒以前人那麼專心,大概是這個緣故。

把一群人困在同個地方,看這些人會發生什麼事情的確是相當古典的命題,現代情境下要出現這種事,編劇得花點心神解釋理由才行,如荒島墜機、高速公路綁匪劫車、外星人綁架,好啦,最無趣的算是自我放逐的熱帶島嶼了,但也要是「自我放逐」、放棄和外在世界聯絡才可以,不然熱帶島嶼也都有網路咖啡店吧。

一個月在海上晃著晃著,沒有信、沒有電視、沒有網路,的確是難以想像,我們身處世界看待時間的看法和世界觀,跟著這些媒體開始有巨大的轉變。偶爾想要學古人古典一下,卻發現自己根本受不了,回來之後看到朋友正流行什麼,像得了焦慮症一樣不做什麼不行。其實沒什麼是非做不可的,這幾年就是荒島求生,不為什麼鍛鍊心神吧。

(想到陳奕迅 有首專輯好幾首歌都在講這個。還放在第一首,聽了聞之精神一振)

Last week me and a girl from Beijing went to see Enduing Love (an interesting film, will catch up on the novel later). On the way back, out of no where we started to talk about Zhongshu Qian (an Oxford graduate from China in early 20th century, finally survived from Cultural Revolution, but treated it in a light touch, a very dignified man and a well-established scholar/translator) and his masterpiece Fortress Besieged which I never caught a chance to read . She said, “do you know the story was set on a one month boat trip sailing to China? Then of course lots of things happend." Then she continued, “maybe it’s the reason we couldn’t concentrate on one thing that much nowadays."

A group of people being trapped in the same locale. It is indeed a very classic motif. Writers have to squeeze their brains to give their chanracters good reasons to create the same situation out of modern social context, like a plane crash on a deserted island, bus hijacked on the highway, space ship abducted by aliens, all right, the most boring one would be a nomadic traveler in a tropical island, but that person has to be willingly to cut him/herself out of the world at the very first place, or, I think he or she still can find a cyber cafe in the most remoted islands we can think of.

We could never imagine what it would be like spending a month on the sea across half of the globe, without letters, TVs, internet. These media really fundamentally change our worldviews and how we perceive the idea time. We might occasionally want to indulge ourselves in the classical way, but found out we couldn’t bear it anymore. The worse thing is, we got back to our reality, then desperately trying to catch up with anything we have missed. Just try to see these three, four years as life in a deserted island, a covent for disciples to train their spirits for nothing. (actually it might be for something, like another classic motif in Faust. :))


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