2014年11月14日 星期五

Q&A: Nadine Gordimer




我的早禱。
要怎樣紀念名作家?
應該讀其作品。
我的兩位朋友翻譯過她的兩本小說。
我有的只是她寫的一篇短篇,跟南非的政治一點都沒關係的Letter from His Father.
讀它,要先對卡夫卡Franz Kafka的生平和作品有些基本知識。
Franz 生前寫封40~60頁的長信給父親,不過Hermann從來沒讀過。


"Letter to His Father (German: Brief an den Vater) is the name usually given to the letter Franz Kafka wrote to his father Hermann in November 1919, indicting him for his emotionally abusive and hypocritical behavior towards him....Wikipedia"

這是篇虛構卡夫卡的父親Hermann Kafka從他們家族之墓寫的回信:Letter from His Father。世界的評論對此篇看法兩極,或許倫敦某人說是篇傑作;紐約某人說它是" an unmitigated disaster"。或許它牽涉到太多敏感主題....



影片4分多:
http://billmoyers.com/2014/07/15/nadine-gordimer-on-politics-and-people/

Clip: Nadine Gordimer on Politics and People


Q&A: Nadine Gordimer

'Unfortunately, I seem rather short of tears, so my sorrows have to stay inside me'



Q&A: Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer: What do I most dislike about my appearance? Old age. Photograph: Martin Argles


Nadine Gordimer, 88, was born in Springs, South Africa. She published her first collection of stories in 1949. An anti-apartheid activist, she joined the ANC when the organisation was illegal, and some of her novels were banned in South Africa. In 1974 she won the Booker prize for The Conservationist and in 1991 won the Nobel prize for literature. Her new novel is No Time Like The Present, and on Wednesday she discusses her life and work at the Southbank Centre, London. She is widowed and lives in Johannesburg.
When were you happiest? 
Camping in the bushveld with my man.
What is your earliest memory? 
Turning round on my seat at a pantomime, my first time in a theatre, aged about three.
Which living person do you most admire, and why? 
Nelson Mandela. The epitome of courage and intelligence.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Brooding over my mistakes.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Race and gender prejudice.
Property aside, what's the most expensive thing you've bought? 
A bust of Balzac.
What is your most treasured possession? 
Photographs.
What would your super power be? 
If this means someone up there in the name of any religious faith – no one.
What makes you unhappy? 
Neglecting others, or having them neglect me.
What is your favourite book? 
Unchanging since the age of 16: Marcel Proust's A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? 
Old age, although the signs are as natural and inevitable as those of the beginning of life.
What is your most unappealing habit? 
Sharp answers to intrusive people.
What is your favourite word? 
I don't want to betray my lifelong dedication to them all.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? 
My two children. I am sure I have done things that were not adequate or not right.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
I would have to go and look at what I've written over all these 50 years!
What is the worst job you've done? 
Long ago, when I was 22, I was giving occasional pieces to the local rag in the small mining town where I lived. When the editor went on holiday, I, for some reason, took over. A new prison was big news the week I was in charge and I spelled it gaol instead of jail. The typesetter changed it to goal. So it came out as "The goal of the city council". It was the most embarrassing thing.
If you could go back in time, where would you go? 
To ancient Africa and be here at the origin of the human being.
When did you last cry, and why? 
I don't cry. Unfortunately, I seem rather short of tears, so my sorrows have to stay inside me.
What keeps you awake at night? 
Nothing. I am a good sleeper.
How would you like to be remembered? 
Let me be forgotten.


Where would you most like to be right now? 
Right where I am, in my house in Johannesburg with my weimaraner dog, Bodo, beside me.






Nadine Gordimer, Nobel laureate, exposed toll of South Africa’s aparthei“The tension between standing apart and being fully involved,” she wrote in one of her introductions, “that is what makes a writer.”

Hanes is a freelance writer who covered South Africa for numerous U.S. publications.d


In a 2007 interview, Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer describes her escape from the racist ideology she had grown up with. Gordimer died July 13 at her home in Johannesburg at the age of 90. (Nobel Media AB)
 July 14 at 10:08 AM
Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer and Nobel laureate for literature whose intense, intimate prose helped expose apartheid to a global readership and who continued to illuminate the brutality and beauty of her country long after the demise of the racist government, died July 13 at her home in Johannesburg. She was 90.
Her family announced the death but did not disclose the cause.
Ms. Gordimer, who was white, was an early and active member of the African National Congress, but she did not craft political manifestos. Her role as an author, she said, was simply to “write in my own way as honestly as I can and go as deeply as I can into the life around me.” 
Her characters with lofty ideals were often personally flawed; the racists and apolitical businessmen had the same depth and complexity as the freedom fighters.
“The Conservationist,” which won the Man Booker Prize in 1974, presents one of Ms. Gordimer’s most well-formed characters, a white industrialist who has purchased a large farm outside Johannesburg, in part to be a rendezvous spot for him and his married, politically radical mistress.

Former South African President and Nobel Peace Laureate Nelson Mandela (R) smiling as he receives the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award from Nobel Literature Laureate Nadine Gordimer in 2006. (Jon Hrusa/EPA)
Another acclaimed novel, “Burger’s Daughter,” published in 1979, follows the personal and political struggles of Rosa Burger, the daughter of a charismatic Afrikaner doctor and anti-apartheid activist who died in prison. In a country defined by its political intensity, Rosa explores whether “the real definition of loneliness” is to “live without social responsibility.”
Ms. Gordimer’s 1981 novel “July’s People” tells the story of a liberal white family fleeing an imagined, violent revolution against apartheid and ending up in the village of — and beholden to — their former servant, July.
From her 1958 novel, “A World of Strangers,” which details the futile attempts of a young English businessman to maintain ties among whites and blacks in South Africa, to the 2012 “No Time Like the Present,” which follows an interracial couple struggling to navigate their troubled post-apartheid society, Ms. Gordimer wrote unsparingly of race, identity and place, and of how repressive political systems etched themselves onto the lives and relationships of individuals.
Exploring secrets
 “She makes visible the extremely complicated and utterly inhuman living conditions in the world of racial segregation,” Sture Allen, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said while awarding Ms. Gordimer the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. “In this way, artistry and morality fuse.” 
Ms. Gordimer noted that “politics is character” in South Africa, said Stephen Clingman, an English professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an authority on the novelist’s work. “She knew that if you wanted to understand any character, black or white, you needed to understand the way politics entered into the very individual.”
The apartheid government, which imposed censorship laws capriciously, banned four of her novels — “A World of Strangers,” “The Late Bourgeois World,” “Burger’s Daughter” and “July’s People” — with various claims of subversiveness. 
“This aesthetic venture of ours becomes subversive when the shameful secrets of our times are explored deeply, with the artist’s rebellious integrity to the state of being manifest in life around her or him,” Ms. Gordimer said in her Nobel lecture. “Then the writer’s themes and characters inevitably are formed by the pressures and distortions of that society as the life of the fisherman is determined by the power of the sea.”
From her 1958 novel, “A World of Strangers,” which details the futile attempts of a young English businessman to maintain ties among whites and blacks in South Africa, to the 2012 “No Time Like the Present,” which follows an interracial couple struggling to navigate their troubled post-apartheid society, Ms. Gordimer wrote unsparingly of race, identity and place, and of how repressive political systems etched themselves onto the lives and relationships of individuals.
Exploring secrets
 “She makes visible the extremely complicated and utterly inhuman living conditions in the world of racial segregation,” Sture Allen, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said while awarding Ms. Gordimer the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. “In this way, artistry and morality fuse.” 
Ms. Gordimer noted that “politics is character” in South Africa, said Stephen Clingman, an English professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an authority on the novelist’s work. “She knew that if you wanted to understand any character, black or white, you needed to understand the way politics entered into the very individual.”
The apartheid government, which imposed censorship laws capriciously, banned four of her novels — “A World of Strangers,” “The Late Bourgeois World,” “Burger’s Daughter” and “July’s People” — with various claims of subversiveness. 
“This aesthetic venture of ours becomes subversive when the shameful secrets of our times are explored deeply, with the artist’s rebellious integrity to the state of being manifest in life around her or him,” Ms. Gordimer said in her Nobel lecture. “Then the writer’s themes and characters inevitably are formed by the pressures and distortions of that society as the life of the fisherman is determined by the power of the sea.”
“She allowed us to see things about the political world that the political world could not really describe,” Clingman said.
A South African from birth
Nadine Gordimer was born Nov. 20, 1923, outside of Johannesburg in the mining town of Springs, a place of “burned veld round mine-dumps and coal-mine slag hills,” she said. 
“Not a romantic vision,” Ms. Gordimer said during a presentation to the University of Cape Town in 1977, titled “What Being a South African Means to Me.” “Not one that most Europeans would recognize as Africa. But Africa it is. Although I find it harsh and ugly, and Africa and her landscapes have come to mean many other things to me, it signifies to me a primary impact of being; all else that I have seen and know is built upon it.”
Her parents were Jewish immigrants — her mother from England, her father from Lithuania — but the family was secular and, Ms. Gordimer would say, excruciatingly middle class.
As a child she took dance lessons, attended a convent school and was warned that when she crossed the veld during her walk to school, she should steer clear of the compounds where black mineworkers lived.
When Ms. Gordimer was 11, she was diagnosed with what she later realized was a relatively minor heart ailment. Her mother — whom Ms. Gordimer described as energetic but bored in her “married-off” life — withdrew her daughter from school, canceled the child’s beloved dance classes, hired a tutor and kept her “resting” for years. 
“This mysterious ailment is something that I can talk about now,” Ms. Gordimer told the BBC magazine the Listener in 1976. “I realized after I grew up that it was something to do with my mother’s attitude towards me, that she fostered what was probably quite a simple passing thing and made a very long-term illness out of it, in order to keep me at home, to keep me with her.”
It was in this strange, forced seclusion — taken along on adult outings, spending afternoons reading with her mother — that Ms. Gordimer began to write. She published stories in the children’s section of a local newspaper; she wrote her first piece for an adult journal when she was 15. 
Captivated by the idea of being a writer, Ms. Gordimer moved to Johannesburg. She attended university there for about a year but got more of an education delving into the electric, interracial arts scene of the famous Sophiatown township.
Anthony Sampson, editor of the black South African magazine Drum, became one of her closest and longest-lasting friends. 
A second birth
There is a second birth that can occur for the South African, Ms. Gordimer said at her University of Cape Town talk, a coming into consciousness when one realizes that apartheid is not, in fact, the god-given order of the world. 
She pointed to various moments that began to open her eyes to the depravity of apartheid society: the dehumanizing liquor raid of her black nanny’s small living quarters behind her parents’ home, during which her parents stood by silently; the realization that the black miners who patronized the shops run by men like her father were not allowed to touch items before they bought them; her growing friendships with black writers who, despite being as talented as Gordimer, were far less able to pursue their craft.
Ms. Gordimer published her first short-story collection, “Face to Face,” in 1949, and she soon began contributing fiction to the New Yorker. 

Her first novel, “The Lying Days,” was published in 1953 and follows Helen Shaw, the daughter of white, middle-class parents who live in a gold-mining town, as she begins to become aware of the black life around her. 
“I think the first novel is usually some kind of revenge against your background,” she said at the time of her Nobel win. “And, you know, you’ve got to get it off your chest.”
Her first marriage, to Gerald Gavronsky, ended in divorce. In 1954, she wed Reinhold Cassirer, an art dealer who had been a refugee from Nazi Germany and was a nephew of the philosopher Ernst Cassirer. 
Reinhold Cassirer died in 2001. Survivors include a daughter from her first marriage, Oriane; and a son from her second marriage, Hugo.
Ms. Gordimer was a prolific, disciplined writer. While raising her family, she would shut herself in her office with her typewriter. No one was to disturb her unless the house was burning down, she said.
From that home office, Ms. Gordimer wrote more than a dozen novels, hundreds of short stories and essays, and collaborated on screenplays and edited collections of other works. She won many literary awards. 
As her country stumbled into the post-apartheid 2000s, she was asked whether democracy would “take the zip out of South African fiction.” She responded, “On the contrary. We’ve got plenty of problems.” 
Those critics who suggested hers had been a privileged existence — that she was able to use as a muse the toils of her country from her leafy, white neighborhood without ever facing consequences — simply did not understand her job, she would say.


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