麦琪之旅的宗教象征

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T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Magi
Magi
Magi
Magi

 麦琪之旅:艾略特的宗教与象征

Religion and Symbols in Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” 

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提要:《麦琪之旅》在艾略特诗歌发展的转折期中占有中心地位。作者把传记和宗教题材转变为带有戏剧性的独白,体现了对诗歌风格的大胆探索;他采用了时间错置的手法,从而提出了符号和象征的本质这一问题;艾略特通过使读者错误地把字面知识与宗教信仰等同起来,最终旨在反对文字知识所带来的人类进步和历史的发展。
 
关键词: 艾略特;“麦琪之旅”; 独白; 时间错置; 象征; 宗教
Abstract: Journey of the Magi occupies a central position in the transitional period of T.S.Eliot’s poetic development. Firstly, the poem transmutes the biographical and biblical material into a dramatic monologue that is one of the most experimental in the genre; Secondly, through anachronistic discontinuities, Eliot raises a matter: the nature of sign and symbols; Thirdly, he “teases”the  reader to equate, falsely, literary knowledge with religious faith. Eliot further rejects the common idea of progress and the linear model of history the ready knowledge presupposes. 
 
Key words: Eliot; “Journey of the Magi”; monologue; anachronism; symbol; religion
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原载于《外语与外语教学》

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enlightened《麦琪之旅》最突出的一点是作者运用了“时间错置”的手法安排象征。毫无疑问,麦琪生活在基督降生的年代,他们并不知道以后的基督教历史。然而令人不解的是,他们怎么会使用1622年安德鲁斯的“圣诞布道”甚至《新约全书》中的语言呢? 在他们所处的年代,这一切都还没有产生。艾略特为什么会创造这种错置呢?
enlightened时间或年代上的错置所寓含的诗中的追求已超出了三博士的感知。通过赋予连说话者自己也不会理解的语言,艾略特同时对口头话语和文字传统之间的关系,以及对信仰和文学之间的联系提出了疑问,他想以此告诉读者,真正的、 “充分”的话语是口头表达出来的,而不是通过文字表述的。文字书写的方式是与世界的自然存在相背离的。
enlightened如果艾略特只是向读者展现了真正的象征性的语言,那么就超出了三博士所具有的可能达到的领悟力,同时也失去可以在新时代得到解释的语言所能产生的共鸣;如果艾略特只是展示了三博士的言语的“字面意义”,那么同样会失去它们所具有的含义。更重要的是,他就不可能让读者进入基督教世界,也不会使他们对三博士的一无所知这一点有所认识。读者知道三博士是一无所知的,因为读者知道历史。这正是艾略特的象征艺术的重要点。然而,就这首诗来说,这并不是最后的理解。
对麦琪的语言的解释向我们提示了艾略特对符号和象征的本质的关注,这首诗突出的荒谬之处就是,“那些能通过自身受教育程度或仅仅通过知识的吸收就能读解符号的人最终却不如这三位不能领悟这些符号的朝圣者。”(Harris, 841) 在第二节中,作者设置了一个几乎是无法躲避的陷井或怪圈。如果我们认为读者最终能读解这个符号, 那么我们会觉得读解的文字手段使得一度由符号所预示的神圣历史变得晦涩。对符号作为客观体的了解取代了对通过预示或象征所表现的神秘性的了解。然而,意识到自己具有这种辨认或识别能力也使读者有了一种优越感,他们不禁会问:三博士怎么连如此明显的象征都不明白呢?作者在这里“嬉弄”了他的读者,让他们错误地把对字面意义的了解与宗教信仰等同起来。我们是否可以进一步引申,作者想暗示这样一个道理:宗教是文字化的产物。
enlightened事实上,《麦琪之旅》中的象征失去了明确的价值。艾略特在此暂时抛弃了在《荒原》中的象征手法。在《荒原》中,苏索斯特里斯(Sosostris)和克娄巴特拉(Cleopatra)都生活在充满着他们都无法理解的象征的世界中,但他们本应理解这些象征,或者说,这些象征都有其实质意义。艾略特以此对他们无法超越物质视觉世界的局限性予以了责斥。在《麦琪之旅》中,那些能解读符号的人(读者)就象《荒原》中无能做到这一点的人物一样颓废,一样被这个现实世界所抛弃。艾略特在这里揭示了这样一个间接的意义:“正是对基督教象征一无所知的麦琪看到了幻象中的智慧。”(Harris, 844) 这时,读者自己受到了严厉的审判。艾略特笔下的独白通常会引起读者对叙述人的审视,同时也包含了对读者本人的审视。恰恰是通过读者对这种审视的意识,也就显露了麦琪无知的价值所在。
enlightened至此,我们完全有理由认为, 艾略特在这首诗中同时也批评了“贬低其它形式的启示”的基督教沙文主义;从宗教教义的开放这一点来看,《麦琪之旅》和《荒原》是完全一致的,在《荒原》中,佛教经典《吠陀》中的《奥义书》和《圣经》一样提供了最古老的智慧。由于读者具备反映历史发展的知识,因而导致了最初对麦琪的错误判断,正因为如此,我们可以说,艾略特最终反对进步,从而也反对由此造成的历史的线性发展。
 
  
 
附原作(只供参考)            
Journey of the Magi
     T.S.Eliot
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly. //
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation,
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky.
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel.
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the places; it was (you may say) satisfactory.//
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth of Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

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