Anatoly Vorobey (avva) wrote,
Anatoly Vorobey
avva

кингсли эмис

У меня есть пунктик: я не могу в магазине подержанных книг пройти мимо "Lucky Jim" Кингсли Эмиса (Kingsley Amis) и не купить. Потом я их раздариваю друзьям и знакомым, потому что так многие из них не читали эту замечательную книгу, один из самых смешных и прекрасных романов 20-го века. Штуки три уже раздал, кажется.

Вот и сегодня случилось то же самое.

Кстати, за полчаса до этого я был в русском книжном магазине, и видел там несколько романов Эмиса, но "Счастливчика Джима" среди них не было. По-моему, его не переиздавали по-русски чуть ли не с 50-х годов, что мне лично кажется странным. Я пробовал читать другие романы Эмиса, но все они до сих пор сильно уступали Lucky Jim. Может, там особенно плохой перевод был, и совсем никому не пришелся по вкусу? Я читал только английский оригинал; если кто читал по-русски - расскажите, понравилось ли.

Заодно купил другой его роман - "Girl, 20"; попробую.

Lucky Jim основал новый жанр академического романа, и до сих пор, по-моему, остается одним из лучших образцов этого жанра. Восемь лет назад я был в восторге как от него, так и от книг Дэвида Лоджа (Changing Places, Small World...); с тех пор палитра книг Лоджа в моей памяти несколько потускнела, хоть я и остаюсь благодарным ему за игру в уничижение (Humiliation) - возможно, стоит перечитать; а Lucky Jim совершенно не потерял своей прелести.

Если вы читаете по-английски, давайте я попробую убедить вас прочитать Lucky Jim, процитировав отрывок, который уже как-то приводил много лет назад, так что и набирать необязательно. Это одна из первых страниц книги; герой, Джим Диксон, аспирант на факультете истории провинциального английского университета, садится в машину своего научного руководителя, совершенно невыносимого профессора Уэлча, и беседует с ним, во время поездки, о своей статье.
Вот, сначала отдельно, то, как он вспоминает в своих мыслях эту злополучню статью:


It was a perfect title, in that it crystallized the article's niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems. Dixon had read, or begun to read, dozens like it, but his own seemed worse than most in its air of being convinced of its own usefulness and significance. 'In considering this strangely neglected topic,' it began. This what neglected topic? This strangely what topic? This strangely neglected what? His thinking all this without having defiled and set fire to the typescript only made him appear to himself as more of a hypocrite and fool.


А вот весь отрывок, мастерски, по-моему, соединяющий в себе описание поездки и связанных с ней опасностей, персонажей, и отношения Диксона к этому всему:

A minute later Dixon was sitting listening to a sound like the ringing of a cracked door-bell as Welch pulled at the starter. This died away into a treble humming that seemed to involve every component of the car. Welch tried again; this time the effect was of beer-bottles jerkily
belaboured. Before Dixon could do more than close his eyes he was pressed firmly back against the seat, and his cigarette, still burning, was cuffed out of his hand into some interstice on the floor. With a tearing of gravel under the wheels the car burst from a standstill towards the grass verge, which Welch ran over briefly before turning down the drive. They moved towards the road at walking pace, the engine maintaining a loud lowing sound which caused a late group of students, most of them wearing the yellow and green College scarf, to stare after them from a small covered-in space beside the lodge where sports notices were posted.

They climbed College Road, holding to the middle of the highway. The unavailing hoots of a lorry behind them made Dixon look furtively at Welch, whose face, he saw with passion, held an expression of calm assurance, like an old quartermaster's in rough weather. Dixon shut his
eyes again. He was hoping that when Welch had made the second of the two maladroit gear-changes which lay ahead of him, the conversation would turn in some other direction than the academic. He even thought he'd rather hear some more about music or the doings of Welch's sons, the effeminate writing Michel and the bearded pacifist painting Bertrand whom Margaret had described to him. But whatever the subject for discussion might be, Dixon knew that before the journey ended he'd find his face becoming creased and flabby, like and old bag, with the strain of making it smile and show interest and speak its few permitted words, of steering it between a collapse into helpless fatigue and a tautening with anarchic fury.

'Oh... uh... Dixon.'

Dixon opened his eyes, doing everything possible with the side of his face away from Welch, everything which might help to relieve his feelings in advance. 'Yes, Professor?'

'I was wondering about that article of yours.'

'Oh yes. I don't...'

'Have you heard from Partington yet?'

'Well yes, actually I sent it to him first of all, if you remember, and he said the pressure of other stuff was...'

'What?'

Dixon had lowered his voice below the medium shout required by the noise of the car, in an attempt to half-conceal from Welch Welch's own lapse of memory, and so protect himself. Now he had to bawl out: 'I told you he had said he couldn't find room for it.'

'Oh, couldn't he? Couldn't he? Well, of course they do get a lot of the most... a most terrific volume of stuff sent to them, you know. Still, I suppose if anything really took their eye, then they... they... Have you sent it off to anyone else?'

'Yes, that Caton chap who advertised in the T.L.S. a couple of months ago. Starting up a new historical review with an international bias, or something. I thought I'd get in straight away. After all, a new journal can't very well be bunged up as far ahead as all the ones I've...'

'Ah yes, a new journal might be worth trying. There was one advertised in the _Times Literary Supplement_ a little while ago. Paton or some such name the editor fellow was called. You might have a go at him, now that it doesn't seem as if any of the more established reviews have got room for your... effort. Let's see now; what's the exact title you've given it?'

Dixon looked out of the window at the fields wheeling past, bright green after a wet April. It wasn't the double-exposure effect of the last half-minute's talk that had dumbfounded him, for such incidents formed the staple material of Welch colloquies; it was the prospect of reciting the title of the article he'd written. It was a perfect title, in that it crystallized the article's niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems. Dixon had read, or begun to read, dozens like it, but his own seemed worse than most in its air of being convinced of its own usefulness and significance. 'In considering this strangely neglected topic,' it began. This what neglected topic? This strangely what topic? This strangely neglected what? His thinking all this without having defiled and set fire to the typescript only made him appear to himself as more of a hypocrite and fool. 'Let's see,' he echoed Welch in a pretended effort of memory: 'oh yes; The Economic Influence of the Developments in Shipbuilding Techniques, 1450 to 1485. After all, that's what it's... '

Unable to finish his sentence, he looked to his left again to find a man's face staring into his own from about nine inches away. The face, which filled with alarm as he gazed, belonged to the driver of a van which Welch had elected to pass on a sharp bend between two stone walls. A huge bus now swung into view from further round the bend. Welch slowed slightly, thus ensuring that they would still be next to the van when the bus reached them, and said with decision: 'Well, that ought to do it nicely, I should say.'

Before Dixon could roll himself into a ball or even take off his glasses, the van had braked and disappeared, the bus-driver, his mouth opening and shutting vigorously, had somehow squirmed his vehicle against the far wall, and, with an echoing rattle, the car darted forward on to the straight. Dixon, though on the whole glad at this escape, felt at the same time that the conversation would have been appropriately rounded off by Welch's death. He felt this more keenly when Welch went on: 'If I were you, Dixon, I should take all the steps I possibly could to get this article accepted in the next month or so. I mean, I haven't the specialized knowledge to judge...' His voice quickened: 'I can't tell, can I? what it's worth. It's no use anybody coming to me and asking "What's young Dixon's stuff like?" unless I can give them an expert opinion of what it's worth, is it now? But an acceptance by a learned journal would... would... You, well you don't know what it's worth yourself, how can you?'

Dixon felt that, on the contrary, he had a good idea of what his article was worth from a several points of view. From one of these, the thing's worth could be expressed in one short hyphenated indecency; from another, it was worth the amount of frenzied fact-grubbing and fanatical boredom that had gone into it; from yet another, it was worthy of its aim, the removal of the 'bad impression' he'd so far made in the College and his Department. But he said: 'No, of course not, Professor.'
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