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說故事的符號學家 Umberto Eco

2016/2/22 — 14:36

"On Beauty", Umberto Eco

"On Beauty", Umberto Eco

“All the stories I would like to write persecute me when I am in my chamber, it seems as if they are all around me, the little devils, and while one tugs at my ear, another tweaks my nose, and each says to me, ‘Sir, write me, I am beautiful.” - Umberto Eco

一直覺得 Umberto Eco 是個說故事的人。我是先讀他的非小說創作 On Beauty ,然後才是他的成名作 The Name of the Rose及Foucault's Pendulum等,On Ugliness 都是最近才開始讀,他的哲學歷史作品,也充滿故事性,非常有趣,我當故事書來讀。這位來自意大利的符號學家、哲學家,對中世紀的歷史、宗教、神話有非常深厚認識。作品不深澀懾人,讀他的書就像聽著一個充滿智慧的學者,在分享知識一個又一個的故事。

Eco 說小說跟哲學非常相似,都問著相同的問題 ──「是誰做的?」「怎麼會這樣?」而符號學是謊言,神話是解釋不到的歷史,所以寫歷史、小說及哲學大抵都是一樣,有點虛構,加點情節再多兩分個人意見,然後來點實在的知識,穿越不同歷史時空,書就這樣寫成。在 On Beauty 內,他從古希臘、羅馬帝國、文藝復興、以至現代及當代藝術; 維納斯女神、蒙羅麗莎、Goya 的 Duchess of Alba、到碧咸及佐治古尼的美也包括在內。從道德、宗教、哲學及歷史去談美,或者更正確地說談美學。美在 Eco 是各花入各眼 in the eyes of the beholder,跟Kant 的sublime美學相似,當然 Eco 的 On Beauty圖文並茂,讀來有趣得多。在美麗之中,更會發現醜陋,這鋪下了他寫 On Ugliness 的伏線。

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在美中有醜,那當然在醜中也有美。On Ugliness 也是關於在藝術史對醜的詮釋。醜不一定是面目猙獰,像 Giacomo Grosso的Supreme Meeting中的裸女並不是面目奇醜,只是她們手持花朵露出魔鬼般笑容,充滿邪惡的誘惑,這個用當時的道德標準來衡量,是非常醜陋。正如有認為富貴等於美麗,那相對的貧窮當然是醜陋。在西方美學來說像林黛玉般弱不禁風,「藥煲一樣」當然也不美麗。而前衛藝術的表達方式大多都不美麗,至少不悅目的。Eco 說「醜陋」念頭會在人際關係中,可能會被抵銷或有所變化,如Domenico Ghirlandaio的 Portrait of an Old Man With His Grandson,祖父的樣子特別是鼻及前額是頗為嚇人,但看在孫兒眼中祖父卻是慈祥的,小小雙眼充滿光芒,愛蓋過一切。Eco 更幽默地說 “Don’t worry, O blessed ladies, no woman is ugly to her own husband; she was pleasing enough when she was chosen.”

Eco 去世消息傳出,在社交網站及不同的媒體中有不少的悼文,讀者們都覺得非常可惜。在 Paris Review 的一期訪問中,被問及對作品能留傳後世的看法,Eco 這樣說:

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I don’t believe one writes for oneself. I think that writing is an act of love—you write in order to give something to someone else. To communicate something. To have other people share your feelings. This problem of how long your work can survive is fundamental for every writer, not just for a novelist or a poet. The truth is, the philosopher writes his book in order to convince a lot of people of his theories, and he hopes that in the next three thousand years people will still read that book. It is just as you hope that your kids survive you, and that if you have a grandchild he survives your children. One hopes for a sense of continuity. When a writer says, I am not interested in the destiny of my book, he is simply a liar. He says so to please the interviewer.

Gracie, signore dottore professore Umberto Eco,說故事的符號學家。

 

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