E. Costello : I believe in what does not need to believe in me.──J. M. Coetzee

2015/02/08

クッツェーが書くブリンクとの出会い

 昨日、訃報が流れた作家アンドレ・ブリンクは1935年生れの、南アフリカのビッグなアフリカーンス語作家だった。ほとんど常にといっていいほど、ナディン・ゴーディマや J・M・クッツェーといっしょに語られた作家だ。自作をみずから英訳し、フランス語も達者な人だった。

南アフリカ国内にかぎらず、ブリンクが英雄的な存在と見なされたのは、アパルトヘイト体制の支持基盤であるアフリカーナーの名のある家系に生まれ、アフリカーンス語を母語として育ち、フランス留学を機に、自国のアパルトヘイト体制の矛盾や酷薄さを痛烈に意識し、帰国後はその体制へのレジスタンスを強力に打ち出しながらアフリカーンス語で作品を書き、南アフリカの文学とその社会に多大な影響をあたえたからだろう。アフリカーンス語で書かれた小説として初めて発禁処分を受けた作家でもある。邦訳は小説に『白く渇いた季節』(ユーザン・パルシー監督で映画化された小説で、映画ではスーザン・サランドンが光っていた)や、エッセイ集『見えない南アフリカを見る』などがある。もっと翻訳が出てもいい作家だったと思う。

 そのアンドレ・ブリンクとの出会いについて、J・M・クッツェーが書いている文章が Books Live というサイトに掲載された。ブリンクのパートナー、Karina M. Szczurek が編集した『Encounter with André Brink』という本に収められている文章だ。

 2人が実際に初めて出会ったのは、Faber社から出た『A Land Apart』を共同で編集したとき(1980年代前半)だったとある。ブリンクの仕事ぶりに感嘆するクッツェーのことばは掛け値なしだろう。この本はわたしも1990年ころ神保町の洋書屋で入手した。見返しに1780円という定価が書き込まれている。このアンソロジーから幾編か詩を翻訳して雑誌に紹介したこともあった。懐かしい。
 ブリンクの追悼の意味を込めて、クッツェーが書いた「同僚であり共編者」ブリンクとの出会いの文章を、ここにもペーストしておく。

JM Coetzee
Colleague and collaborator
I first heard the name André Brink in the 1960s, when I was living and studying in the United States. From home came rumours of a changing of the guard in Afrikaans letters, of the rise of a new generation led by André and Jan Rabie and Etienne Leroux. I had heard of Jan Rabie (he was a friend of Uys Krige’s, I knew, one of the Onrus circle), but not of the other two. I searched out the only Brink book available, an English translation of Die ambassadeur.
In 1971 I returned to South Africa and was able again to read the South African newspapers. In the SundayRapport I came across lengthy literary articles under André’s name, which stood out from the rest of the literary journalism. They reviewed new poetry and fiction with what seemed to me total command of the field, yet were engagingly enough written to entice the ordinary educated reader. Their author was clearly familiar with what was going on in contemporary letters in Europe and America.
I had no actual contact with André until the early 1980s, when he and I were brought together by Koos Human to collaborate in editing a new anthology of South African writing. This anthology, which would eventually be published by Faber in the UK and Viking in the USA, was planned to bring together within the same covers English-language and (in translation) Afrikaans-language South African writers; I would be responsible for the former, André for the latter. The selection was to be as up to date as possible.
Knowing of André’s reputation as the superstar and enfant terrible of Afrikaans letters, I was expecting a stormy time: tantrums, ultimatums, missed deadlines. Instead of which I found the perfect collaborator, a man who swiftly and efficiently and without fuss did a first-class job. The product of our collaboration, A Land Apart: A South African Reader (1986), still seems to me a good book of its kind, offering the wider world a snapshot of South African writing at a time of crisis in the country’s history.
I did not have sustained contact with André until he left Rhodes University and joined the University of Cape Town. His natural position there would have been as professor of comparative literature, but UCT did not have a Department of Comparative Literature, so he was housed in the Department of English. He was entirely at home there: he knew English and American literature as well as his new disciplinary colleagues did, in some cases better. I suspect he would have been equally competent in a department of Romance languages.
In his teaching at UCT André concentrated on senior students, those taking honours in English or else working for the MA in literary studies or the MA in creative writing. As a co-teacher I sat in on some of his MA classes. Privately I thought his students extraordinarily privileged: the creative writing students for receiving guidance on their work that went straight to the heart of the matter yet was expressed in the most courteous, most understanding manner; the literature students for an opportunity to see a true man of letters at work, someone whose range of reference extended across the whole of world literature, who was philosophically sophisticated as well, and up to date with contemporary schools of criticism.
Now that the outline of South African history in the second half of the twentieth century is beginning to settle down, we can begin to see what historical role André fulfilled as the leading figure among the Sestigers, the generation of Afrikaans writers and intellectuals who flowered in the 1960s. Through his writing, in which he imported into the Afrikaans novel the methods and concerns of European and American modernism, but equally well through the life he lived as a public intellectual (a much-abused term that happened to fit very well in his case) and to a degree as a political intellectual, he played no small part in bringing Afrikaners out of the complacency and cultural torpor of the post-1948 dispensation into the dangerous but exciting world of the post-colonial. In punishment for his activities he was for years harassed and persecuted by the agencies of the state. He stood up to his persecutors – bravely, it seemed to me – and gave as good as he got. A career, all in all, on which one might look back with pride.