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星期四, 5月 18, 2017

U.S. Middle Class Shrank in 20 Years, Study Finds美國中產階級 20年來漸萎縮


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讀紐時學英文
2017/05/19 第172期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
 
 
紐時周報精選 A Poet's Life, Rendered Poetically《寧靜的熱情》 詩般捕捉狄瑾蓀
U.S. Middle Class Shrank in 20 Years, Study Finds美國中產階級 20年來漸萎縮
紐時周報精選
 
A Poet's Life, Rendered Poetically《寧靜的熱情》 詩般捕捉狄瑾蓀
譯/王麗娟
文/A. O. Scott

New England in the mid-19th century was a literary hothouse, overgrown with wild and exotic talents. That Emily Dickinson was among the most dazzling of these is not disputable, but to say that she was obscure in her own time would exaggerate her celebrity. A handful of her poems appeared in print while she was alive (she died in 1886, at 55), but she preferred private rituals of publication, carefully writing out her verses and sewing them into booklets.

Though she had no interest in fame, Dickinson was anything but an amateur scribbler, approaching her craft with unstinting discipline and tackling mighty themes of death, time and eternity. She remains a paradoxical writer: vividly present on the page but at the same time persistently elusive. The more familiar you are with her work, the stranger she becomes.

19世紀中葉的新英格蘭是個文學溫室,狂才與奇才濟濟。艾蜜莉.狄瑾蓀更無疑是其中最耀眼者之一,然而,就連說她在她那年代並不怎麼出名,都算誇大了她當時的名氣。生前,她曾有一小部分詩作付梓(她1886年去世,死時55歲), 但她更喜歡以私人的儀式出版,她會細心寫就詩頁,再將它們縫成小冊。

儘管她不汲汲於名聲,狄瑾蓀卻絕非玩票性質的小文人,她以嚴謹的紀律發揮個人才情,處理死亡、時間和永恆這些宏大的主題。她一直是個具矛盾性的作家:生動地存在於字裡行間,卻又始終難以捉摸。你越熟悉她的作品,就越覺得她陌生。

An admirer can be forgiven for approaching "A Quiet Passion," Terence Davies' new movie about Dickinson's life, with trepidation. The literalness of film and the creaky conventions of the biopic threaten to dissolve that strangeness, to domesticate genius into likable quirkiness. But Davies, whose work often blends public history and private memory, possesses a poetic sensibility perfectly suited to his subject and a deep, idiosyncratic intuition about what might have made her tick.

To Dickinson — played in the long afternoon of her adult life by Cynthia Nixon — the enemy of poetry is obviousness. "A Quiet Passion" refuses the obvious at every turn. The romantically disappointed recluse of "The Belle of Amherst," William Luce's sturdy, sentimental play, has been replaced by a prickly, funny, freethinking intellectual, whose life is less a chronicle of withdrawal from the world than a series of explosive engagements with the universe. The passion is not so quiet, really. Dickinson muses and ponders, yes, but she also seethes, scolds, teases and bursts out laughing.

狄瑾蓀的仰慕者可能會以忐忑的心情面對《寧靜的熱情》一片,這點不難理解。這部新片由英國導演特倫斯.戴維斯執導,描繪狄瑾蓀的生平。電影的具體化以及傳記片的那些老套,只怕會將那層陌生感消磨殆盡,把才華洋溢的一個人,馴化成討喜的古靈精怪。不過,經常將公共歷史與私人記憶融合於作品中的戴維斯,具有一種極為適合這個題材的詩人感性,他還具備一種深刻、特殊的直覺,揣摩得出狄瑾蓀的靈感泉源。

對狄瑾蓀而言,詩最忌明顯當然。《安靜的激情》在每一個轉折也都拒絕清楚明白。劇中漫長後半生的狄瑾蓀,是由辛西亞尼克森飾演。作家威廉.盧斯紮實傷感的歌劇「安赫斯特的美女」中那個浪漫、沮喪的隱士不見了,取而代之的是一個敏感、風趣、思想自由寬廣的知識分子,她的生活不再只是遁世的人生紀事,而是一系列爆炸性的天人交戰。她的熱情其實並不那麼寧靜。誠然,狄瑾蓀有沉思暗想的時刻,但她也會激動、嬉笑怒罵、突然爆笑出聲。

Solitude is part of Dickinson's birthright — the taste for it links her to Henry David Thoreau, another odd duck plying the waters of Massachusetts — but so are social and familial ties. The first time we see young Emily (played by Emma Bell) she is about to be kicked out of Mount Holyoke College, branded a "no-hoper" for her heterodox religious views. The description is wrong, of course. Her skepticism about God was more personal than metaphysical. She didn't doubt his existence so much as question his intentions.

孤獨是狄瑾蓀的天性之一,性喜孤獨讓她能和亨利.大衛.梭羅產生連結,梭羅是悠遊於麻薩諸塞州水域的另一個怪人。狄瑾蓀的社會和家庭關係也很特別。我們第一次看到年輕的艾蜜莉(由艾瑪貝爾飾演),她正要被踢出曼荷蓮女子學院,校方因她的異端宗教觀點而將她標記為「無可救藥」。當然,這個標籤是錯的。她對上帝的懷疑純屬個人性質,而不是對超自然產生疑問。她並不懷疑祂的存在,只是質疑祂的意圖。

 
U.S. Middle Class Shrank in 20 Years, Study Finds美國中產階級 20年來漸萎縮
文/Nelson D. Schwartz
譯/王麗娟

Mike McCabe's neighbors in rural Gillespie, Illinois, consider him lucky. After being out of work for a year, he landed a job in January making cardboard boxes at a nearby Georgia-Pacific plant for $19.60 an hour.

He would agree with them, were it not for the fact that his previous job in a steel mill near St. Louis paid $28 an hour. "I've had to rethink my whole life to make ends meet on what I'm now making," McCabe said. "The middle class is struggling for sure, and almost anybody in my position will tell you that."

麥可.麥克卡貝住在伊利諾州鄉下城鎮吉萊斯比,他的鄰居認為他是幸運的。失業一年後,今年一月他在附近的喬治亞─太平洋工廠找到了一份做紙箱的工作,時薪19.60美元。

要不是他先前在聖路易附近鋼鐵廠工作時薪有28美元,他應該會同意他們的看法。麥克卡比說:「我必須重新考慮我的整個生活,讓現在我賺的錢也能夠用。中產階級的日子苦哈哈,這是確定的,和我處境相同的人幾乎全都會這樣告訴你。」

Middle-class Americans have fared worse in many ways than their counterparts in economically advanced countries in Western Europe in recent decades, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center.

What is more, as McCabe's experience suggests, the authors of the Pew study found a broader contraction of the American middle class, even as the ranks of the poor and the rich have grown.

"Compared with the Western European experience, the adult population in the U.S. is more economically divided," said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at Pew. "It is more hollowed out in the middle. This speaks to the higher level of income inequality in the United States."

皮尤研究中心發表的研究結果顯示,近幾十年美國中產階級的境況,在許多方面都較西歐經濟發達國家的中產階級來得糟。

此外,皮尤研究的作者還發現,正如麥克卡比的經驗所顯示的,在窮人和富人階級成長之際,美國中產階級卻呈現了更大程度的縮減。

皮尤主管研究的副主任拉克許.柯克哈爾說:「與西歐的經驗相較,美國的成人人口在經濟方面更為分化。中產階級出現更大的空洞化。這顯示美國收入不均的情況更為嚴重。」

For example, between 1991 and 2010, the proportion of adults in middle-income households fell to 59 percent from 62 percent, while it rose to 67 percent from 61 percent over the same period in Britain and to 74 percent from 72 percent in France.

Households that earned from two-thirds to double the national median income were defined as middle income in the Pew study; in the United States that translated into annual income of $35,294 to $105,881, after taxes, in 2010.

A shrinking middle class is not necessarily cause for alarm, if the reason for the contraction is that more people are moving up the income ladder, said David Autor, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

例如,1991至2010年間,中等收入戶成人的比例從62%下降至59%,而同一時期英國卻從61%上升至67%,法國從72%升至74%。

皮尤的研究將收入為全國中位數收入三分之二到兩倍的家戶定義為中等收入戶。在2010年的美國,這是指稅後年收入在35,294至105,881美元的家戶。

麻省理工學院經濟學教授大衛.奧特說,中產階級萎縮未必值得恐慌,如果萎縮是因為有更多的人順著收入階梯向上爬升所致。

The proportion at the top did rise, but so did the proportion at the bottom, rising to 26 percent from 25 percent. That is much more worrisome, said Autor, who was not involved with the Pew study.

Moreover, the middle-income group was smaller — and the groups at either extreme larger — in the United States than in any of the 11 Western European countries studied.

And incomes in the middle rose faster in Europe than they did in the United States, according to Pew. Median incomes in the middle tier grew by 9 percent in the United States between 1991 and 2010, compared with a 25 percent gain in Denmark and a 35 percent increase in Britain.

頂層收入者比例確實上升了,但底層者的比例也一樣,從25%上升到26%。奧特說,這點遠比中產階級萎縮更令人擔憂。奧特並未參與皮尤的研究。

此外,與列為研究對象的11個西歐國家中任何一國相比,美國的中等收入族群比例都更小,而處於兩端的族群比例卻都更大。

根據皮尤的研究,歐洲中產階級收入的成長較美國為快。1991至2010年間,美國中產階級的中位數收入增長了9%,丹麥則增長了25%,英國更達35%。

 
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