The Moon And Sixpence


The Moon And Sixpence(W.Somerset Maugham/Penguin Classics)

物語の展開が、ものすごくドラマチックな小説だと思った。
この小説のストーリーテリングの巧みさは、最初から最後まで見事だった。そもそも、「月と六ペンス」というタイトルの付け方からしてスゴい。
モームは、現代であれば名うての構成作家になるような人だったのだと思う。
自伝的小説でありながら、本人の手による記録ではなく、それを観察する「私」の視点からの描写になっていることで、とても客観的にストリックランドという人物の特異性が浮かび上がるようになっている。
「私」の考え方は、常識的で、大衆的で、大きく偏ったところがほとんどない。いわば、当時のヨーロッパの社会通念そのものを代表する立場として、ホームズを見る時のワトソンのように、純粋な観察者として存在している。
それは、「凡人」と「天才」を対比するための媒体でもある。この物語の中には様々な人が登場するけれど、ストリックランドの天才性の前では皆、強力な磁石の傍に置かれた方位磁針のように、自分自身のアイデンティティーを完全に失ってしまう。
ストリックランドは、破天荒なキャラクターではあるけれど、単純なヒールとしての役割ではなく、「荒ぶる神」のように、人格というものを超越した存在なんじゃないかと思う。
40歳を過ぎた男が、いきなり夢を追いかけて、それまでに築いたすべての生活を投げ捨てるというところは、どことなく神がかり的な感じもする。
作品の中で、タヒチに住む船長も言っていたことだけれど、これはもう、自分の意思でどうなるものでもない、天啓ともいうべき衝動なのだろうと思う。
道徳にしばられるキリスト教的価値観や、仁義礼孝忠にしばられる儒教的価値観からしたら、あり得ないストリックランドの言動も、タヒチという別天地に来てみれば、それがいかにも自然な姿として現地に馴染んでしまうところが面白い。
物語の中に現れる、人と人との結びつきも、当人の思惑や理性を完全に超えたつながりが思わぬところで発生していて、そこがこの小説で表現されている、人生の味わいなんだと思う。モームという人は、本当に、この妙味をよく理解している人なんだろうという気がする。
【名言】
“To what do I owe this honour?”
“I’ve come to see you about your wife.”
“Really. When you are a little older you will doubtless learn the advantage of minding your own business. If you will be so good as to turn your head slightly to the left, you will see the door. I wish you good-afternoon.” (10章)
“I’ve got to paint,” he repeated.
“Supposing you’re never anything more than third-rate, do you think it will have been worth while to give up everything? After all, in any other walk in life it doesn’t matter if you’re not very good; you can get along quite comfortably if you’re just adequate; but it’s different with an artist.”
“You blasted fool,” he said.
“I don’t see why, unless it’s folly to say the obvious.”
“I tell you I’ve got to paint. I can’t help myself. When a man falls into the water it doesn’t matter how he swims, well or badly: he’s got to get out or else he’ll drown.” (12章)
“Look here, if everyone acted like you, the world couldn’t go on.”
“That’s a damned silly thing to say. Everyone doesn’t want to act like me. The great majority are perfectly content to do the ordinary thing.” (14章)
“Have I ever been mistaken?” Dirk asked me. “I tell you he has genius. I’m convinced of it. In a hundred years, if you and I are remembered at all, it will be because we knew Charles Strickland.” (19章)
“Haven’t you been in love since you came to Paris?”
“I haven’t got time for that sort of nonsense. Life isn’t long enough for love and art.” (21章)
“I think you must be mad. I don’t know what has come over you.”
She shrugged her shoulders.
“Now may I go?”
“Wait one second longer.”
He looked round his studio wearily; he had loved it because her presence had made it gay and homelike; he shut his eyes for an instant; then he gave her a long look as though to impress on his mind the picture of her. (28章)
Stroeve sighed a little and was silent. His thoughts dwelt among pictures of what might have been, and the safety of the life he had refused filled him with longing.
“The world is hard and cruel. We are here none knows why, and we go none knows whither. We must be very humble. We must see the beauty of quietness.” (38章)
one fact he made clear to me; people talk of beauty lightly, and having no feeling for words, they use that one carelessly, so that it loses its force; and the thing it stands for, sharing its name with a hundred trivial objects, is deprived of dignity. They call beautiful a dress, a dog, a sermon; and when they are face to face with Beauty cannot recognise it. The false emphasis with which they try to deck their worthless thoughts blunts their susceptibilities. (39章)
I wish I could say that I recognised at once their beauty and their great originality. Now that I have seen many of them again and the rest are familiar to me in reproductions, I am astonished that at first sight I was bitterly disappointed. I felt nothing of the peculiar thrill which it is the property of art to give. The impression that Strickland’s pictures gave me was disconcerting; and the fact remains, always to reproach me, that I never even thought of buying any. I missed a wonderful chance. (42章)
the place where Strickland lived had the beauty of the Garden of Eden. Ah, I wish I could make you see the enchantment of that spot, a corner hidden away from all the world, with the blue sky overhead and the rich, luxuriant trees. It was a feast of colour. And it was fragrant and cool. Words cannot describe that paradise. And here he lived, unmindful of the world and by the world forgotten. (53章)
To these people, native and European, he was a queer fish, but they were used to queer fish, and they took him for granted; the world was full of odd persons, who did odd things; and perhaps they knew that a man is not what he wants to be, but what he must be. (54章)
It was the work of a man who had delved into the hidden depths of nature and had discovered secrets which were beautiful and fearful too. It was the work of a man who knew things which it is unholy for men to know. There was something primeval there and terrible. It was not human. It brought to his mind vague recollections of black magic. It was beautiful and obscene. (56章)

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