資料彙整   /   作家  /  Charlotte  Mew  夏洛特.謬悟
Charlotte  Mew
夏洛特.謬悟
圖片來源:http://www.execpc.com/~jon/mewpage.html
主要文類:Poem
資料提供者:Kate Liu/劉紀雯;Raphael Schulte/蕭笛雷;Julia Hsieh/謝佩璇
關鍵字詞:Victorian woman poet;Dramatic monologue; Introductionto Literature,Spring 1999 (Ray); Introduction to Literature:Society and Identity (Kate)

夏洛特.謬悟

Charlotte Mew
一八六九∼一九二八

Julia Hsieh/謝佩璇
 
生平簡介
她的著名代表作品



生平簡介

儘管她一生的經歷就像是她的創作風格一般,呈現灰暗色彩,每一篇故事和每一首的詩卻又都叩人心弦、發人省思,充滿故事性的性格和抑鬱的人生讓夏洛特.謬悟譜出一篇篇寫實色彩濃厚的作品,使她成為舉世知名的偉大英國女詩人之一 。
 
一、家庭暨教育背景
   

當年輕的建築師費得列克.謬悟與倫敦望族坎多家的安娜.瑪莉亞.瑪耳敦.坎多小姐成婚的時候,雖然大部分的家庭成員並不看好這段婚姻,但總是為任性乖僻的坎多小姐找到歸宿而祝福他們。儘管費德列克並不富裕,他努力用微薄的收入將家庭環境營造 成謬悟 太太習慣的奢華生活。然而這樣的生活並沒有維持多久,隨著家庭逐漸茁壯,謬悟家的小孩一一出生,喜好娛樂卻又在工作上無法突破的費德列克變得無法負擔家庭的經濟重擔。於是,除了富有的外祖父母及親戚的經濟支援,與家管依莉莎白.古德曼的幫助,在七名子女中排行老三的謬悟在年紀還小的時候便學習著以自己微薄的力量照顧家人。虔誠的古德曼是從坎多家庭來的幫手,除了管理謬悟家的大小事,她照顧孩子們生活起居,雖然古德曼不認同謬悟從小養成讀書寫作的習慣,而謬悟家的孩子在宗教信仰上也似乎並不虔敬,篤信宗教節律生活的她對於孩子們從小的道德標準、生活習慣卻有一定的影響。一般相信,謬悟保守單調而奇怪的穿著風格便可能是受到古德曼的影響。

謬悟家早年因接二連三的失親之痛而充滿愁雲慘霧的低迷氣氛。七名子女中,包括謬悟最親的弟弟理察在內,共有三名子女在年幼時期便因精神等疾病早夭。年紀最長的亨利和年紀最小的芙莉妲中期一生居住精神療養中心。謬悟家的經濟也因為龐大的醫藥費而變得拮据。謬悟與其妹-安-相信唯有保持不婚,他們才能夠確保家族遺傳的精神疾病不會因此而延續下去。這僅存正常生活的謬悟兩姊妹因此終生未嫁,兩人與母親在父親離家之後相依為命,以十分有限的收入勉強維持龐大的醫療費用與家用。

謬悟成長過程中另一重要關鍵人物為露西.哈理森小姐。打從成為哈理森的學生開始,除了學業之外,謬悟在情感上對於哈理森有十分強烈的依附關係。因為其古靈精怪的活潑性格,她在學校的時候人緣極佳,但也往往因為她過分誇張而情緒激烈的反應,表現令人驚愕。當哈理森決定退休之際,謬悟激動地在眾目睽睽之中以頭撞牆作為不滿的情緒表現,而了解自己女兒極度情緒變化的謬悟先生也曾向哈理森苦苦相求,要求她繼續收留謬悟。身為好惡分明任性的學生,她從來只學習她感興趣的科目,因此自年幼她便投注大量的心思時間讀與寫。研究謬悟的傳記作者多數相信,哈理森在學習成就和情感層面對於謬悟的影響之巨,也可能造成日後謬悟大多與女性友人相處親密的伏筆。
 
二、寫作生涯
   

搬到倫敦的謬悟愛上倫敦大都市的繁華生活,儘管在她的作品中偶而提到自己喜愛拜訪鄉間的親友、鄉村的息氣,倫敦生活對於謬悟來說,還是她選擇的生活方式。在父親辭工離家之後,謬悟家幾乎分崩離析:謬悟與妹妹同住照顧母親,並從此負擔亨利與芙莉妲長年龐大的醫藥支出,安從事藝術修繕工作、而謬悟開始以寫作出版掙錢。由於《黃書》的編輯亨利.哈爾藍出版並為其作品引言,謬悟的短篇故事獲得迴響,也開始建立她的文學名聲。謬悟也因此結識更多當代文壇作家,一如愛芙琳莎爾普和與謬悟關係匪淺的愛拉.達西。謬悟與達西之間的關係密切,有傳言當達西拒絕謬悟的熱切的情感依附,謬悟曾經一度抑鬱自我封閉。除了《黃書》之外,謬悟的作品也在當代其他文藝書刊出現。漸有知名度的她,隨後認識阿利達.克來門塔斯基和哈洛.門羅,他們的友誼進階不僅僅使得謬悟結識更多當代具影響力的作家,一如愛伊.修士曼、沙松、稱讚謬悟為「史上最傑出的女詩人」的湯瑪斯.哈帝和吳爾芙等人,在她其後的人生,這些朋友給予她的肯定、關懷,使她建立自信並幾度安然渡過難關。

謬悟一生受經濟情感侷限,儘管作品為她帶來名氣和文人益友,她因為朋友的幫 助、國家文藝獎金的資助和妹妹的親情支持之下勉力寫作。一九二二年,謬悟姊妹因經濟困窘而被迫遷離住了近一輩子的住所,謬悟老太太因此受傷,之後一年因病不起,謬悟姊妹致力照顧母親卻仍無法挽回母親的惡化的病況,她在一九二三年辭世。母親的死對謬悟來說為一大打擊,雖然母親健康情況本不佳,但她仍然因失親之痛而對自己的未來感到無所適從。緊接著是妹妹安於一九二七年因病過世,謬悟再次深受打擊,面對陪伴自己一世的至親手足的死,她變得乖僻而漸漸離群所居。在朋友的建議下,她住進療養院,但隨後她敬重的朋友,詩人哈帝也不幸逝世,這讓她以衰弱的精神與萎靡的求生意志更加雪上加霜。不多久,她寫好遺書,叮囑委託人將自己欲同姊妹合葬的意願之後,謬悟服毒自殺,享年五十九歲。

 

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作品簡介

雖然謬悟最有名的作品為其詩作,但她的短篇故事卻早在一八九四年時已出現在當時的文學雜誌期刊。往往在她虛構的故事情節之中,她鮮少設計善惡對立、是非分明的角色與情節,往往營造出真實人生裡屢屢出現的道德衝突及種種抉擇考驗。她所描寫的人物、事件經歷以及情節環境,真切寫實地呈現不同社經階級的人物、口音語氣,以不同的敘事聲音說故事。 她的作品揭露她的道德觀和對宗教的保留、矛盾情緒,作品充滿色彩、象徵意義的代表性事物也同時展現多變的意象、她敏銳的觀察角度、對人生的懷疑以及因數度失親而對生命產生逐漸失去能量與勇氣的絕望情緒。

也許正因為她悲傷的童年和從未停止的孤單感受,死亡、焦慮與分離等等創痛經驗都經常性的成為她寫作的主要題材。她的首篇故事「經過」描寫一名女孩在目睹死亡、墮落、賣淫與貧窮等等劇烈的人生變化百態之後,深受打擊近乎崩潰的渾沌感受。「瓷碗盤」裡描寫一名介於母親與妻子之間的漁人,矛盾情緒的情感糾葛讓他無所適從而顯得苦悶,最後面臨死亡與分離的慘況。「 仕女」與「馬克.史戴福的妻子」皆為成功描繪女人面對生活與愛情時的衝突情緒與挫折感受的小品,而在「開著的門」和「牧師的花園」裡,謬悟藉著有虔誠信仰的主人翁在面對宗教與現實生活時的兩難情緒,而洩漏了自己對於宗教的保留與疑問。「愛的方法」寫關於愛與責任的矛盾衝突,在「笑靨」裡,她寫出自己複雜的思緒,是個關乎失落感、淪喪的公理正義與欲求不滿,充滿暴力而悲劇性的寓言故事。「致死的忠誠度」和「麥子」被視為她最具代表性的故事,充滿現實的故事背景和情節描寫平凡寂寥生活裡,小人物所面對的衝突與抉擇。

謬悟最經典也最受注目的是她的詩作,特別是一九一三年「教堂裡的麥德蓮」、一九一六年的「農夫的新嫁娘」和同年的「慶典」,分別為她帶來各界正面的評論和賞析。 「教堂裡的麥德蓮」是一個獨白劇,描寫麥德蓮她的罪孽、她的愛與慾、她迴旋在過去與現實以及生活與信仰之間的挑戰。 「慶典」描述一名小男孩 經過 一段與馬戲團的雜耍騎士表演者 共同經歷而改變了對生命態度的奇遇。「農夫的新嫁娘」則是敘述農夫決定保守他的新婚妻子並且努力想讓她愛上自己卻 逐漸 理解 現實的殘酷並預見爾後將孤獨落寞的複雜情緒 。

儘管謬悟具有許多死亡意象的作品,潘妮洛普.費茲傑羅認為她並不是因為極度在意死亡而在其作品中描繪死亡情節。謬悟滿溢意象的詩也因為她前衛不講格律、押韻的形式而受到不同面向的評論。文評修伯特.沃福斯因其不假裝飾、贅述,和流露於作品各處的真實感受、描寫的自然寫實氣質而高度讚賞謬悟的作品。

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Charlotte Mew
1869-1928
Julia Hsieh/謝佩璇
 
 Biographic Sketch

 Her Works

 

 

 Biographic Sketch 
Though her life is as gray as her fiction and poetry, Charlotte Mew is reckoned as one of the great English poetesses whose works have long impressed and touched the readers' inner beings.
 
A. Family Background and Education
   

The Mews had suffered very much by the bereavement of losing the family members in death and ever-ridden sickness. Three Mews male children died and Mew's favorite brother, Richard, included. Her eldest brother, Henry and the youngest sister, Freda, remained in mental institution all their lives since early adulthood. Mew and her closest sister, Anne, believed that the family is genetically challenged with the seemingly schizophrenia-related disease, and are hence determined to remain single so that the illness will discontinue. The remaining Mew sisters, therefore, stayed with each other and took care of Mrs. Mew the rest of their life, with their limited resources and meager wages.

Another influential figure for Mew is Lucy Harrison, with whom Mew had strong emotional attachment. A stone-willed and almost capricious child she was, nonetheless, Mew was popular among her friends in view of her humorous and dramatic expressions. She merely studied those subjects that interested her; her strong attachment to Miss Harrison was well known by her parents and friends. When Miss Harrison announced her retirement from her post, Fred Mew implored her to continue her instruction on Mew because he was aware of his daughter's determination and caprice. That eccentricity made the young Mew, upon learning the news of Harrison 's retirement, disturbed the houseful of people by banging her head to the wall. Some biographers are convinced that Harrison influenced on Mew intellectually and emotionally, to an extent that Mew, thence, had the tendency of growing intimate relationship with women mostly.

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B. The Career of a Writer
   

Charlotte Mew strived to fight the financial and emotional constraint all her life, and though her works had brought her friends and fame, she survived with Anne's companion and with the funds from the publication of poetry and short stories or friends' help. In 1922, the Mews were forced to give up their residence on Gordon Street, and during the relocation, Mrs. Mew was hurt and passed away the very next year. Mew took the death of her mother shocking and disoriented. Misery loves company, nevertheless, Mew's lifelong companion – her dearest sister Anne – deceased in 1927; after that Mew acted more eccentric and isolated herself completely. In winter, she grieved for Hardy's death and moved even further away from her friends. With her last will written and expressed that she would like to be buried with her sister Anne, Mew ended her life with poison at the age of fifty-nine.

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 Her Works
 

Though Mew's most eminent works are mostly poems, her short stories appeared early and were published since 1894. In her fictions, there is scare indication of right and wrong. Her depictions of characters, incidents and the plots are realistic, with collaboration of a variety of dialects, social classes and voices from different walk of lives. Her works unveils her sense of ethics, morality, her ambivalent attitude toward religion, involving symbolism and color treatment to demonstrate the imagery, her observation, her doubts about life and her depression that was brought about by consecutive bereavement of loving her beloved family.

Perhaps it was her sorrowful childhood and the ever-lasting sense of solitude, death, loneliness, alienation, anxiety, and frustration are many a time the themes in her fiction and poems. Mew's first short story is "Passed"(1894) depicting a tempestuous girl's reaction upon greeting death, destruction, prostitution and poverty. "The China Bowl"(1899) is about a fisherman torn between his mother and wife, ended up with the tragedy of death and loss. "Mademoiselle"(1904) and "Mark Stafford's Wife"(1905) are both successful portrait of women's frustration in love and in life. "In the Cure's Garden" (1902) and "An Open Door" (1903) reveal Mew's ambiguous response to religion by making the protagonist religious and yet trapped in the dilemma between the religion and real life. "Some Ways of Love" (1901) is about the dilemma of love and duty. "The Smile" (1904) relates with allegory that is violent and tragic in terms of the sense of loss, injustice and the failure of fulfilling the desires that indicates the unquiet mind of Mew. "A Fatal Fidelity" (1953) and "the Wheat" (1954) are often considered two of her best stories because of the realistic setting and plot that revive the dull but conflicting life of the commoners.

Penelope Fitzgerald concluded that Mew was not obsessed with death even though she has made death her themes in most of her works. Mew's imagery-enriched poems may have aroused attention and critical review because of the unconventional patterns of stanza and rhyme. Critic like Humbert Wolfs, however, still highly appreciates her works and believes that Mew's works are free of pretension and genuinely and faithfully present the truth and the realistic.

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