Variations on the Margin – The Homosexual Dimension of Tennessee Williams’ Plays [边缘上的变奏 – 田纳西•威廉斯剧作中同性恋维度的精神分析], Doctoral dissertation, English Language and Literature, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China 2009 [application of Fromm's theories to art].

  • 作为美国二战后最著名的剧作家之一,田纳西•威廉斯以其不朽的艺术成就成为美国及世界剧坛的奇葩。在长达50年之久的戏剧创作生涯中,他奉献剧作七十余部,作品不同程度地受到了人们的热烈称颂和赞誉。《玻璃动物园》是他迈向成功的第一部作品,剧作中,他将饱含浓郁诗情色彩的现实主义引入了美国剧坛;《欲望号街车》堪称为性与心理完美结合的典范,极大地丰富了美国的文化意蕴;《热铁皮屋顶上的猫》则对政治与性道德进行了大胆地追问。近年来一度被视作其败笔的后期剧作脱颖而出成为评论界瞩目的焦点。田纳西为美国及世界戏剧文化做出的巨大贡献使其先后获得普利策奖、纽约剧评家协会奖、托尼奖等诸多文学奖项,并最终奠定了他在美国乃至世界剧坛的地位。《剑桥文学指南》的编辑者马修•路德恩在评述美国二十世纪的剧作家时提到:>田纳西•威廉斯在美国剧坛的中心地位并非时序使然,而是在于他的戏剧想象力。<然而,这位以其独特创作风格丰富美国及世界舞台的戏剧大师却备受争议。由于威廉斯本人复杂、>病态<的生活经历、作品中荒诞离奇的戏剧情节以及性、暴力、疯癫等敏感的戏剧主题,他曾一度被排斥在美国主流文化之外,一些评论家对其剧作大加贬斥,认为他的剧作道德败坏、有失伦常。因此,当这位戏剧大师离世之时,琳达•瓦恩纳在《今日美国》中对之给予这样的评价:>当听说田纳西•威廉斯刚刚在楼上去世时,没有人在打听他是谁……当然,名声并不能说明什么,但现代剧作家中再也找不出一位像威廉斯这样复杂而又生动地影响美国意识的剧作家了。尽管他的吸毒、酗酒、同性恋和后期剧作的失败是众所周知的,但他的那些获奖作品却依然存在,这正是匕首与诗歌同存的有着缺陷的人性的体现。<威廉斯在美国和世界剧坛的巨大影响力及其剧作的负面评论显示了一个不争的事实:蕴含于威廉斯剧作中丰富的人性内涵深深地触动了现代人脆弱而多感的灵魂,然而扑朔迷离的人物以及迷幻的语言风格使其剧作晦涩难懂,长期以来遭到误读。鉴于此,有必要对威廉斯剧作进行全面解读以期挖掘出其中更深层次的思想内涵。与同时代的其他两位戏剧大师尤金•奥尼尔和阿瑟•米勒一样,威廉斯也十分关注处于精神迷惘的现代人的内心世界,但不同的是,他所关注的是那些形形色色无法融入主流社会的边缘人群,剧作中,他竭力展现这些>有缺陷的人<那饱受痛苦煎熬的灵魂。追本溯源,威廉斯在其剧作中对于边缘群体的热切关注源自于患有同性恋恐惧症的美国社会带给他这个>性倒错<者的创伤与痛苦。因此,威廉斯剧作中的主旋律必定是与他边缘的性身份紧密相关的边缘思想。威廉斯的个人经历与美国社会政治文化背景对其作品的影响使其剧作中同性恋的表达十分复杂,这一复杂性要求必须在充分考虑到文学评论的四大要素,既作品、作家、世界、读者的基础上,从与作品相关的社会、文化、政治等方面入手对其剧作进行全方位、多层面的解读。经过严密的论证,精神分析发展的重要里程碑—弗洛伊德的个体心理学、弗洛姆的社会心理学、荣格的分析心理学以及拉康的后现代精神分析顺次成为论文的理论框架。于是,同性恋为研究对象,精神分析为研究方法,威廉斯边缘思想体系为研究目的,共同演绎了这篇《边缘上的变奏:威廉斯剧作中同性恋维度的精神分析》。弗洛伊德的个体心理学主张通过作家与作品的关系进行文学研究,认为梦的形成与文学创作有异曲同工之妙。鉴于梦的隐义可以通过梦的显像来表达,那么威廉斯作品中显现的作为同性恋艺术家的自画像则成为探索他个人边缘感的主要渠道。威廉斯的剧作大多是情感性自传,并非他个人经历的真实展现而是其心理世界的反映。剧作中,他情不自禁地将自己的边缘情结投射在剧中人物身上:早期剧作中,这位年轻的剧作家将女性人物视为他的情感之根;麦卡锡时代,作家的使命感敦促这位成熟的剧作家将面戴神秘面纱的自我送上了为边缘人群寻求救赎希望的神圣之旅;当社会对同性恋的态度有所缓和时,威廉斯的生命和艺术之火已渐渐燃尽,于是他在作品中留下一份空间,期望在真实自我的寻求中重返艺术世界。这些游弋于作品中鲜活的人物形象所汇聚而成的威廉斯作为同性恋艺术家的自画像向我们展示了威廉斯的个人边缘感。弗洛姆的社会心理学探讨的是社会如何利用社会无意识对个体意识进行控制的,这为探讨威廉斯流于作品中的社会层面的边缘感打开了方便之门。在推崇异性恋的社会里,同性恋被视为一个规避的存在,这种内化了的同性恋恐惧症使大多数社会成员神经过敏,致使同性恋这一群体痛苦地挣扎在主流社会的边缘之上。剧作中,威廉斯在表达他个人边缘感的同时,也通过从多角度展现社会强加给同性恋的心理创伤来表达同性恋作为边缘群体的边缘感:所有的社会成员在内化了的同性恋恐惧症这一社会无意识的作用下孤立、排斥同性恋;出于对排斥的恐惧,备受压抑的同性恋只能选择逃亡作为他们的出路;然而不幸的是,正是逃亡使他们陷入了无尽的孤独之中。由此,在见证威廉斯作为一个成熟的剧作家如何将个人情感转化为艺术情感的过程中我们领略到了他社会层面的边缘感。威廉斯的剧作中饱含大量的神话和原型。对他而言,神话和原型具有极强的象征意义,是很>自然的戏剧语言<,威廉斯由此展现了他对世界的感知。荣格的原型理论认为,神话和原型代表了人类最普遍的情感,因而具有文化的内涵。剧作中,他在描绘主流文化所推崇的二元对立模式下残缺不全的世界的同时,竭力凸显他构建的以和谐、相容为文化理念的理想世界:在个人意识的范围内,他摒弃了精神与肉体的分裂、呼唤完整的人性;在两性世界里,他打破了两性的界限,崇尚双性同体;看到同自然的分离是人类痛苦的根源,他表达了逃离这个腐朽社会、与自然和谐相容的美好愿望。两种文化模式下两个世界的对比彰显了他对异于主流文化的同性恋边缘文化所做的贡献。福柯认为,语言是各种权利运作的载体,运用探索无意识与语言关系的拉康后现代精神分析对威廉斯剧作中同性恋话语的解读可以使我们充分体会到他在剧作中所表现的对于主流话语的独特的应对机制,其作品语言风格的流动可以看成是美国社会政治气候及其文学地位变化的晴雨表:早期剧作中模棱两可的语言显示他>欲语还羞<;麦卡锡时代,既得的文学地位使他得以在作品中构建同性恋新形象来对抗主流话语对同性恋形象的贬损:石墙事件以后,和其他同时代的作家一样,威廉斯采用了直言不讳的表述方法,与此同时,他还调动各种戏剧手段作为语言符号来表现同性恋的心理问题。剧作中语言风格的变化展示了威廉斯政治层面的边缘感。至此,这部为徜徉于威廉斯剧作中的边缘思想而唱响的以同性恋为主题的精神分析的变奏曲终于落下了帷幕:威廉斯所热衷的自我表述将我们带进了他的内心世界,使我们可以真实地探求他作为一个同性恋无法融入主流社会的边缘感;作为同性恋艺术家的>非个人化<将我们的目光引向了他剧作中所描述的和他一样生活在社会边缘的同性恋群体,在对其进行剖析的过程中,我们深切地感受到了蕴含其中的浓郁的社会意识;神话和原型增强了威廉斯剧作的普遍性,这使威廉斯得以在作品中构建一个与现实世界相抗衡的理想世界,由此为被主流文化所不容的同性恋文化做出了贡献;对威廉斯流动变化的写作风格的研读使我们的嗅到了其中强烈的政治味道。这样,四个理论节点所形成的四个变奏,既论文的四个部分交相辉映形成了这部变奏曲的多彩乐章。尽管威廉斯的作品频频受到非议,但近半个多世纪以来,观众及读者对之兴趣依然不减。一些曾因威廉斯戏剧而名声大噪的演员如马龙•白兰度、保罗•纽曼、杰西卡•唐迪至今依然令人难以忘怀;他诗性妙曼的语言依然回响在舞台上;他笔下栩栩如生的人物还扣动着观众与读者的心弦。如今,威廉斯已离世二十余载,其剧作在世界舞台上又开始了新一轮的巡演,其戏剧研究也日渐趋热。威廉斯戏剧的再热不仅从一个侧面论证了其剧作强大的艺术生命力和感染力,而且从某种程度上也显示出他笔下的那些形形色色在道德和人性上错位的边缘群体在这个多元化的时代终于唤起了人们的广泛关注,这些人物所展现的苟存于主流文化之中的生活方式和边缘文化意识都有待于我们对之进行重新鉴赏和审视,去挖掘其中所蕴含的超越于时空的丰富的思想内涵。希望本论文所提供的独特的理论视角可以为此方面的研究打开一个局面,从而为日益多彩的威廉斯戏剧研究抹上浓重而真实的一笔。show moreshow less
  • As one of the greatest playwrights in the 20th century, Tennessee Williams won many top theatricalAs one of the greatest playwrights in the 20th century, Tennessee Williams won many top theatrical awards, such as Pulitzer Prize, New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and Tony Award, etc. Yet, the playwright whose unique creative style had enriched American and world theatre was a controversial figure. Owing to his own morbid life experience, along with his fantastic dramatic plots and recurrent themes of sex, violence, insanity, and etc., Williams used to be shunned by American mainstream culture for quite some time and also labeled as an immoral abettor by some critics. As Linda Winer commented when he was found dead in Room Sunset at the Hotel Elysee of New York City in USA Today: When told Tennessee Williams had just died upstairs, no one needed to ask who he was … Celebrity, of course, is no proof of greatness. Yet it is impossible to name another modern playwright who has broken into American’s consciousness with Tennessee Williams’ complex, vivid force. Despite publicity about drugs, alcoholism, homosexuality, and failures of his later plays, it is the award-winning playwright’s work – the knives and poetry of flawed humanity – that remains. - The concurrence of Williams’ great power over the global theatre and the unfavorable criticism he encounters in his playwriting demonstrates: the rich connotation of human nature in his plays do touch modern people’s fragile and sensitive souls, but owning to ambiguous characters and evasive language, his plays have been misread for a long time. In view of this, it is necessary to make a panoramic interpretation of Williams’ dramatic canon to delve into the ideological connotation in his plays. - Williams, like the other two great American playwrights Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller, concerns himself with the inner psyche of spiritually perplexed modern man, but he chooses to fix his eyes on all hues of marginal people, devoted to probing into the tortured inner worlds of >the flawed people< populating his plays. Tracing the root in his life experience, Williams’ obsessively dramatizing the marginal people originates in his sufferings of being asexual deviant in American homophobic society. It is justifiable to say that the main motif of his plays is his marginal ideology closely associated with his marginalized sexual identity. - Williams’ life experience, together with American socio-political and cultural milieu, complicates his presentation of homosexuality. The complexity requires the present study to deploy a vast panorama, i.e. individually, socially, culturally and politically, with consideration into all >four elements in the total situation of a work of art<, i.e. the work to the author, the universe (or nature, and the world) and the audience (or listeners, spectators and readers). The milestones of psychoanalytical development, i.e. Freud’s individual psychology, Fromm’s social psychology, Jung’s analytical psychology and Lacan’s post-modernism psychoanalysis are respectively applied to the present study in a chronological order. Thus, with homosexuality as the research object, psychoanalysis as theoretical approach and Williams’ marginal ideology as the aim of research, Variations on the Margin: A Psychoanalytical Critique of Homosexuality in Tennessee Williams’ Plays is born. - Freudian individual psychology suggests that a piece of literary work be studied through the inter-relationship of an author and work and dream-work parallel art-work. Considering that the >dream-thoughts< can be represented by the manifest content of a dream, namely >pictographic script, <Williams’ individual sense of margin can be obtained by reading the visual images/characters in his plays. - Williams’ plays are mostly emotional autobiographies, which do not serve as the presentation of his real life experience but the reflection of his inner world. In his plays, he feels compelled to project his feelings of being on the margin onto his characters, so the female characters, mythical figures and thinly disguised homosexual artists are his alter egos at different stages of his life, who constitute a cubist portrait of Williams as a homosexual artist. Through the investigation of theself-portrait, Williams’ individual sense of margin is obtained. - Fromm’s social psychology that explores how a given society imposes its social unconsciousness on the individual provides us with convenience in the exploration of Williams’ marginal ideology on the social level. In a heterosexuality-dominated society, the homosexuals are always in a plight situation. The internalized homophobia causes most social members neurotic, which in turn drives the homosexual group to the margin of mainstream society. When he vents his own sense of margin in his plays, Williams does not ignore the presentation of the homosexual group’s sufferings of being on a margin in all aspects: all social members, with the impact of their internalized homophobia, ostracize and isolate the homosexuals; in fear of ostracism, the repressed homosexuals find no way out but escape; yet, it is their escape that imprisons them in the loneliness. We thus get Williams’ marginal ideology on the social level in witnessing how Williams as a mature playwright transfers his individual feelings and experiences to the ones of art. - Williams in his plays widely uses myths and archetypes, both of which for him are very symbolic, >the natural language of drama< Jungian archetypal theory believes that myths and archetypes represent human beings’ universal feelings and thus carry the cultural connotation. By employing them, Williams indicates his perception of the world. In his plays, he describes the incomplete world constructed in the mode of binary opposition advocated by mainstream culture, and in theme anwhile, emphasizes his ideal world with the concepts of compatibility and harmony. From man ontology to the outside world, he constructs three ordinal worlds as the counterparts of the ones that accord to mainstream culture. The sharp contrast of the two kinds of worlds reveals Williams’ great contribution to the gay subculture in conflict with mainstream culture. - Michel Foucault thinks that language serves as a carrier of various power exercises. The interpretation of Williams’ homosexual discourse in terms of Lacanian postmodernism psychoanalysis that lays more weight on the interrelationship of the unconscious and language presents his unique tactics coping with the constraints of mainstream discourse. The fluidity of Williams’ language style can be read as a >barometer< of American socio-political climate and the change of his literary status, thus connoting Williams’ marginal ideology on the political level. - The study of homosexuality in Williams’ plays from the omni bearings in terms of psychoanalysis gives us an access to the four aspects: his self-portrait as a homosexual artist, the pitiable plight of the homosexual group on the social margin, his ideal world connoted by gay sub-culture, and the homosexual discourse. Through the analysis of these four aspects, we have got four ideas held by Williams as a marginal being. They serve as four variations of Williams’ marginal ideology, thus wor-king together to play a colorful musical movement with his marginal ideology as primary motif. - Today, twenty-six years after his death, Williams’ plays have imperiously started another revival on the world’s theatrical stage. The revival not only has authenticated Williams’ strong artistic vitality, but also, in some sense, indicated that the various marginal groups with moral and human dislocations in his plays have finally got the attention in the era of diversity. The life style and marginal ideology of these marginal characters are waiting to be anew appreciated and surveyed so as to mine for the rich ideological connotation beyond time and space. It is hoped that the unique theoretical perspective offered in the present dissertation will open up a prospect of Williams study in this respect and hence enrich the increasingly colorful Williams studies. [Author’s translation]show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Xinying Zhang
Document Type:Dissertations
Language:Chinese
Year of first Publication:2009
Release Date:2016/09/29
Format:no download and copy possible
IdNo:Zhang_Xinying_2009
Writings about Erich Fromm (Secondary Literature):Dissertations / Dissertationen
Erich Fromm's Library and Erich Fromm Archive:Dissertations / Dissertationen
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