Why the Expats Left Paris
In a picture taken in 1954 in front of the Café Tournon in Paris's chic sixth arrondissement, the writers and editors of the recently founded Paris Review are arranged in a human pyramid, with a row of casually dressed women sitting in chairs at the bottom and George Plimpton, the editor and co-founder, standing at the top with a slightly bemused, self-satisfied smile and a cigarette and what looks to be a glass of wine in his hand. The photograph feels emblematic of what Parisian expatriate life must have been like in those heady postwar years: young, liberating and full of an intellectual vigor that was embodied in café life and the host of literary reviews that were springing up all across the Left Bank. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were holding their already famous philosophical debates at a table at the nearby Café de Flore. Richard Wright had arrived a few years earlier, as had Saul Bellow and a young, and relatively unknown and impoverished James Baldwin, who was living at the Hotel Verneuil, a cheap, slightly run-down hotel nearby.
在 過去六個月中﹐我一直住在距離托儂咖啡館、花神咖啡館和雙偶咖啡館(Les Deux Magots)只有五分鐘路程的地方。後兩者比前者更有名。尤其雙偶咖啡館﹐更是巴黎人和美國旅法作家曾經的精神生活中心。我最近有一次到托儂咖啡館吃午 餐﹐胳膊底下夾著詹姆斯•坎貝爾(James Campbell)一本著作﹐這本著作有一個很恰當的名字──《放逐巴黎》(Exiled in Paris)。我好奇地尋找照片誕生的那個時代留下的蛛絲馬跡。在那個五十多年前的年代﹐人們可以在咖啡館洗手間附近的小角落買到毒品﹐也有機會遇到在二 戰後以巴黎為家的眾多非洲裔美國作家、藝術家中的一位。如今的我卻發現自己顯然是這裡唯一的美國人。For the past six months, I've been living roughly five minutes away from the Café Tournon, and the even more famous Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots -- the former epicenters of Parisian and American expatriate intellectual life. I went to the Tournon for lunch recently, with James Campbell's eloquent and aptly titled book 'Exiled in Paris' tucked under my arm, curious to see if there was anything left of the café as it must have looked more than 50 years earlier when that picture was taken: when it was still possible to buy drugs in the little nook near the restrooms or have a chance encounter with one of the dozens of African-American writers and artists that had made Paris home following the end of World War II. It seems to almost go without saying now that I was the only American around.
在過去五十五年中﹐這裡的一切發生了 巨大的變化。包括托儂在內的聖傑曼大街(St. Germain)的咖啡館都已經舊貌換新顏﹕門面變得規整得體﹐精巧而又隨意的硬木裝飾、屋裡的圓桌和皮椅讓一切都變得不一樣。左岸這片曾經充滿波希米亞 氣息的地段一度是文人墨客的家園﹐即使是最窮的作家也不例外。如今﹐它已經變成了繁榮的巴黎旅遊業的游覽中心。由於美元兌歐元下跌得實在太厲害﹐曾經被美 國人、尤其是作家和藝術家當作臨時居所的地方幾乎不復存在。最近﹐我在聖傑曼大街咖啡館的露天座位上聽到這樣的談話﹐一位美國婦女對她的兩個朋友感慨﹕ “一杯純淨水就要八美元﹐八美元啊。”不過她的語氣聽上去更多的是困惑而不是憤怒。Things have changed drastically in the last 55 years; the Café Tournon, along with the rest of St. Germain, has cleaned up its act, with a proper, well-appointed façade, an elegant but casual hardwood décor and a roundtable of leather chairs in the back. The former bohemian quarters of the Left Bank that were once home to even the poorest of writers have become the center of Paris's starry-eyed tourist trade, and the dollar has plummeted so far against the euro that what once seemed to be a semipermanent settlement of Americans, particularly writers and artists, has all but vanished. Recently while sitting outside of a café just off the Boulevard St. Germain I overheard an American woman remark to her two friends, 'Eight dollars for a bottle of still water. Eight dollars,' her voice not so much angry as baffled.
現在當人們迴憶起上一代美國作家以及他們在巴黎的旅居 生活時﹐很難不加上浪漫主義色彩。想想吧﹕在一個陽光燦爛的日子﹐你坐在典雅的花神咖啡館﹐不遠處就是薩特和波伏娃﹔又或者﹐你坐在隔壁的雙偶咖啡館﹐臨 桌的鮑德溫和賴特正在進行激烈的爭論﹐原因是鮑德溫寫了一篇文章抨擊賴特的《土生子》(Native Son)。但是這些場景和對話似乎只屬於逝去的那個年代﹐那時流通貨幣仍然是法郎而不是歐元﹐人們也不會在聖傑曼大街的另一端找到一家American Apparel店。It's hard if not inevitable now to think of that previous generation of writers and not romanticize them and their lives here a bit: to think of yourself sitting under a bright light at a table in the back of the elegant Café de Flore, in shouting distance of Sartre or Simone de Beauvoir, or to have been on the terrace at the neighboring Les Deux Magots when James Baldwin and Richard Wright reportedly had a heated argument about an essay Baldwin had written excoriating Wright's 'Native Son.' Such events and conversations seem to belong exclusively to another era, one that was measured in francs instead of euros, when there wasn't an American Apparel store to be found just on the other side of the Boulevard St. Germain.
隨著那個年代逝去的不只是咖啡館里的文學生活﹐更有那種觸手可及、充滿活力的美國文化生活。我的一位朋友在一家法國大 型出版社工作。他告訴我﹐法國作家、編輯和記者仍會留連在那些如今已很有名的咖啡館和啤酒屋裡﹐繼續討論有關書籍或哲學的問題。他們討論這些這些問題時的 激情和嚴謹﹐可能並不遜於當年的薩特。似乎是為了進一步證明這一點﹐法國著名咖啡館──花神、雙偶和利普(Brasserie Lipp)都設立了文學獎。獎品除了金錢之外﹐還包括免費香檳和供獲獎者任意使用的餐券等等。換句話說﹐在法國﹐總的來說書籍和文學仍然是談話和辯論的主 題﹐只不過“碰巧”沒有美國人參與這種談話罷了。What's really missing these days isn't just café literary life, but a palpable and vibrant American cultural life. As a friend who works for one of France's largest publishers pointed out to me, French writers, editors, publishers and journalists are still there at the major cafés and brasseries that have now become famous, and they're still talking about books and philosophy, perhaps with even the same degree of heady, intellectual rigor that Sartre would have done. And as if to prove the point even further, the major cafés of St. Germain -- Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots and Brasserie Lipp -- all have literary prizes, which come with money and their own individual perks ranging from complimentary Champagne to a large tab that can be used at the writer's discretion. In other words, books and literature in general are all still discussed and debated; there just happen to be no Americans around when they are.
美國人缺席巴黎的文化生活﹐但是在巴 黎的美國人數量卻沒有明顯減少。最近到訪巴黎的美國人幾乎和當年一樣多﹐他們仍成群結隊地來到巴黎﹐只在“對伊戰爭”開始後和美國國會“修改菜單事件” (將法國薯條改為自由薯條﹐以抗議法國對伊政策)之後有過短暫的減少。(美國遊客的減少引起了關注﹐法國旅遊業立即開展了針對美國遊客的廣告宣傳﹐主題是 ﹕‘讓我們再次相愛吧。’)每逢週末﹐仍然可以看到美國人出現在那些著名的咖啡館外。對於普通法國人來說﹐美國旅遊者涌入法國的腳步從未停止過。當我在飯 桌上問一群朋友“是否注意到巴黎的美國人少了”時﹐他們的回答概括起來就是﹕“你瘋了吧﹖這裡有那麼多美國人﹗”從美國遊客的數量上和美國遊客留給他們的 印象上看﹐他們也許是對的。但是不得不承認的是﹐美國人和巴黎之間持續多年的“某種特定類型的愛情”事實上已經結束﹐而且是永遠地結束了。這種“愛情”是 無論多麼高明的廣告宣傳都無法挽回的。The absence of Americans is not a matter of sheer numbers. There are still almost as many Americans passing through Paris these days as in previous years. With the exception of a brief dip following the start of the war in Iraq and the branding of 'freedom fries' in the nation's Capitol building, Americans have continued to arrive in droves. (The decline in fact was so notable that the French tourist industry launched a campaign targeted towards American tourists titled, 'Let's Fall in Love Again.') You can still hear and see them standing outside of the famous cafés on the weekend, and for the average Parisian, the American tourist trade marches on unchecked. When I asked a group of friends over dinner whether they noticed that there were fewer Americans in Paris, the collective response from the table could be summed up as: Are you crazy? There are so many Americans here. And while they may have been right about the numbers, or the obvious presence which all tourists bring with them, it's hard not to believe that a certain type of long-standing love affair between Americans and the city hasn't in fact come to an end, that there's been a permanent departure that no advertisement campaign, however charming, can reverse.
英文書店“鄉村之聲”(Village Voice)坐落在聖日爾曼大街的德佩街區(Germain des Prés)。店主奧黛爾•海利爾(Odile Hellier)是一位嬌小的法國女士﹐帶著眼鏡﹐時常給人慷慨而熱情的感覺。海利爾充滿感情地談起屬於她的“美好過往”──上世紀80年代初。那時﹐大 量流連於巴黎的美國作家群體創建了文學刊物和文學評論刊物﹐這些刊物的類型是50年代以來不曾在巴黎出現過的。海利爾女士的書店裡幾乎全是文學類書籍﹐她 四白落地、狹窄而整潔的辦公室則位於書店最里側。在這間辦公室里﹐海利爾仍然保留著當年的一些刊物和筆記本﹐筆記本上記載著那一代美國作家的名字。談及那 個年月﹐海利爾的懷舊之情溢於言表﹐她熱切而執著的情感流露已很難在很多人身上看到。Odile Hellier, the slightly petite, appropriately bespectacled, and at times effusively generous French owner of the English-language Village Voice bookstore in St. Germain des Prés remembers fondly her own version of the good old days in the early 1980s, when a strong American expatriate community created literary journals and reviews in Paris, the types of which hadn't really existed since the 1950s. In her cramped, white-walled and yet neatly ordered office at the back of the bookstore, whose selection can best be described as almost excessively literary in scope, she still keeps a bundle of notebooks with the names of writers and some of the journals they created in those days. The nostalgia in her voice, which is filled with a rarely heard type of passionate earnestness, almost goes without saying.
回憶當年成群結隊來到巴黎的美國人和美國作家時﹐海 利爾感慨地重複著一個詞﹕“太多了”﹐“當年的法國似乎仍然是一個生活很輕鬆的地方﹐我們的書店也正是因為這個原因開辦的。”但是後來﹐這家書店與最初維 持書店的美國顧客群體一起陷入了衰落﹐銷售額大幅度下滑的局面一直持續到今天。'So many,' she says once, and then again two more times for emphasis, referring to both the Americans and the writers who once flocked here. 'France still looked like a country where it was easy to live. The Village Voice took off because of that.' The bookstore, like the Americans that initially helped sustain it, has been on the decline ever since, with a notable dip in sales that has continued unabated.
'For me, the community has exploded,' and by exploded she means disintegrated.
Obviously a large part of that disintegration can be traced back to the dollar's rapid decline against the euro. If Baldwin and Wright were to sit down today to two cups of coffee on the terrace of Les Deux Magots to argue about an essay, their bill, without tip, would be almost $15. The decline in American life in Paris, however, can't be all about the dollar and its rise and fall. When Baldwin arrived in Paris in 1947, he arguably had less here in terms of financial and material support than he would have had he stayed in New York. He came regardless, following on the heels of Richard Wright. Both men, along with dozens of other African-American writers and artists, were fleeing America's divisive and often violent racism, and France, or Paris in particular, was in the midst of its long-running love affair with African-American culture, and jazz in particular, and seemed openly freer and more inviting than any place in America could ever be. A decade later, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William S. Burroughs would arrive in Paris seeking a similar relief, or freedom, from 1950s American society and culture.
很 明顯﹐美國作家群體的瓦解可以追溯到美元對歐元的快速貶值上來。如果鮑德溫和賴特在今天的雙偶咖啡館談論創作﹐兩杯咖啡就要花掉他們將近15美元﹐還不包 括小費。其實旅居巴黎的美國人的減少絕不只是因為美元匯率的波動。當鮑德溫在1947年抵達巴黎的時候﹐他在巴黎獲得的金錢和物質資助比他在紐約的少。儘 管如此﹐他還是追隨著賴特的腳步而來。除了鮑德溫和賴特之外﹐還有數十位非洲裔的美國作家和藝術家﹐為了逃避美國分裂性、常常帶有暴力色彩的種族歧視而來 到這裡。法國(尤其是巴黎)長期以來對非洲裔美國人的文化十分推崇﹐尤其欣賞爵士樂。巴黎看上去也比美國的任何地方都更加自由、開放﹐也更吸引非洲裔美國 人。十年之後﹐為了追求同一種解脫或自由﹐為了逃避50年代的美國社會和文化﹐艾倫•金斯堡(Allen Ginsberg,)、格雷戈里•柯索(Gregory Corso)和威廉•巴洛斯(William S. Burroughs)也將來到巴黎。
Since then America has grown up, both culturally and politically, expanding its civil-rights legislation to closer reflect its founding principles of equality, while at the same time shedding some of the cultural conservatism that in the late 1950s led to the prosecution of the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti for the publication of Ginsberg's drug- and sex-laden 'Howl and Other Poems.' As it's done so, inevitably the egalitarian appeal of Paris has declined with it. It's not just the Americans that the French miss, as much for economic as sentimental reasons to be sure, but the idea that France, and Paris in particular, was somehow markedly distinct and different from the United States and the rest of the world. If there's a nostalgia for the American presence that was once here, it's a nostalgia directly tied to the idea that Paris was once more open, more politically and culturally liberal and therefore easier to live and create in than most other cities. As Odile pointed out to me, following the birth of the euro and the subsequent rise in the cost of living, 'France became more like the others,' the others being the rest of the Western world, and America in particular, where commerce and not culture is the dominant social factor.
不 過美國從50年代起開始變得成熟了──無論在文化上還是在政治上。公民權立法不斷完善﹐更好地體現出“平等”這一美國立法的基本原則﹔文化上的保守主義傾 向也開始消退。50年代美國在文化上曾經相當保守﹐詩人勞倫斯•佛靈蓋蒂(Lawrence Ferlinghetti)由於出版了金斯堡的現代詩集《嚎叫》(Howl and Other Poems)而遭到起訴﹐原因是這本詩集充滿了有關毒品和性的內容。一旦美國文化變得成熟起來﹐巴黎平等主義的吸引力也就削弱了。法國人不僅懷念美國人﹐ 法國人也同樣懷念曾經屬於法國的榮譽﹕法國(尤其巴黎)曾經被認為是顯著區別於美國及其他國家的獨特去處﹐法國人的這種懷念無疑是由於經濟原因和情感原 因。所以巴黎對於美國旅居者的懷舊﹐也是直接源於巴黎對於過去榮譽的懷舊﹕巴黎曾經被認為比其它城市更開放、更富於政治自由和文化自由﹐生活更輕鬆﹐也更 適合創作。正如海利爾女士所說﹐隨著歐元的誕生和生活成本的提高﹐“巴黎和其它地方變得越來越像。”所謂“其它地方”是指其它西方國家﹐尤其是美國。在這 些地方﹐主導社會的力量是經濟而不是文化。
A recent walk along Boulevard St. Germain with a French book editor and friend quickly became an exercise in nostalgia as he tried to recall the names of some of the smaller family-owned stores that had dominated the street before the explosion of French and foreign chain stores took over; 'None of this was here,' being the phrase he used most often to describe what's happened since. Perhaps even more emblematic is the decidedly pro-American business model of the current president, Nicolas Sarkozy (aka 'Sarko L'Americain' as he's sometimes mocked in the French media), whose attempts to adjust the retirement age of civil servants and squeeze more efficiency out of the government have been met with massive nationwide strikes that seem aimed more at holding on to the remnants of a vanishing culture than challenging the logic of the policy.我最近和法國的一位圖書編輯朋友沿著聖日爾曼大街散步。我們的散步很快變成一次“懷舊之旅”。 他試圖回憶起曾經遍佈日爾曼大街的一些家庭小店的名字﹐如今這些小店已經被法國品牌或世界品牌連鎖店取代。談到連鎖店的爆炸式增長﹐他不斷重複一句話﹕ “過去可沒有這些。” 更具象徵意義的是法國現任總統薩科齊(Nicolas Sarkozy)明確主張的美國模式(他也被法國媒體戲稱為“薩科美國齊”,Sarko L'Americain)。這位總統試圖調整公務員的退休年齡並提高政府效率﹐他的改革計劃引起大規模的全國性罷工﹐不過這場罷工看上去更像是為了維護正 在消逝的文化﹐而不是質疑政府的政策原則。
Today it's impossible for me to imagine the sense of refuge and sanctuary that other Americans once found here. Paris has its own complicated racial issues to settle; as the violent riots in the suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis recently demonstrated, there is little fraternité or égalité when it comes to France's large and growing African and North African immigrant communities. As a writer of African origin, I'm aware that it's precisely my American identity that protects me not only from the casual discrimination that other Africans experience here, but from the harassment of the police, who are prone to stopping Paris's African immigrants, particularly those living in the northern sections of the city. The food market near my former apartment in the 18th arrondissement, which in almost every detail, from the languages spoken to the fabrics of the women's dresses and the haggling at the vegetable stalls, was a perfect replica of some of the markets I've known in Africa, could sometimes feel like a market under siege with a constant and heavily armed large police presence marking the entrance off the Boulevard Barbès. The policeman's common cry for papiers, papiers -- documents proving legal residence -- is one that I know I can all but ignore thanks to my American accent first, and my passport second.如今﹐我很難想象美國前輩如何在這裡找到“避難所”的感覺。巴黎現在也有自己的複雜種族問題需 要解決。從塞納聖德尼地區(Seine-Saint-Denis)最近發生的暴力衝突就可以看出﹐對不斷壯大的北非及非洲移民群體來說﹐這裡既沒有博愛也 沒有平等。作為一名擁有非洲血統的美國人﹐我意識到我的美國身份保護了我。我不僅沒有遇到其他非洲人在這裡遇到的生活上的歧視﹐法國警察也沒有找過我的麻 煩。(法國警察經常盤查非洲移民﹐尤其是居住在巴黎北部的非洲移民)。我曾經住在巴黎第18區﹐住處附近的一個食品市場幾乎在每一個細節上都與我在非洲見 過的一些市場完全相同﹐無論是市場里人們的語言﹐婦女身上的衣料﹐還是蔬菜攤上的砍價方式。大批全副武裝的警察經常包圍這個市場﹐並在芭貝絲林蔭大道 (Boulevard Barbès)的入口劃出警戒線。盤查移民的警察總是叫著“文件﹗文件﹗”﹐所謂“文件”就是合法居留的憑證。不過我倒不用為這個“文件”而操心──首先 感謝我的美國口音﹐還要感謝我的美國護照﹗
James Baldwin noted shortly after he first arrived in France, 'I didn't go to Paris. I left New York.' Inherent in that statement is the idea that it wasn't the destination but the departure that mattered most. I can't help but think that to some degree that sentiment still holds true, although for drastically different reasons than before. Paris has lost some of what once made it so special and unique, enough so that it's hard to imagine another outburst of American cultural creativity taking place in Paris again anytime soon. Why Paris when there's the rest of the world, much of which is cheaper and more unknown? It's a question I hear constantly, less so from Americans than Parisians who seem baffled by my decision to be here.鮑德溫第一次抵達巴黎不久曾說過這樣的話﹕“我不是來到巴黎﹐而是離開紐約。”這句話暗示這樣 的意思﹕目的地並不重要﹐重要的是離開美國。我不禁想到﹐也許直到今天﹐這種情緒在某種程度上仍然沒有改變﹐不過離開美國的原因已經與過去截然不同。巴黎 已經失去了她的最特別之處﹐很難想象美國文化在不久的將來能在巴黎再來一次創造性爆發。如果巴黎與其它地方沒什麼不同﹐而且在其它地方還有一些更便宜、更 不為人所知的去處﹐為什麼非要去巴黎呢﹖這個問題是我經常被問及的問題。提問的人大多是巴黎人而非美國人﹐他們看上去對我來巴黎的決定感到困惑。
At the same time, perhaps that is the real, private joy and freedom of being in Paris these days -- the freedom not from politics or culture, but from an expatriate community in which to define yourself as part of or against. Shortly before I left America for Paris I had spoken with a friend about the possibility of moving to Buenos Aires. 'Buenos Aires could become the Paris for our generation,' she noted, and I could see why she said that. I had heard rumors of other people that we knew moving there, or if not there then to other cities around the world that were supposed to be indicative of a certain cultural vibrancy and easy, carefree life.我 對這個問題的答案如今可能要算是自己獨享的樂趣和自由的感覺了﹐但這些樂趣和自由並非來自這裡的政治或文化﹐而是來自旅居者群體。在這個群體里﹐人們可以 找到歸屬感和依靠。在離開美國前往巴黎之前﹐我與一位朋友談到移居布宜諾斯艾利斯的可能性。“布宜諾斯艾利斯可能是我們這一代人的巴黎。”我知道她這句話 的由來﹐因為我聽說一些熟人已經移居到那裡。如果他們不是移居布宜諾斯艾利斯﹐就是移居到世界其它城市﹐追尋某種特定的文化活力﹐以及更輕鬆、更恣意的生 活。
I can't say that there's much of either to be found in Paris these days, which is why I suppose there's a search for its newest incarnation, whether it's in Buenos Aires or Berlin or another destination that is supposedly rumored to be the next great spot, the place where we all really should be. The pressure of being fashionable has lifted from the city, and if possible by extension to the writers who live in it, leaving us free to wander and sit in complete anonymity with only our own thoughts for comfort in a way that would have been impossible 20 or 40 years earlier.但是人們追尋的這些東西﹐我在巴黎並沒有找到太多。因此我相信﹐人們一定在尋找新的歸依地﹐那裡才是我們都應該去的地方﹐也許是布宜 諾斯艾利斯﹐也許是被稱為“下一個偉大去處”的其它地方。巴黎已經不再強迫自己站在時尚前沿﹐這種氣氛也影響到居住在巴黎的作家﹐因此我們可以完全自由地 在這個巴黎閑逛﹐或者找一個角落﹐隱姓埋名地坐下來﹐讓自己的思緒不受打擾﹐這種愜意在20年或40年之前是不可能找到的。
Unlike many of the writers and Americans who came here before, my reasons for being here are purely selfish and self-absorbed, with nothing and no one to run from. I used to say that I came to Paris because it was so quiet, in large part because at the time I could hardly speak the language. While today that may no longer be as completely true, the city still strikes me as quiet. There's no romantic ideal to be lived out here anymore -- no cafés, readings or events that can't be missed. What remain today are largely ghosts that are easy if not even comforting to live amongst. They had their Paris -- garrulous and crowded with the politics and culture of America -- and now finally, with no one else around, I can have mine.與來到巴黎的 前輩們不同﹐我來這裡出於純粹的“自私”和“自我為中心”﹐而不是為了逃離什麼事情或什麼人。我過去總是說﹐是巴黎的安靜把我吸引到這裡。巴黎的“安靜” 在很大程度上是因為我當初不會說法語。如今這個理由已經不能完全成立﹐但是我還是感覺“巴黎”很安靜。巴黎已經不再居住著浪漫的偶像﹐咖啡館也不再有不可 錯過的朗讀會或其他活動。只有文化巨子們的亡靈徘徊在這個城市﹐即使你不能欣然地與他們相處﹐但是至少你可以輕鬆地生活在他們週圍。他們有他們的巴黎── 那個充滿喧囂、與美國文化和美國政治緊密相連的巴黎。當他們的亡靈漸漸遠去的時候﹐我也就擁有了屬於我自己的巴黎。