【Bright Books】

  World literature does not belong to any particular nation, but the spiritual wealth of all mankind.

From November 2009 to the end of 2016, from November 2009 to the end of 2016, Japanese literary critic, translator, and professor of literature at the University of Tokyo, took 7 years to invite writers, poets, translators, and scholars from many countries to conduct 26 dialogues and discuss the The dialogues were compiled into a book, and the Lecture Notes on World Literature by Professor of Dongda University (5 volumes) was published.

Numano Mitsuyoshi pointed out in the preface of the book: "This book mainly introduces the current situation of world literature as a whole, what outstanding works, and reading Recommendations on methods, etc. I hope this book can be used as a literature introduction course for junior and high school students, as well as a reference book for adult literature re-entry.”

  These five books involve literatures from many countries such as China, Russia, the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, and Eastern Europe, and discuss many topics related to contemporary society and culture.

Mitsuyoshi Numano also invited three Chinese writers, translators, and scholars, Yang Yi, Tian Yuan, and Zhang Jing to have a dialogue, and pointed out that Chinese literature has a long history and has a great influence on Japanese literature in history, and Chinese ancient poetry has the most far-reaching influence, especially The tradition of drinking and writing poetry has also been inherited in Japan, and modern Chinese poetry is also a very profound world.

  With vivid examples, Mitsuyoshi Numano introduces readers to the current "world literature" from three prominent aspects, so as to guide readers how to better understand and read "world literature".

Mitsuyoshi Numano believes that world literature should maintain the unique characteristics of various ethnic groups and languages, and at the same time have the courage to break down the barriers between each other, so that the literature of various ethnic groups can flourish, a hundred schools of thought contend, and learn to learn from each other's strengths.

In his 26 conversations with his interlocutors, he most prominently paid attention to three important issues in current world literature.


  Pay attention to the literary quality of literary works.

  Mitsuyoshi Numano believes that there is an essential difference between cultural properties that survive from genuine literature, and interesting readings created just for consumption.

Therefore, he and his interlocutors attached great importance to "pure literature" in their dialogues.

In poetry, the purity of modern poetry and the freshness of expression are emphasized.

In the novel, attaches great importance to the artistry of the novel.

Its specific performance has two aspects.

  First, focus on skills.

The novelist Keiichiro Hirano especially emphasized that writers must ensure the "pure" side of "pure literature" and attach importance to artistic design or artistic skills. Taking Dostoevsky's creations as an example, he made a powerful discussion: Dostoevsky's novels are not only fascinating, but also cleverly conceived.

Readers can either regard his works as simple mystery novels, or they can think about "the value of life and the meaning of death" from a deeper perspective by reading his novels.

  Second, pay attention to language.

Literature is the art of the ultimate use of language.

The novelist Yoko Ogawa pointed out that language plays a big role in how far the boat of literature can go and how deep the water can dive.

Language is not only the carrier, but also the home where literature lives.

Mallarmé said: "Poems are not written with thoughts. Poems are written with words." Not only poetry, but also novels. Every novel in Babel's "The Cavalry Army" is written in a succinct style, with a highly condensed language, not superficial. The pen has a great influence in the West and Russia.


  Indicate the importance of the reader's own reading and how to read it.

  The book points out that the so-called world literature is not based on how many works people have read, but how to choose works and how to read them.

Since the "classics" themselves are constantly evolving in the process of literary history, the so-called world literature is actually a question about what and how you and I should read.

That is to say, I hope that readers will not tie themselves to a certain book list when they first come into contact with world literature, forcing themselves to "have to read" certain works, but to immerse themselves in the works of interest as much as possible. , with the in-depth reading, readers will find that the next work that can arouse their interest in reading will naturally appear in their hearts.

In this way, the reader's own reading field of vision begins to truly face the world and is continuously expanded.

And this is an optimal reading path in the mountains and mountains of world literature.

  Numano Mitsuyoshi pointed out that although information has become easy to obtain in the Internet age, reading itself has not changed, and computers will not replace human beings to read literary works and enjoy the touch brought by the works.

The so-called reading is to read, feel, experience, analyze, and gain something from it.

This process of "reading" is fundamental to literature.

He also pointed out that before and after reading a good book, the reader will definitely change a little, and the eyes will definitely be different when looking at the world.

On this basis, the book introduces a variety of reading methods.

  First, read more classical literary works, which are important for readers.

The book points out that classical literary works created in past eras have withstood the test of time and not only survive to this day, but still have important value.

Many of these works are of outstanding modernity and contain profound resonance that can resonate with modern readers. For example, Dostoevsky was the first to mention all kinds of worrying problems in modern society in his own works, such as "horror" "Child abuse", "child abuse", etc., and explores these issues in a profound and essential way.

Therefore, his literary works have a certain sensitivity and heaviness beyond the times, which still makes people feel that he is "a leader of the times".

  Second, excellent literary works, especially classical works, are multi-layered and ambiguous, and should be read in a variety of ways.

Mitsuyoshi Numano explained in detail that Dostoevsky's novels have a certain ambiguity.

Its famous work "Crime and Punishment", which tells the story of a young man named Raskolnikov who kills an old woman who lends money to usury, can be used if the reader focuses on the plot of crime and criminal investigation. Read it as a crime novel.

Likewise, if the focus is on other aspects of the work, the work can be either an "urban novel", a "social customs novel", a "psychological novel" or a "religious novel" ”, or even the ultimate “thought novel.”

And all good literature is very good at presenting multiple levels of complexity.

  Third, different ages need to read different books, but they must be read from an early age, and classical literary works must be studied repeatedly.

The book emphasizes that the interpretation of works will be different due to different ages, so reading should choose books suitable for their age, and classical works need to be studied repeatedly.

Because one of the distinguishing features of good classical literature is that, over time, when you try to re-read it, you will find different sides and different kinds of splendor.

Therefore, don't read these works once and feel that you understand them, and then put them on the shelf.


  Emphasize the important role of translation.

  Numano Mitsuyoshi pointed out that the translation of literary works is often criticized for losing the charm of the original text and is a parallel import of secondary imitation. Only the original text is the only sacredness, and the process of translation damages this sacredness.

In fact, if you look at it from another angle, you will find that although translation does have some limitations, it has the power to make the work transcend the borders of a certain country and go to a wider world, where it can communicate with new readers. they meet.

The process of translation may make it lose something, but as long as it is an interesting and good work, especially a good literary work, there must be something tougher and more meaningful in it, and you will gain something from reading it.

Moreover, it is impossible to read literary works created in a foreign language without translation, so translation is a necessary means of reading foreign literature.

Translation has the power to make the original work endure for a long time, which is also one of the charms of translation. Continuous translation work must be the only way to enrich world literature.

  (Author: Zeng Siyi, professor at the School of Literature, Tianjin Normal University)