Reading through Taking Various Transportations

在文檔中 威斯坦·休·奧登的《焦慮年代》中的空間實踐 - 政大學術集成 (頁 38-51)

will depend on other sensations such as hearing. Seeing can evoke the viewers’

imaginations. Space turns out to be a text and the objects are the notes that create the mythical movement.

2.3 Reading through Taking Various Transportations

12

In “The Seven Stages,” the four characters see space from various angles by transportations. Through distinct heights or speeds, space constantly changes its spectacles. There are many transportations from the land, the sea, to the air. The transportations on the land include train, car, trolley car, and so on. Other two types of transportations are airplane and boat. Theses technical devices make space multiple.

The spatial practitioner is no longer the walker. Furthermore, the transportations can also act the role of spatial practitioners to explore space.

Train is the first transportation in “The Seven Stages,” and it first appears in front of the Mariners Tavern. Emble illustrates the scene of train:

The railroads like the rivers run for the most part East and west, and from here

On a clear day both coasts are visible And the long piers of their ports.

To the south one sees the sawtooth range Our nickel and copper come from,

And beyond it the Barrens used for Army Manœuvres; while to the north

12Auden pays attention to the relationship between human and technology. Nicholas Jenkins implies that

“For Auden, the future was being determined not by collective loyalties but by the supra-national impact of technology, hypostasized as ‘The Machine’, which had created a quite new historical complex, ‘The Machine Age’. This idea becomes an obsession in Auden’s early years in America. His 1940 review

‘Tradition and Value’ asserts that ‘men no longer have neighbors tied to them by geography, only a far-flung association of personal friends kept in touch with by machinery’, and argues that the ‘effect of the machine on life overshadows completely any political effects’” (“Auden in America” 45).

‧ 國

立 政 治 大 學

N a tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

32 A brown blur of buildings marks

Some sacred or secular town. (CP 489)

The land is clearly divided into four regions by the rail. The eastern and western regions are the coasts, where the long piers and ports appear. The southern part of the land is full of minerals that produce nickel and copper, and it is also a place for army manœuvres. The northern part is known for its crowded building accumulation in town. The land is separated due to its functions. This division is both functional and political. In light of its explicit purposes, the land can be manipulated and governed by the regime. The wholeness is represented by its fragmentation. The directions are replaced by the landscapes. The passengers can only discern the place by the changing spectacles from the outside scenery. The movement of the train makes the passengers lose the sense of time and directions. They can merely perceive space through these changing spectacles. Nevertheless, there is no more directions, only pieces of

fragmentations along with and in front of them. They are floating above and lose the connection with land. They stay in the same position but they perceive the movement through the changing spectacles outside the windowpane. Paradoxically, they are between the immobility and the mobility.

In de Certeau’s “Railway Navigation and Incarceration,” train has two significant features that influence the passengers’ travel experience; that is, the windowpane and the iron rail. De Certeau claims that “[t]he windowpane is what allow us to see, and the rail, what allow us to move through” (sic) (112). The windowpane “creates the spectator’s distance: You shall not touch; the more you see, the less you hold— the dispossession of the hand in favor of a greater trajectory for the eye” (112). The windowpane provides a medium for the spectators to see through it but keeps a certain distance between the spectators and the objects. The iron rail is “a single but endless

‧ 國

立 政 治 大 學

N a tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

33

line: go, leave, this is not your country, and neither is that” and it continually moves to leave “behind any proper place,” and to lose “one’s footing” (112). The passengers cross land through the rail not on their feet and what they see at the moment will be left at the next. Therefore, the vision stays in an uncertainty; it is always fluctuating.

Moreover, there are two types of immobility when taking the train: the immobility inside and the immobility of outside the train. De Certeau writes an interesting observation at very beginning of this article: “[i]mmobile inside the train, seeing immobile things slip by. What is happening? Nothing is moving inside or outside the train” (111). De Ceteau demonstrates that things are immobile and placed orderly inside the train. There is another type of immobility outside the train, such as mountains, field, forests, villages, buildings, and so on. The scenery outside the train is “[a]stonishment in abandonment” (112). Along with the movement, the spectacles change every moment. The spectacles of inside and outside become fragmented and these fragmentations make a collage that invent a kaleidoscope of bizarre space.

In “The Seven Stages,” there are also the spectacles of inside and outside of the train. In the third stage, Malin and Quant are taking train to the city. Train is

motivated by the locomotive, which makes everything happen. Consequently, de Certeau claims that the machine is “the solitary god from which all the action

proceeds” (113). At first, Quant tells the speed of the train: “Our train is traversing at top speed” (CP 494). Then, he sees the transient sceneries outside the window. They are “A pallid province of puddles and stumps / Where helpless objects, an orphaned quarry, / A waif of a works” (CP 494). Quant sees a desolate quarry outside the train.

Objects scatter in all directions. The quarry is the immobile landscape outside the train. The spectacles are transient. The images outside the window keep altering. As the train moves, the scene of the desolate quarry is behind the train. Now, he hears the

sound of the locomotive as well as the sound of the rain tapping on the “rattling windows” (CP 494). The sound of the ring and the rattling window disturbs the atmosphere inside the train. De Certeau mentions that “[t]here is also an accidental element in it. Jolts, brakings, surprises arise from this motor of the system. This residue of events depend on an invisible and single actor, recognizable only by the regularity of rumbling or by the sudden miracles that disturb the order” (113). The spectacles change along with the rumbling windowpane. The vibration and the sound compose a certain rhyme as the train moves. These disturbances make the passengers aware of the movements and the sense of time.

There are immobile spectacles in the train. The train is packed and the seats are all taken. There are “Elegant old-school ex-lieutenants,” “blowhards,” and “Thwarted genius” (CP 494) inside the train. People from different backgrounds are head to the city13 looking for a better life since “Once well-to-do’s at their wits’ end, / And underpaid agents of underground powers, / The faded and failing in flight towards town” (CP 495). Train brings its passengers from the country to the city, where might give these people better jobs for living. Inside the limited carriage, space is crowded by the “parlor cars” and “Pullmans” (CP 495). Dining car is full of food: salad, milk, pumpkin, and so on. The food and the seats are placed orderly in the interior space.

The passengers stay in an ordered space but their titles do not disturb the present moment. They seat equally together: “logicians with juvenile books, / Farmers, philistines, filles-de-joie” (sic) (CP 495) all stay in the same space. The city tolerates

13 Peter Firchow has expounded that Auden interests in various landscapes: “the English Auden . . . frequently depicts recognizably English or Scottish landscapes, and so for that matter does Italian Auden or the Austrian Auden with respect to the landscapes of those countries. But not so with the American Auden. Whenever the American Auden presents his readers with a recognizably American context it is always a cityscape rather than a landscape. . . . Auden’s favorite landscapes never did consist, even when they were located in Britain, Italy, or Austria, of straightforward scenes of quasi-Wordsworthian bliss.

Though undoubtedly humanized, Auden’s landscapes are more often humanized by means of (antiquated) machinery rather than more traditional methods of cultivation” (“The American Auden: A Poet Reborn?”

459).

‧ 國

立 政 治 大 學

N a tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

35

the differences from every level of social background. The movement from the

country to the city offers people the freedom to choose their future possibilities. In the process of train traveling, the passengers gradually take off their past burdens and look forward to the possible prospects.

Leaving the familiar behind, logicians, farmers, philistines, and prostitutes proceed to the city looking for any possibilities that “the city can use” (CP 495). The speed of the changing spectacles makes the passengers feel dizzy and also presents the obscure frontiers. Theses borders vanish de Certeau has mentioned that “[t]hese frontiers are illegible; they can only be heard as a single stream of sounds, so

continuous is the tearing off that annihilates the points through which it passes” (113).

The passengers do not see any signs of destination until they hear the whistle of the train to inform them. The passenger lose the sense of distance since they are moving within the immobility. The movement relies on the changing spectacles outside the train rather than the physical movement. Therefore, the change of spectacle also invents a new frontier. The previous frontier will disappear in the next moment or will be replaced by the next spectacle. Simultaneously, both the present spectacle and the frontier will be replaced by the next movement. Uncannily, these spectacles will disappear and appear once again.

Sitting inside the train, the passengers are numb about the change of time and space since they immerse themselves in the state of immobility within the mobility. It blurs the line of being here or there. The next example is car. Emble and Rosetta drive car after leaving the inn. Driving a long day and arriving at an unknown place, Emble sits inside the car and looks the outside scenery. He describes that:

Nieces of millionaires Twitter on terraces,

Linen on stones by a stream, And a doctor’s silk hat dances On top of a hedge as he hurries Along a sunken lane. (CP 491)

Emble sees the outside spectacles through the window which brings him the sense of distance.14 To see from a certain distance provides him a panoramic view. He feels that this “landscape is full of life” (CP 491). He sees every action from the local residents: people talk quickly with each other; some farmer wives are doing their work adjacent to a river and a doctor is looking for his hat. Staying inside the car, Emble does not interact with these local people but he connects those images together via the sight. Through seeing, Emble connects himself with others. He is impressed and attracted by these images that are enlarged in their sizes and portrayed in slow motions so that every detail is depicted delicately.

The residents occupy themselves with chores; therefore, Emble sighs that “Only I have no work / But my endless journey” (CP 491). The residents who do the works routinely live in an ordered society. Emble, as an outsider, frees himself from the restrictions of the local rules. He keeps moving forward and hears the “whirr of wheels” (CP 491) for miles. The outside images continually change as the car moves.

Emble is eager to preserve those spectacles but in vain: “Its grief the glimpse of a face / Whose unique beauty cannot / Be asked to alter with me” (CP 491). Space is

represented by the fluctuating spectacles. Interestingly, in light of the technical

14 Auden attempts to see America from a certain distance that is influenced by D. H. Lawrence. In the Studies in Classic American Literature (1923), Lawrence states that “writers about the United States ‘see what they want to see: especially if they look from a long distance, across the ocean, for example’,” and Nicholas Jenkins observes that “Auden at first viewed the United States through conceptual lenses”

(“Auden in America” 45). Emble also sees from a certain distance from the window, which is like the lenses. I guess Auden presents the way of seeing from an American perspective via Emble’s eyes.

‧ 國

立 政 治 大 學

N a tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

37

movement, both Emble and the spectacles change their locations. This movement relies on the locomotive. Emble and the outside objects are immobile; as a result, the scenes left behind can be replaced by the next ones but the replacements can never be the same. The new spectacles will overlap the previous ones and merely create a new phantasmagoria. He thinks himself as a “pilgrim prince / Whose life belongs to his quest / For the Truth” (CP 491). Those transient spectacles are like the truth, “Which is never here and now” (CP 491). Searching the truth in a phantasmagoria brings Emble an endless journey. This quest will never arrive at any destinations that are always postponed.

Individual interpretations subvert the meaning of the present spectacles. What Rosetta sees inside the car first is the sparkling light and the rivers: “The light collaborates with a land of ease, / And rivers meander at random / Through meadowsweet massed on moist pastures” (CP 492). These rivers “Past decrepit palaces / Where, brim from belvederes, bred for riding / And graceful dancing” (CP 492). There are several old palaces and belvederes that once belonged to the

noblemen for dancing or riding. However, this place changes into a playground for visitors. Rosetta says: “But modern on the margin of marshy ground . . . Of more practical people with plainer minds, / And along the vacationer’s coast, / Distributed between its hotels and casinos” (CP 492). The land does not belong to those noble people any more. Its destiny turns out to be a place for hotels and casinos in order to attract more holidaymakers. Space is like the parchment that can be written over and over. Therefore, the past and the present coexist in space. The living “Ex-monarchs remember a past / Of wars and waltzes as they wait for death” (CP 492), and they see the modern spectacles with nostalgia. The past will possibly influence the way people perceive the present space. Consequently, they see the modern spectacles but cannot

‧ 國

立 政 治 大 學

N a tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

38

changes their feelings into the modern ones. Space, therefore, is a chaos.

In the fourth stage, the characters take the trolley car to explore the city. Before discussing what they see in the city, I would like to pick some ideas of the city from de Certeau’s viewpoints. De Certeau mentions that the concept of the city has three main characteristics. First of all, it is a “production of its own space” (sic) that

“rational organization must thus repress all the physical, mental and political pollutions” (94). Second, the city is “a synchronic system” and full of “opacities of history everywhere” (94). Third, it is “a universal and anonymous subject” (sic) (94).

The city which is manipulated by a totalitarianism aims to construct a coherent system and to subjugate those disobediences in a monitored place.

The urban space is subjugated by an unknown authority as de Certeau indicates that it is “a world bewitched by the invisible powers of the Other” (36). When arriving at the city, Malin observes the surroundings and says: “The scene has all the signs of a facetious culture, / Publishing houses, pawnshops and pay-toilets; / August and

Graeco-Roman are the granite temples” (CP 496). The first impression of urban spectacle is the architecture. The urban space is divided into several sections based on their functions. For instance, the diseases need to be under control. Therefore, the city government will arrange those “medicine men whose magic keeps this body / Politic free from fevers, / Cancer and constipation” (CP 496) to guarantee the social order.

The purpose of the division is to allow the ruler manipulating space easily. In the strategic space, every section manages its own power as de Certeau indicates that

“[a]s in management, every ‘strategic’ rationalization seeks first of all to distinguish its ‘own’ place, that is, the place of its own power and will, from an ‘environment’”

(36).

In the city, space is governed by the rules. Malin sees the urban spectacles:

‧ 國

立 政 治 大 學

N a tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

39

The rooms near the railroad-station are rented mainly By the criminally inclined; the Castle is open on Sundays;

There are parks for plump and playgrounds for pasty children;

The police must be large, but little men are hired to Service the subterranean

Miles of dendritic drainage. (CP 496)

The totalitarianism attempts to build an ordered society. Space is divided into the railroad-station, the Castle, parks, playgrounds, and so on. In these planned places, people follow the rules in their daily life. Nevertheless, the orderlessness exists within the strategic ordered space. The railroad station is not merely a place for transition but also a place for the criminal inclination. The parks are offered for the children of rich while the playgrounds for the children of poor. On the ground, there are a lot of policemen to keep the city ordered. Under the ground, however, few people are hired to fix the drainage. Within the planned spaces, there will be something else staying in the dark. Although they cannot be seen obviously, they exist.

The invisibility in space will be revealed by the outsiders. Malin as an outsider stands on the street and sighs: “Well, here I am but how, how, asks the visitor, / Strolling through the strange streets, can I start to discover / The fashionable feminine fret, or the form of insult / Minded most by the men?” (CP 497). The citizens living in the city cannot see their surroundings clearly. As a visitor or an outsider, Malin stands in a certain distance to see those circumstances. Space is dominated by the authority;

space is lived by the resident, and space is seen by the outsider. Therefore, space is not a neutral existence. The government dominates space by the very visibility. The residents hardly can tell the nuance in the visibility; hence, the visibility turns out to be the invisibility. The outsider, nevertheless, distinguishes the uniqueness within the

‧ 國

立 政 治 大 學

N a tio na

l C h engchi U ni ve rs it y

40

visibility and tells the differences within the sameness. As a result, there are dilemmas among seeing and being seen, the twists and turns of the visibility and the invisibility.

After arriving at the city, they take the trolley car to tour around. Emble says:

“This tortuous route through town / Was planned, it seems, to serve / Its institutions”

(CP 497). In the strategic space, the city is planned by its propriety. De Certeau indicates that this propriety “allows one to capitalize acquired advantages, to prepare future expansions, and thus to give oneself a certain independence with respect to the variability of circumstances” (36). The domination promises the future expansions and resists the time alteration. The urban space is occupied by the infrastructure, such as the planned streets and public constructions. The visibility of the spatial

(CP 497). In the strategic space, the city is planned by its propriety. De Certeau indicates that this propriety “allows one to capitalize acquired advantages, to prepare future expansions, and thus to give oneself a certain independence with respect to the variability of circumstances” (36). The domination promises the future expansions and resists the time alteration. The urban space is occupied by the infrastructure, such as the planned streets and public constructions. The visibility of the spatial

在文檔中 威斯坦·休·奧登的《焦慮年代》中的空間實踐 - 政大學術集成 (頁 38-51)