On October 6, 2022, the world-renowned Nobel Prize for Literature was announced. The French writer Annie Ernaux was moved by the characteristics of her work “revealing the roots of personal memory, barriers and collective constraints”. Swedish Academy jury, becoming the first French female writer to receive this honor. As a female writer who has been active for many years, Erno plays an important role in the French literary world with her literary talent, creativity and artistic energy. This award not only brought her a great personal impact, but also gave foreign readers a glimpse into the lives of the French people The changes with the times have also aroused people’s further attention to the rights and interests of women groups. It is a pity that although Anne Erno is very well-known in Europe, there are very few people in China who know her. Before she won the award, there were very few Chinese translations of her works.
So why Anne Erno?
In 2017, the Nobel Prize was leaked and the award was suspended for a year. The winners of the literary awards in the following years, such as Bob Dylan and Abdul Razak Gulna, were all suspected of winning the first place by surprise, while other well-known writers accompanied them every year. Running, this has to make some readers question the authority and credibility of the award. As one of the judges, Ellen Mattson (Ellen Mattson) once described the selection criteria in an interview: “The world is full of very good writers, and you need more things to be a (Nobel Prize for Literature) winner. It’s hard to explain what that is. I guess it’s something you’re born with. Romantics call it the ‘divine spark.’ For me, it’s a voice I hear in my writing , I found it in the works of this particular writer, and I couldn’t find it anywhere else.” According to Anders Olsson, president of the Swedish Academy, Erno’s writing “consistently draws from different perspective on a life marked by vast differences in gender, language and class”.
On September 1, 1940, a little girl named Annie Duchesne was born in a low-class family in Lillebonne, Seine-Maritime, France. She grew up in Yvotto, a small town in Normandy, and completed her studies at the Universities of Rouen, Bordeaux, and a degree in modern literature. In the 1960s, Anne married Philippe Erno and changed her name to Anne Erno. After marriage, the two had two sons, but after living together for seventeen years, they finally chose to divorce. In the early seventies, Anne Ernaud started teaching at the high school in Bonneville, the junior high school in Hive in Old Annecy and in Pontoise before joining the National Center for Distance Education. Shortly thereafter, Erno published his debut autobiographical novel “Empty” (Les Armoires vides, 1974), which officially entered the literary world.
It is worth mentioning that, in her autobiographical works, Anne Erno used “je transpersonnel” (je transpersonnel) to show the society at that time by telling her own story. Ernau wrote in Raisons d’écrire (2005), “‘I’ is more transpersonal than impersonal, since the reader is also included in this Social and historical background”, “Writing life. Not my life, not his life, not even a person’s life”. In her anthology “Writing Life” (? crire la vie, 2011), she interprets her work like this: “I didn’t try to write about myself or my life into a work: I took the ordinary things in my life things as a source of stories, and what I know and feel as material, to grasp and reveal some subtle truth. I always write about myself as well as something other than myself, but from a The ‘I’ from book to book does not have a fixed identity, and its voice is cross-influenced by other voices that inhabit us—parental, social.” This “I” is a generation and a certain Witnesses of the times express the living conditions of people in an era by means of descriptions of various ordinary social behaviors.
For example, “Location” (La Place, 1983; the Chinese version is also translated as “A Man’s Place”) and “A Woman” (Une Femme, 1987; the Chinese version is also translated as “A Woman’s Story”). In the novel, the former is a biography written by Erno for his father, while the latter is written by him for his mother. Erno’s family was poor when he was young. His parents opened a tavern and grocery store in a poor neighborhood and lived a low life, but they tried their best to train Erno into an upper-class intellectual. However, after Erno really succeeded in her studies and obtained the title of contemporary literature teacher in a French middle school, there was an insurmountable psychological gap between her and her parents. In “Position”, Erno described his father in this way: “In front of family and customers, because I am seventeen years old, I can’t go to work in the office, or be a worker, or be like other girls around me. Helping out in the store opened by my parents, I feel uncomfortable and even shameful not being able to support myself.” Erno’s father lived in poverty since he was a child and basically never read a book, so he was extremely eager for his daughter to change her destiny through learning However, due to the limitations of his own class, the daughter’s “out of place” still made the father feel uneasy and at a loss.
Guo Yumei, the translator of “A Woman”, commented in the “Post-translation”: “The author describes how her parents spared no effort to change their living conditions, their joys, sorrows and joys, and their love for her. The hope of the future vividly reproduces the division of different social classes in contemporary French society, and its influence on people’s psychology, living habits, hobbies and values, and shows the real situation of people living in the lower society after World War II. Through the works, people can truly experience the different fates of people of different classes and conditions at that time.”
Even though knowledge has brought Erno power, she is still unable to draw a line with her own class, which she calls “inner exile”. Ernor wrote a biography for his mother, not just to record her life, “but to analyze her historical background and social environment through her. I think writing in this way can make me more close to reality” (“A Woman”). After achieving success in the social sense, Erno’s social position with her parents became farther and farther away. This separation from the original class made her feel uncontrollable anxiety and uneasiness. For the elite class, Erno is an outsider, and he has to work hard to adapt to the rules of the game of this class; for the original class, Erno can’t find a sense of belonging. So she said: “I entered this world of mastering language and thought according to my mother’s wish. I must write her story so that I don’t feel too lonely and false in this environment of mastering language and thought.” ”
Erno completed her masterpiece Les Années (2008) at the age of sixty-eight, which can be regarded as her autobiography. The most bright spot of this work is its “autobiography by no one” genre. Throughout the book, Ernor uses the third-person narration method and takes real-life experience as the source of inspiration, from ordinary family banquets to highly significant political activities, and describes the period from 1940 to 2000. The collective memory of French society is presented to readers in the form of a chronicle of life. Erno is not just telling a woman’s life, but reconstructing an era through personal experience, so as to “discover collective memory in personal memory and restore the true meaning of history”. In the book, Erno said frankly: “She wanted to use a narrative coherence, that is, the coherence of her life from her birth in World War II to the present day, to divide her various separate, different parts of the world. Coordinated images come together. This is a life that is unique but also integrated in the activities of a generation.”
After 20 years of scrutiny and creation, “Long Days” makes Erno worthy of being among the first-class contemporary French writers. Once published, it won the François Mauriac Prize of the French Academy and the French Academy of Sciences. Literary Duras Prize. However, the fragmented writing in this work is a major obstacle for readers to read for the first time. Erno integrated many cumbersome details of his personal growth, and each paragraph was narrated separately. There was no coherent storyline, and there was no necessary and direct connection between paragraphs. But if you read carefully, you can find that it is all these that constitute the overall picture of French society. In the book “To Chinese Readers”, she wrote: “My greatest hope is that my novel “Long Time” can make you, Chinese friends, come into contact with a French memory. A French woman’s , and a memory familiar to her contemporaries, from World War II to the present day, with more turmoil in various ways of life, beliefs and values than their ancestors had over the centuries. …I hope you can feel that we are actually in the same world, and time is also passing relentlessly.”
As a writer, Erno has a strong sense of social responsibility. She regards writing as a way of struggle and her works as a tool of resistance: “She has always been only in her language, the language of all people. To write in it is the only tool she intends to use to influence everything that opposes her. So the work to be written represents a tool of struggle.” (“Long Days”) in most of Ernor’s works , She has never stopped paying attention to women’s rights. Ernau on what she has in common with her idol Beauvoir: “Like her, I see literature as a commitment, a means of action to the world, a means of struggle, not as a sacred things. Like her, the career of living and the career of writing are inseparable to me.” In “The Event” (L’?vénement, 2000), Erno recounted his secrets during the era when abortion was banned in France. The experience of abortion. Erno got pregnant unexpectedly during college. In order to solve this unexpected “trouble”, she had to risk breaking the law and seek various solutions. During this period, her lover stayed out of the matter, and she dared not ask her family for help. Erno tried three times, back and forth, before finally succeeding. At the end of this incident, Erno told the teacher that she was sick and had a “disease that only infects women, and this disease will turn people into housewives without distinction”, and then couldn’t help asking: “Why is there no passage in history that reflects the unbearable and suffering of women?” (“Event”) On
October 6, 2022, Anne Erno was working at her home in Cergy, and the phone rang wildly rang, but she didn’t answer the call because the work wasn’t finished, and missed the announcement from the Swedish Academy. Therefore, when the writer learned that she had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature from the Swedish News Agency, she hesitated: “I am very surprised, are you sure I have won the award?” After receiving a clear positive answer, she believed it. authenticity of the news. Facing an interview with the Swedish TV station SVT, Anne Ernor responded: “I think this is a great honor, but also a great responsibility, which is the responsibility given to me by the Nobel Prize… I will use it in a fair way. , forms of justice to bear witness to the actions of the world, especially the injustices related to women and the ruled.” At a press conference held at the offices of Gallimard publishing house, Ernor reiterated the importance of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Given her responsibility, she says she will continue to fight against injustice in all its forms, even if literature may not immediately change the reality of the situation.
It is not difficult to predict that because of winning the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature, “Anne Erno”, a name not familiar to Chinese readers, will attract more and more attention in China. Her “courage” and What kind of surprises and shocks will “keen” bring us?