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英文解釈の思考プロセス 第178回


今回の題材は、2017年4月24日付の The New York Times 紙に掲載された、ジェニファー・バーンズ氏によるエッセイ、Ayn Rand’s Counter-Revolution ”アイン・ランドの反革命闘争” です。ロシア革命から100周年となる本年、そのロシア革命の歴史的意義を考察する The New York Times 紙に連載中の Red Century の一部です。全文の和訳はオリジナルの次にあります。

The Opinion Pages

Ayn Rand’s Counter-Revolution


Jennifer Burns




Ayn Rand in New York in 1957. Credit Allyn Baum/The New York Times

STANFORD, Calif. — The crowds jostling below, the soldiers marching down icy boulevards, the roar of a people possessed: All this a young Ayn Rand witnessed from her family’s apartment, perched high above the madness near Nevsky Prospekt, a central thoroughfare of Petrograd, the Russian city formerly known as St. Petersburg.

These February days were the first turn of a revolutionary cycle that would end in November and split world history into before and after, pitting soldier against citizen, republican against Bolshevik, Russian against Russian. But it wasn’t until Rand became a New Yorker, some 17 years later, that she realized the revolution had cleaved not only Russian society, but also intellectual life in her adopted homeland of the United States.

We usually think of the 1950s as the decade of anti-Communism, defined by Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Hollywood blacklist and the purging of suspected Communists from unions, schools and universities. The prelude to all of that was the 1930s, when the nation’s intellectuals first grappled with the meaning and significance of Russia’s revolution. And it was in this decade that Ayn Rand came to political consciousness, reworking her opposition to Soviet Communism into a powerful defense of the individual that would inspire generations of American conservatives.

Rand is best known as the author of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” but before these came “We the Living,” the novel perhaps closest to her heart. It was certainly the novel closest to her life: The protagonist, a gifted engineering student named Kira Argounova, lived the life that might well have been Rand’s, had she stayed in the U.S.S.R. But whereas Kira died a dramatic death trying to escape over the snowy border into Latvia, Rand succeeded in emigrating in 1926 and soon made it to Hollywood, the “American movie city” she had written about as a Russian film student, which became her first home in the United States.

By the mid-1930s, after setting about a successful writing career and becoming an American citizen, Rand was ready to explain the country she left behind. “We the Living” depicted the quotidian gray of life after the drama of the October Revolution had faded. What was left was the cynical machinations of party insiders and the struggle to maintain a facade of gentility — one hostess served potato-skin cookies to guests, who “kept their arms pressed to their sides to hide the holes in their armpits; elbows motionless on their knees — to hide rubbed patches; feet deep under chairs — to hide worn felt boots.”



A first edition of “We the Living” published by Macmillan in 1936.

At the novel’s heart was the quiet despair of hopes crushed by new lines of class and caste, as students like Kira, punished for her family’s former prosperity, had their futures stripped away. For Rand, “We the Living” was more than a novel, it was a mission.

“No one has ever come out of Soviet Russia to tell it to the world,” she told her literary agent. “That was my job.”

Only, in 1930s America, few wanted to hear what she had to say. When the novel was published in 1936, capitalism itself was in crisis. The Great Depression had cast its dark shadow over the American dream. Bread lines snaked through the cities; Midwestern farms blew away in clouds of dust. Desperate men drifted across the country and filled up squatters’ camps of the homeless and workless on the outskirts of small towns, terrifying those who still had something to lose.

In this moment, Soviet Russia stood out to the nation’s thinking class as a sign of hope. Communism, it was believed, had helped Russia avoid the worst ravages of the crash. Tides of educated opinion began running strong to the left.

 “These were the first quotas of the great drift from Columbia, Harvard and elsewhere,” the American writer — and former Soviet spy — Whittaker Chambers wrote in his 1952 book “Witness.” “A small intellectual army passed over to the Communist Party with scarcely any effort on its part.”

This intellectual army had little interest in a melodramatic novel about the sufferings of the bourgeoisie. Worse, views of the book reflected an ideological divide that Rand had not known existed. Rand had taken for granted there would be “pinks” in America, but she hadn’t known they would matter, certainly not in New York City, one of the literary capitals of the world.

But the champions she found were outsiders of that milieu, like the newspaper columnist H. L. Mencken. Even reviewers who enjoyed her writing, though, generally assumed Rand’s rendition of Soviet Russia in “We the Living” was exaggerated or no longer true, now that Communism had matured.

Rand had thus stumbled, unwittingly, into a drama that would shape American thought and politics for the rest of the century: a bitter love triangle between Communists, ex-Communists and anti-Communists.

First came the Communists, often literary men like Chambers, John Reed (of “Ten Days That Shook the World” fame) or Will Herberg. A handful of the most prominent Bolshevik enthusiasts were women, including the dancer Isadora Duncan and Gerda Lerner, a later pioneer of women’s history.

Next were the ex-Communists. For many, 1939 was the fateful year, when Soviet Russia signed a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany, previously its mortal enemy. The reversal was too much for all but the most hardened American leftists — after all, it was the fight against fascism that had drawn many to the cause in the first place. (In an interesting twist, Italian filmmakers produced a pirated film adaptation of “We the Living” as an anti-fascist statement, which was later banned by Mussolini’s government.) The great drift into the Communist Party U.S.A. became the great drift out of it.

Still, to be an ex-Communist was not necessarily to be an anti-Communist, at least not immediately. Rand was one of the first, and not because she had lost her faith, but because she was an émigré who had witnessed the Russian Revolution from the inside.

Finally, in the 1950s, anti-Communism became a full-fledged intellectual and political movement. Chambers made the most spectacular move from Communist to ex-Communist, to anti-Communist, revealing his participation in an espionage ring and implicating several high-ranking government employees, including Alger Hiss, the former State Department official who was accused of being a Soviet agent.

Chambers’s revelations helped touch off McCarthy’s crusade against suspected Communists in government. Rand herself got in on the action, testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee about Communist infiltration of Hollywood.

And here unfolded the last act of the drama: the eventual emergence of anti-anti-Communism. It was one thing to reject a political movement gone horribly wrong. It was something different to turn on one’s former friends and associates, in the process giving “aid and comfort to cold warriors,” as the writer and historian Tony Judt wrote. And so even as Communism fell out of favor, among intellectuals anti-Communism became as unfashionable as it had been in the 1930s.

Once again, Rand was a talismanic presence. By the 1950s, her anti-Communism had evolved into a full-throated celebration of capitalism, buttressed by her original credibility as a survivor of Soviet collectivism. She had traded in the elegiac historical fiction of “We the Living” for another Soviet inheritance: agitprop novels, dedicated to showcasing heroic individualists and entrepreneurs. By 1957, she had fully realized the form in “Atlas Shrugged,” an epic that weighed in at Tolstoyan proportions.

Rand had found her voice — and her audience. “Atlas Shrugged” became a best seller, despite poor reviews — Rand would never get the critical respect she craved. The gap between Rand and her fellow novelists and writers, first evident in the 1930s, would never close.

While originally manifest in the dynamics between Communism, ex-Communism and anti-Communism, this gap touched upon something more fundamental in American life. The Russian Revolution and its aftermath had exposed a “jagged fissure” between “the plain men and women of the nation,” as Chambers put it, “and those who affected to act, think and speak for them.”

One hundred years later, that fissure is with us still.

Jennifer Burns, an associate professor of history at Stanford University and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.”

This is an essay in the series Red Century, about the history and legacy of communism100 years after the Russian Revolution.

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< 全文和訳例 >




ランドは、”源泉(The Fountainhead)”、及び ”肩をすくめるアトラス( Atlas Shrugged)”の著者として知られていますが、彼女の心情を最も適切に表現しているのは、それらより以前に出版された”われら生きるもの(We the Living)”でした。その小説は、確かに彼女の半生そのものと言えました:主人公は才能に恵まれた技術系の学生であるキラ・アルゴノーヴァであり、彼女の人生は、ランドがソヴィエト社会主義共和国連邦に留まっていたならば歩んだはずのものでした。しかし、キラは雪に覆われた平原をラトヴィアに逃れようとして劇的な死を遂げたのに対して、ランドは1926年に移民として無事にアメリカに渡りました。しばらくしてハリウッドに移り住みましたが、そこは彼女がロシアで映画を学ぶ学生として “アメリカの映画の都” として書き記した場所であり、アメリカでの最初の定住地となりました。

1930年代の半ばまでに、作家として成功を収めるだけではなくアメリカの市民権を得ることで、ランドがロシアから亡命することになった理由をアメリカ人に喧伝する為の前提条件が整いました。”われら生きるもの” は、10月革命の高揚感が萎んだ後の味気ない日常生活を描いていました。革命が残したものは、表面的な上品さを取り繕うともがいているパーティの招待客の示し合わせたかの様な行動でした ― 主催者の女性がじゃがいもの皮程の薄さのクッキーをゲストに勧めていますが、彼らは、”上着の腕の部分にある穴を隠す為に両腕をしっかりと脇につけ;肘はつぎはぎが見えてしまうので動かさず;両足はくたびれたブーツを隠す為に椅子の奥深くにしまっていたのです。”

その小説が最も訴えたかったことは、新しい階級制度と身分秩序によって、女子学生のキラの様に一家が裕福だったという理由だけで罰せられ将来を奪われてしまう、声にならない絶望でした。ランドにとって、”われら生きるもの” は小説の執筆を超えた使命でした。




”この最初の兆候が、コロンビア、ハーヴァードやそれ以外の大学に現れました、”と、かつてはロシアのスパイであり、その後作家となったウィテカー・チェンバースが1952年の小説 “Witness” において記しました。”共産党の工作員は苦労せずして、小規模とはいえ知識人の一団を党に取り込むことが可能となりました。”

その知識人達は、ブルジョワの苦悩を描いたメロドラマの様な小説にほどんど興味を示しませんでした。更に悪いことに、その小説が言わんとしていたことは、ランドが意識していなかったイデオロギー的対立を反映していました。ランドはアメリカにも”共産主義に好意的” な人々がいるのは当然であると考えていましたが、世界の文芸の中心地の一つであるニューヨークでは取るに足らない存在に過ぎないと思っていたのです。

意外なことに、彼女は賛同者を文学以外の世界で見出しましたが、その中の一人が新聞のコラムニストだったH・L・メンケンでした。とはいえ、彼女の小説に好意的だった書評家達でさえも、ランドが ”われら生きるもの” において描写したソヴィエト・ロシアは誇張されているか、あるいは、既に共産主義が安定期に入っていたこともあり、もはや現実から乖離しているとみなしていました。


そのドラマに最初に登場するのが共産主義者で、彼らは概ね、チェンバース、ジョン・リード(ロシア革命のルポルタージュである”世界をゆるがした10日間” の作者として名高い)、ウィル・ハーバーグの様な作家でした。熱狂的なボルシェヴィキの支持者はごく僅かでしたが、その中にはダンサーのイサドラ・ダンカンと後に女性史研究の第一人者となるゲルダ・ラーナーがいました。

次いで登場するのが、かつての共産主義者です。多くの共産主義者にとって、1939年は運命的な年となりましたが、その理由は、ソヴィエト・ロシアがそれまで政治倫理的に不倶戴天の敵だったはずのナチス・ドイツと、不可侵条約を締結したからです。その晴天の霹靂ともいえる事件は、最も強硬な共産主義者を除く大半の共産主義者への大打撃となりました ― そもそも、ファシズムと戦うという点が、彼らに共産主義に親近感を抱かせた理由なのです。(興味深いねじれ現象として、イタリアの映画会社が反ファシストを訴える目的で ”われら生きるもの” を著作権を無視して映画化しましたが、後にムッソリーニのファシスト政権によって上映禁止とされました。)アメリカ共産党への参加を促進した大きな社会、政治的潮流は、そこからの脱退を促す流れへと変化してしまいました。





ここでも、ランドは反共産主義の最後の砦としてその存在感を発揮しました。1950年代が終わるまでに、彼女の反共産主義は、ソヴィエト集産主義から逃げ延びたという彼女の名声に支えられながら、資本主義に対する全面的な賛美へと進化していました。彼女は、悲壮な歴史物語である ”われら生きるもの” を、ソヴィエトでのもう一つの体験へと発展させました:即ち、共産主義に反対した個人や実業家を英雄的に描くことで彼女の政治思想を織り込んだ小説の執筆です。1957年になると、彼女はその政治思想小説を、その壮大さにおいてトルストイに匹敵する ”肩をすくめるアトラス” において見事に実現させました。

ランドは、彼女の支持者を見出しました。”肩をすくめるアトラスは、書評家には受けが悪かったものの、ベストセラーとなりました ― ランドは心から願っていた書評家からの評価を得ることは決してありませんでした。1930年代の時点でそうであった様に、ランドとその同世代の小説家や作家とのギャップは、最後まで埋まりませんでした。

そのギャップは、そもそも、共産主義者、前共産主義者、そして反共産主義者の三者が織りなす動的な関係において明白だった一方で、アメリカ人の生活のより根源的な部分と結びつくことになりました。チェンバースが述べた様に、ロシア革命とその余波は、”国民の一般大衆” と “その大衆の行動、思想、そして発言に影響力を及ぼすエリート層” との間に ”深い亀裂” があることを露わにしました。



To be continued.