2. 如果婚姻是场交易,浪漫价值几何?

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If marriage is a trade, then what price romance? - Oxford Abridged Short Talks

Theatre was a popular forum for early twentieth-century feminists to challenge romantic ideals of marriage, arguing that it amounted to prostitution when soc...

So, what is any respectably girl brought up to do

but to catch some rich man's fantasy

and get the benefit of his money by marrying him

as if a marriage ceremony made any difference

in the right or the wrong of the thing

Ah, the hypocrisy of the world makes me sick

That's Mrs. Warren from Shaw's 1893 play

Mrs. Warren's profession

She's an ex-prostitute and brothel keeper

and when her Girton educated daughter finds out

and is horrified by this

she confronts her with the below living standard wages

and atrocious working conditions, that women face

and says, so the only trade in effect that society allows to women

is being kept by a man, pleasing a man and living of his money

And whether that's inside or outside of marriage

she says, makes no difference at all

That argument became a central tenet of feminist campaigns

and suffrage campaigns through the end of the 19th

beginning of the 20th centuries

So for example Cicely Hamilton a leading suffragist

beginning of the 20th century wrote in her polemic

Marriage as a Trade in 1909

For a woman, who has always been far more completely excluded

than man from direct access to the necessities of life

who has often been barred both by law

and custom from the possession of property

one form of payment was demanded and one only

It was demanded of her, that she should enkindle and satisfy the desire

of the male, who would thereupon admit her such share of the property

he possessed or earned as should seem good to him

In other words, she exchanged by the ordinary process of barter

possession of her body for the means of existence

As Hamilton says

prostitution is thus only the logical conclusion of this state of affairs

and she further warns, that while men think

that women only exist to become wives and partners and mothers

they have a rude awakening, when it comes to romance

as she puts it, someday he will discover

that a woman does not support life only in order to obtain a husband

but frequently obtains a husband only in order to support life

Now, makes a good polemical argument

but hardly makes a particular good theatre

so there are a lot of pamphlets written on this form

and there are a number like Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession of plays

written around at the beginning of the 20th century in which

women turned to prostitution to support themselves

and support their families

problem with these, not only they didn't make terrible good box office

but also they didn't get a license for public performance

So, what I want to offer you is one play

which manages to take this argument and put it together with

well, it was subtitled a romantic comedy

with Cicely Hamilton's play Diana of Dobson's

and it was really good box office

It opened in February 1908

at Lena Ashville's Kingsway Theatre

ran for a 143 performances straight off and was only taken off

so that Ashwell could have a rest, before taking it on tour

It was frequently revived and in 1917 it was made into a film

So how did Ashwell do it?

Well, the play opens in the living-in system

A dormitory, so that a large part of the worker's wages

are paid in board and lodging

and the first act has the exhausted workers

in a large drapery firm coming in and getting ready for bed

and it's kind of reversed Cinderella

So they come in looking like attractive beautiful young nubile shop girls

especially designed to market the goods

and they take off the false hair, the false curls, the ribbons, the collars

the cuffs, all the rest of it and get into their very unattractive nighties

All without, as the critics, all the critics

the male critics complained about

the sensational nature of this scene

and also complained, that no flesh was seen

and as one critic put it

the various stages of undress are not made pretty

He's clearly quite disappointed by this, failing to see the point of it

and one particular worker, Diana of Dobson's

rages against the impoverishment of their life

The fact that their meager wages buy them for 14 hours work a day

for 5 Shillings a week, is less than 14 Pounds a year

which leaves them in effect no life

Their entire, their bodies, everything else

are in effect bought by the firm to help sell their goods

At this point the fairy godmother intervenes

and Diana receives a letter informing her

she's inherited 300 pounds from some distant relative

and she announces, rather than invest it sensibly

and supplement her meager wages to a very small extent

she intents to blow the whole lot

in what she calls one crowded hour of glorious life

She's gonna really live for this time

So, next act Cinderella goes to the ball

Posh hotel in Switzerland

She's wearing Paris gowns, extraordinary ugly in my view

but the very latest thing in haute couture

and she has not one, but two suitors

one of whom is Sir Jabbats Grinley, millionaire

owner of the drapery store she used to work in

and several other stores

who freely admits

that he has made all his money, he's a self-made man

He's made it all, by just undercutting the competition

As Diana points out by

paying starvation wages to workers like herself

He proposes and she rejects him

In extent to which he thinks, he's kind of bought her

if there is a tiny detail, a tiny stage direction

a point when he's talking to her, he

without really thinking starts fingering the fabric of her sleeve

it's the drapery man, he's sizing up the goods

and she quietly removes her sleeve from his hand

But Diana receives another proposal

from Victor, Captain Victor Bretherton

He's a fantastically idol ex-guardsman

on an income of 600 pounds a year

which places him in the very top of the upper middle classes at that point

and he can't live on it, he's far too extravagant for that

and his aunt who's tired of bankrolling him

encourages him to propose to the supposedly rich Diana

She then tells him the truth

and he becomes that she doesn't have any more money

that she has blown her entire 300 pounds in this month

and she now has to go back work in a shop

and he calls her an adventuress

And she throws it back at him and says

Well, you're the one who was looking to live on my money

but also, em, how dare you look down on me

I support myself through my own effort

with no help from connection or family or anything else

and you couldn't survive 6 months doing that

Next act, he's taken up the challenge

That's him in the end

Sure enough

he tried to survive on his own wits and his own work for 6 months

and 3 months later he's homeless and starving on embankment

at which point he meets Diana, who's come back from Switzerland

fell ill, lost all her money

and she is too starving and homeless

and he proposes to her to which having now realized

that 600 pounds a year is ample not just for himself

but for both of them

and Diana responses as follows

Captain Bretherton, I'm homeless and penniless

I haven't tasted food for nearly 12 hours

I've been starved for days

and now, if I understand you right

you offer to make me your wife

Under the circumstances, don't you think

you're putting too great a strain on my disinterestedness

And just in case of forgetting, there's a little detail

the woman between them on the bench, just before he's sitting there

between them, she finally moves off

so he can propose to her, propose to Diana

She's a long term homeless woman and there's a sense

she's what Diana could become

if she doesn't accept him

and at the end of the play, she does accept him

and the bargain is sealed not with a kiss

but with cups of coffee and dulsteps of bread

with a borrowed Shilling from a caliph

that's like the equivalent of, the 1908 equivalent of

a Kebab-Van on the other side of embankment

So it's Cinderella. It's Cinderella, but where the important bit is

where the prince dresses up as working man

and finds out the real value of money and the real value of work

But is it a romance? That's the question

This is where I love, I work on theatre and it's what I love about theatre

So ultimately whether it's a romance or not

whether it's played as a romance

it can't tell from the script alone

could be an entirely cynical bargain from the script

It depends really on tiny gestures

on looks, on the tone of voice as performed

on whether the attention at the very end

is more on the hunks of bread and the coffee

or on each other at that point in the play

So how do you determine whether it played as a romance or not?

Well, it made big box office and romance sells

so maybe that tells us something

But even that can't tell you absolutely

and you can shift Shaw famously

on only a couple of years after this play

Pygmalion ends with the lies of Doolittle

kind of taken out to the working class

and the problem how she's going to earn a living now

she's become middle class and so on

And when that play was first performed

Herbert Berbontree playing Henry Higgins

turned the play in effect into My Fair Lady

So he ended the play by presenting the actress playing Eliza

with a large bouquet of flowers and looking adoringly at her

and Shaw, when he came on and saw this

came in the hundreds performance and saw it

was outraged and Herbert Berbontree was rather upset

He said, but my ending makes money, you ought to be grateful

Your ending is damnable said Shaw You ought to be shot

So there is a sense where you can rage the whole play around

right by exactly just by those kind of unscripted tiny gestures

at the end of the play

could undercut the whole politics of the play

So how was it played at the end?

All we've got really to try and determine that are reviews of the play

and interestingly critics are pretty much split 50/50 from the reviews

of the time and whether they saw it as a wholehearted romantic ending

or whether they saw it as something more uneasy

So one critic for example picked upon

there's a tiny break in Diana's voice at the end of act 3

when she gives Captain Bretherton his dismissal in a kind of sense

and they made that heartbreak

that meant, she was really in love with him

whereas another critic complained that the position would be simplified

if it had been brought out, that Diana is in love with Bretherton

There's a kind of unease going on

So which was it?

And some critics, modern critics looking at the play have decided

that either it's a romance

or that it's very clearly a kind of cynical point

at how far she's at her wits end

at this point and ready to settle for marriage

What I like rather is that, the idea that this very ambiguity

we don't have to try and sort out through this ambiguity

we should actually embrace it and accept it

Exactly that uncertainty so that the play, like for example

Charlotte Bronte's Villette

which ends with a kind of very open uncertain ending

which leaves some to the imagination's hope

Very overtly it says if you're a romantic

write in what you want to at this point

At the end of Diana of Dobson's I'd say

it's actually quite deliberately left ambiguous

And that that point above all, that what the play is in effect saying

therefore is don't offer women a working wage

don't offer them decent professional and legal rights and opportunities

and how can you ever be sure

that she married you for love, not money?