Wakefield Master’s Realism
Moreover, insofar as any interpretation of its author can be made from the five or six plays attributed to him, the Wake field Master is uniformly considered to be a man of sharp contemporary observation. He was, formally, perhaps clerically educated, as his Latin and music, his Biblical and patristic lore indicate. He is, still, celebrated mainly for his quick sympathy for the oppressed and forgotten man, his sharp eye for character, a ready ear for colloquial vernacular turns of speech and a humor alternately rude and boisterous, coarse and happy. Hence despite his conscious artistry as manifest in his feeling for intricate metrical and stanza forms, he is looked upon as a kind of medieval Steinbeck, indignantly angry at, uncompromisingly and even brutally realistic in presenting the plight of the agricultural poor.
Thus taking the play and the author together, it is mow fairly conventional to regard the former as a kind of ultimate point in the secularization of the medieval drama. Hence much emphasis on it as depicting realistically humble manners and pastoral life in the bleak hills of the West Riding of Yorkshire on a typically cold bight of December 24th. After what are often regarded as almost “documentaries” given in the three successive monologues of the three shepherds, critics go on to affirm that the realism is then intensified into a burlesque mock-treatment of the Nativity. Finally as a sort of epilogue or after-thought in deference to the Biblical origins of the materials, the play slides back into an atavistic mood of early innocent reverence. Actually, as we shall see, the final scene is not only the culminating scene but perhaps the raison d’etre of introductory “realism.”
There is much on the surface of the present play to support the conventional view of its mood of secular realism. All the same, the “realism” of the Wakefield Master is of a paradoxical turn. His wide knowledge of people, as well as books indicates no cloistered contemplative but one in close relation to his times. Still, that life was after all a predominantly religious one, a time which never neglected the belief that man was a rebellious and sinful creature in need of redemption, So deeply (one can hardly say “naively” of so sophisticated a writer) and implicitly religious is the Master that he is less able (or less willing) to present actual history realistically than is the author of the Brome “Abraham and Isaac”. His historical sense is even less realistic than that of Chaucer who just a few years before had done for his own time costume romances, such as The Knight’s Tale, Troilus and Cressida, etc. Moreover Chaucer had the excuse of highly romantic materials for taking liberties with history.
1. Which of the following statements about the Wakefield Master is NOT True?
[A]. He was Chaucer’s contemporary.
[B]. He is remembered as the author of five or six realistic plays.
[C]. He write like John Steinbeck.
[D]. HE was an accomplished artist.
2. By “patristic”, the author means
[A]. realistic. [B]. patriotic
[C]. superstitious. [C]. pertaining to the Christian Fathers.
3. The statement about the “secularization of the medieval drama” refers to the
[A]. introduction of mundane matters in religious plays.
[B]. presentation of erudite material.
[C]. use of contemporary introduction of religious themes in the early days.
4. In subsequent paragraphs, we may expect the writer of this passage to
[A]. justify his comparison with Steinbeck.
[B]. present a point of view which attack the thought of the second paragraph.
[C]. point out the anachronisms in the play.
[D]. discuss the works of Chaucer.
1. C. 他象斯坦贝克一样写。第一段作者说他是一位公认的对当时代具有敏锐洞察力的作家。现在仍然享有盛名。主要在于“他对被压迫和被遗忘的人民的同情，有着对人物性格了解的犀利眼光，对日常方言的曲折转意的“耳朵”。他的幽默粗放而又喧闹，粗鲁而又愉快。因此，尽管他有意识的艺术效果(性)，明显表现在他对复杂韵律和诗节的感受力上，人们仍然尊他为中世纪的斯坦贝克，对贫苦农民悲惨命运的疾首愤怒，给以毫不妥协地甚至野性地真实描述”。这段话说明，文内两位作家之共同点是在内容观点上。而不是指一样的艺术形式上。韦克菲尔德写的是诗歌形式——韵文，而斯坦贝克是小说和散文剧。所以说他像斯坦贝克那样写就错了。故选C.
A. 他是乔叟同时代人，见最后一句“他的历史观点的现实主义稍逊于乔叟。乔叟在几年前就为其时代写了一本传奇。” B. 他是作为五或六本现实之剧本的作者而为人纪念。本文第一句话“只能从他写的五个或六个剧本来说明这位作者。” D. 他是一位有成就的艺术家。
2. D. Patristic 义：为关于早期基督教领袖的。第一段中his Biblical and Patristic lore indicate的意思是“他那有关圣经和早期基督教领袖们的歌谣。”
A. 现实主义的。 B. 爱国的。 C. 迷信的。
3. A. 在宗教剧中介绍世俗之事。见第二段中的secularization义：世俗化，脱离教会。这一整段都讲了韦剧中对世俗之事的描述：“拿剧本和作者两者一起讲的话，现在习惯于把他的剧本看作中世纪戏剧世俗化的一个顶点。因此，对他世俗化强调常以一个例子来说明，即他现实主义的描述12月24日一个寒冷的夜晚，在约克郡西区荒凉的山里的那种粗陋的习俗和乡村的生活;在常被人认为几乎是‘记录文献’的三个牧人三段连续的独白之后，批评家们继续认为他的现实主义在此时被强化到以讽刺嘲弄的口吻处理了基督的诞生。最后，作者收场白或事后的补充，对材料的来源圣经表示敬意。剧本又滑回到早期纯洁无邪(天真)的崇敬，一种返祖基调中去。事实上最后一幕不仅是全剧的高潮，也许还是“现实主义”引言存在的理由。”这一段清楚表明。批评者认为宗教只是作者的收场白，计划外的添加剂而已。
B. 表现渊博知识材料。 C. 应用当代材料。太笼统。当代也有宗教之事。
4. B. 表达抨击第二段思想的观点。这个问题最难回答，其所以选择B，是因为本人作者并不同意流行的观点。他在讲完“常规看法”有，用引导来谈“纪实文献”和“现实主义”。这说明作者之含义并不是这两个词的本义。这段最后一句话“事实上，最后一幕……”表明：最后一幕有宗教内容，而“现实主义”不过处于introductory阶段。第三段点明作者的观点“现在的戏剧表面上有许多支持世俗现实主义模式的观点。韦之‘现实主义’有一个自相矛盾的特点。他对人和书本的广泛的了解表明：“他不是与世隔绝，而是和时代紧密相连的。再说，那时的生活毕竟是全方位的宗教。那时代绝不会忽视这种信仰——人是叛逆和有罪的生灵，需要赎罪。大师是那么深沉含蓄的信奉宗教，因而他比布罗姆作者更不可能(更不愿)现实主义地表现真正的历史。他的历史感现实性甚至比乔叟更不现实主义。乔叟早在前几年为他的时代写了‘类似’骑士的故事”。“特罗依拉斯和克莱西德”等传奇。再说，乔叟以高度浪漫的材料为借口对历史事实任意处理。”所以说，我们可以期望作者在下面一步发挥自己的观点，抨击第二段的看法。
A. 他和斯坦贝克的比较是公平的。 C. 指出剧中时代错误。 D. 讨论乔叟作品。