Селби, Хьюберт

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Хьюберт Селби (англ. Hubert Selby; 23 июля 192826 апреля 2004) — американский писатель, произведения которого считаются одними из самых значимых в американской литературе XX века. [1] Наиболее известный его роман «Последний поворот на Бруклин» считается классикой американской литературы. Известность Селби принес также его роман «Реквием по мечте», по которому в 2000 г. был снят знаменитый одноименный фильм.

Содержание

Early life

Отец Хьюберта Хьюберт Селби ст. был моряком торгового флота и, ранее, шахтером на угольной шахте в Кентукки. После женитьбы на Адалин он обосновался в Red Hook в Бруклине. Хьюберт Селби мл. родился в 1928 г. в Бруклине в Нью-Йорке. Он учился во многих школах штата Нью-Йорка, включая Stuyvesant High School. В этот период жизни Селби получил прозвище «Cubby», которое осталось с ним на всю жизнь.

В 1943 г. Селби ст. снова стал моряком торгового флота. Его сын Селби мл. бросил школу и в возрасте 15 лет убеждает принять его в торговый флот. Несчстья преследовали Селби с самого раннего возраста.

В 1947 г. во время плавания у Селби был диагностирован (прогрессирующий) туберкулез. Врачи предсказывали, что Селби не сможет прожить и года. Он был снят с судна в Бремене в Германии в вернулся обратно в Америку. Следующие три с половиной года Селби находился в госпитале Морской пехоты в Нью-Йорке.

Селби проходил экспериментальное лечение с помощью стрептомицина, что впоследствии вызвало ряд тяжелых осложнений. Во время операции, чтобы получить доступ к легким хирурги удалили Селби несколько ребер.[2] Одно из легких было разрушено, и врачи удалили часть другого. Хирургия спасла Селби, но восстановление после лечения заняло около года и всю оставшуюся жизнь страдал проблемами с легкими. Помимо этого после лечения у Селби появилась склонность к употреблению болеутолящих и героина.

Становление

В 1949 г. Селби первый раз женился, но из-за отсутствия квалификации, трудового опыта исключая работу во флоте, и слабого здоровья у него начались проблемы с поиском работы. Большинство времени Селби проводил дома (raising his daugher) с дочерью, пока его жена работала в универмаге.

В последующие 10 лет Селби оставался (bed-riiden) прикованным к постели, часто находился на лечении из-за проблем с легкими. Врачи продолжали делать суровые прогнозы относительно его жизни, постоянно повторяя, что он, вероятоно, не выживет, т.к. «у него хватает объема легких». Но Селби отказывался сдаваться. A childhood friend, writer Gilbert Sorrentino[3], encouraged Selby to spend his time on fiction. Не способный зарабатывать на жизнь из-за слабого здоровья Селби решил: «Я знаю алфавит, может быть я смогу быть писателем».

Selby traced his desire to write to a sudden realization. He wrote:

I was sitting at home and had a profound experience. I experienced, in all of my Being, that someday I was going to die, and it wouldn't be like it had been happening, almost dying but somehow staying alive, but I would just die! And two things would happen right before I died: I would regret my entire life; I would want to live it over again. This terrified me. The thought that I would live my entire life, look at it and realize I blew it forced me to do something with my life.

Не имея формального опыта, шелби использовал свой сырой язык для повествования о суровом и жестоком мире, который был частью его молодости. Он писал

I write, in part, by ear. I hear, as well as feel and see, what I am writing. I have always been enamoured with the music of the speech in New York[4]

. По стилю Шелби также отличался от других от других писателей. Он не заботился о правльном употреблении грамматики, пунктуации или diction. Однако следует отметить, что творчество Шелби внутренне целостно: те же приемы он использовал в большинстве своих работ. Он часто делал абзацные отступы просто оставляя пустую строку в конце абзаца. Подобно «стихийной прозе» Jack Kerouac, Шелби часто писал быстро как поток сознания и, чтобы облегчить это, он заменял апострофы на символ "/" из-за того, что на его печатной машинке этот символ бысл расположен ближе и не прерывал набор. Он не пользовался кавычками, и диалог в его произведениях может состоять из целого абзаца без выделения говорящих лиц. Его проза обнажена и грубовата.

Опыт общения с портовыми грузчиками, бездомными, головорезами, сутенерами, трансвеститами, проститутками, гомосексуалистами, наркоманами и беднотой очень четко отразился в самом расхваленном произведении «Последний поворот на Бруклин».

Early works

In 1958, Selby started working on his first piece, The Queen Is Dead. At the time, Selby had a succession of jobs. Yet he continued to work on his fiction every night after his day job as a secretary, a gas station attendant, and a freelance copywriter. The short story slowly evolved for the next six years before it saw the light of publication.

In 1961, a short story Tralala was published in a literary journal, The Provincetown Review. It also appeared in Black Mountain Review and New Directions. With his unstructured style and coarse descriptions, Selby examined the seedy life (ridden with violence, theft and mediocre con-artistry) and the gang rape of a prostitute. He quickly drew negative attention from a number of critics. The editor was arrested for selling pornographic literature to a minor. The publication was in an obscenity trial, but the case was later dismissed on appeal.

As Selby continued to work on his writing, Amiri Baraka, Selby's long time friend, encouraged Selby to contact Sterling Lord, who at the time was Jack Kerouac's agent. In 1964, Tralala along with The Queen is Dead, and four other loosely linked short stories, appeared in his first novel Last Exit to Brooklyn. The novel was accepted and published by Grove Press, which had already released works by William S. Burroughs.

The novel was praised by many, including Allen Ginsberg, who predicted that it would "explode like a rusty hellish bombshell over America and still be eagerly read in a hundred years". But as with any controversial work, not everyone was happy. Because of the detailed depictions of homosexuality, drug addiction, gang rape, and other human brutality and cruelty, the novel was prosecuted for obscenity in Great Britain in 1967. Anthony Burgess was among a number of writers who appeared as witnesses for the defence of the novel. The all-male jury's conviction was later reversed on appeal. The novel was banned in Italy. For more details on the British trial of Last Exit to Brooklyn see the entry Last Exit to Brooklyn Trial.

In 1967, Selby moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles to escape his own addiction. That same year, Selby met his future wife, Suzanne, at a bar in West Hollywood. The couple moved in together two days after they met, and married in 1969. For the next decade, they traveled back and forth, between their home in Southern California and East Coast, settling down permanently in Los Angeles area in 1983.

Even though all of his work was written while he was sober, Selby continued to battle his drug addiction. In 1967 heroin eventually landed him in Los Angeles county jail, where he spent two months for possession of heroin. After his release from jail, he kicked his habit and stayed clean of drugs and alcohol through to his death. He refused morphine on his death bed, even though he was in pain.

After 'Last Exit'

In 1971, Selby published his second novel, The Room. The novel received positive reviews, and was considered to be another masterpiece. Selby himself described the book as "the most disturbing book ever written", and he noted that he could not read it for decades after writing it.

Selby continued to write short fiction, screenplays and teleplays at his apartment in West Hollywood. His work appeared in many journals, including Yugen, Black Mountain Review, Evergreen Review, Provincetown Review, Kulchur, New Directions Annual, Swank and Open City. For the last 20 years of his life, Selby taught creative writing as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California. Selby often noted that the New York Times would not review his books when they were published, but he predicted that they'd print his obituary.

In the 1980s, Selby made the acquaintance of rock singer Henry Rollins, who had long admired Selby's works. Often championing Selby's works, Rollins not only helped broaden Selby's readership, but also arranged recording sessions and reading tours for Selby. Rollins issued original recordings through his own 2.13.61 publications, but also distributed Selby's other works.

During the last years of his life, Selby suffered from depression, and fits of rage. The last month of his life, Selby spent in and out of the hospital. Selby died in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California on April 26, 2004 of chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease. Selby is survived by his wife of 35 years, Suzanne Selby (b. 1946); four children, Kyle Mack of New York; Claudia Selby of Kentucky; and Rachel Selby and William Selby, both of Southern California; and 11 grandchildren[5].

Works

Fiction

(in chronological order)

  • Last Exit to Brooklyn - Novel. (1964)
  • The Room - Novel. (1971)
  • The Demon - Novel. (1976) [6]
  • Requiem for a Dream - Novel. (1978)
  • Song of the Silent Snow - Collection of short fiction. (1986) [7]
  • The Willow Tree - Novel. (1998)
  • Waiting Period - Novel. (2002)

Spoken word

(in chronological order)

  • Our Fathers Who Aren't in Heaven - Compilation by Henry Rollins. 2xCD set (1990)
  • Live in Europe 1989 - Spoken word with Henry Rollins. CD. (1995)
  • Blue Eyes And Exit Wounds - Spoken word with Nick Tosches. CD. (1998)

Filmography

(in chronological order)

  • Jour et Nuit - Screenwriter. France / Switzerland (1986)
  • Last Exit to Brooklyn - Writer. USA / Germany (1989) [8]
  • Scotch and Milk - Actor (Cubby). USA (1998)
  • Requiem for a Dream - Screenwriter. USA (2000) [9]
  • Fear X - Screenwriter. Denmark / UK / Canada (2003)

Documentaries

(in chronological order)

  • Memories, Dreams & Addictions. Interview with Ellen Burstyn. Special feature on Requem for a Dream Director's Cut DVD release. (2001)
  • Hubert Selby, Jr.: 2 Ou 3 Choses... (A Couple of Things About Hubert Selby, Jr.) Documentary film by Ludovic Cantais, France (2000)
  • HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow Documentary film. (2005)[10]

Unfinished/unpublished

At least one work-in-progress remained unfinished and unpublished at the time of Selby's death: The Seeds of Pain and the Seeds of Love. Excerpts from this work are heard on the Live in Europe 1989 CD.

Quotes

  • "Sometimes we have the absolute certainty that there's something inside us that's so hideous and monstrous that if we ever search it out we won't be able to stand looking at it. But it's when we're willing to come face to face with that demon that we face the angel." - Hubert Selby, Jr.
  • "His art is his ability to humanize the seemingly inhuman, and by extension to humanize the reader." - Richard Price, novelist.
  • "To understand Selby's work is to understand the anguish of America" - New York Times.
  • "[Last Exit to Brooklyn] was a seminal piece of work. It broke so many traditions. [. . . ]. [Selby was] one of the last of that generation, of some of the greatest writers in this country." - Jim Ragan, head of the master's of professional writing program at the USC.
  • "[Selby] had the extraordinary capability of using language that is not normally thought of as a literary language, to make literature out of it." - Gilbert Sorrentino, novelist and childhood friend.
  • "[When writing, Selby] always left one line partially unfinished at night to have a place to start the next morning." - Suzanne Selby, wife.
  • "What Moby Dick was to Melville's century, Last Exit to Brooklyn is to ours, and between the two, Selby's is the better book. If that be called heresy, know that it be called so only by those of the same dead mind as they who allowed Melville to die unknown. " - Nick Tosches
  • "When college came around I wasn't very prepared. I hit the library and tried to learn. But Selby fucked everything up. From sentence one I was done, and so were my finals." - Darren Aronofsky, director of Requem for a Dream film release.
  • "Being an artist doesn't take much, just everything you got. Which means, of course, that as the process is giving you life, it is also bringing you closer to death. But it's no big deal. They are one in the same and cannot be avoided or denied. So when I totally embrace this process, this life/death, and abandon myself to it, I transcend all this meaningless gibberish and hang out with the gods. It seems to me that that is worth the price of admission." - Hubert Selby, Jr.

Notes

  1. Селби был признан одним из лучших писателей Америки газетой Нью-Йорк Таймс. Автор статьи сравнивает его работы с произведениями Достоевского.
  2. В некрологе жена Селби, Сьюзан Селби, утверждает, что во время лечения врачи полностью удалили и одиннадцать ребер.
  3. Selby dedicated his first work, Last Exit to Brooklyn, to Gilbert Sorrentino, with whom he grew up in Brooklyn.
  4. Guardian Unlimited Film : Features : Hubert Selby Jr and near-death experience Проверено 2005-12-23 г.
  5. Selby was married three times and had four children.
  6. The rights to The Demon have been purchased by director Jean-Jacques Beineix
  7. Song of the Silent Snow is a collection of fifteen stories that span the writing of more than two decades.
  8. Film Last Exit to Brooklyn. Directed by Uli Edel. Screenplay by Desmond Nakano. Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Burt Young and Jerry Orbach. Selby has a cameo appearance in the film as a taxi driver.
  9. Film Requiem for a Dream. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Screenplay by Hubert Selby, Jr. Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. Selby has a cameo appearance in the film as a Laughing Guard.
  10. The title of this documentary is taken from page 103 of Selby's novel The Demon. The slash is included in Selby's typography.

Trivia

  • Selby's first work "The Queen Is Dead" (appearing as a chapter in Last Exit) inspired the name of an album by Manchester pop group The Smiths, and became their most highly regarded LP.

References

External links

 
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