Special issues:

Literature and Linguistics (Vol. 1 No. 2); Literature and Violence (Vol. 3 Nos. 1-2)

Women, Consumption and Popular Culture (Vol. 4 No. 1); Life, Community, and Ethics (Vol. 4. No. 2)

The Making of Barbarians in Western Literature (Vol. 5 No. 1); Chaos and Fear in Contemporary British Literature (Vol. 5 No. 2)

Taiwan Cinema before Taiwan New Wave Cinema (Vol. 6 No. 1); Catastrophe and Cultural Imaginaries (Vol. 6 No. 2)

Affective Perspectives from East Asia (Vol. 9 No. 2); Longing and Belonging (Vol. 10 No. 2, produced in collaboration with the European Network for Comparative Literary Studies)

Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations, 1776 to the Present (Vol. 11 No. 2). 


This paper follows Zygmunt Bauman’s observations of the frail human bonds exhausted in his theorization of “liquidity” to examine the vulnerable human connections implied in Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Crooner” and “Nocturne.” According to Bauman, people living in the liquid modern world cannot but experience the uncanny frailty of human bonds—the feeling of insecurity that frailty inspires and the conflicting desires that feeling prompts to tighten the bonds yet keep them loose. The human bonds only need to be loosely tied, so that they can be untied right afterwards when settings change. Connections thus become virtual relations because they are easy to enter and to exit. Immersed in the realm of liquid love, can dwellers in the liquid modern society prevent themselves from the fear of fixed connections by getting used to the virtual relations, or, project their anxieties of not being able to relate to “people in the know”? Characters in “Crooner” and “Nocturne,” the habitants in the liquid society, are afraid of being left alone, so they have to find others like them to assist them in unraveling or unpacking the liquid fear and to draw from the knowledge that they are not alone in their efforts to cope with the quandaries. If tomorrow they have to live without the security of togetherness they experience today, Ishiguro’s liquid strangers will still choose, with a view to a rosy picture in the realm of liquid love, to relate again without little delay.

KEY WORDS: liquid modernity, liquid fear, frail human bonds, uncanny, mixed blessings 

摘 要

本篇論文擬借用齊格蒙‧包曼「液態」概念,探討石 黑一雄新作〈低吟歌手〉與〈夜曲〉中脆弱的人際紐帶。根 據包曼的主張,生活在液態現代社會的人們都是身處在脆 弱人際紐帶所引發的詭異情境中,因為液態社會裡人際紐 帶的韌度降低,但它流動的力度卻讓人更靈活地彼此維 繫,更靈活的人際關係是否能讓深陷液態之愛的男男女女 克服就此被綁住的「恐懼」,抑或只是用不同的方式呈現焦 慮?兩個短篇故事中的主角都因害怕孤單所以要找人同 行,但新的不安卻從別處湧現,這種揮之不去的液態恐懼 打破了原有的秩序與體制,導致他們幾近丑角的荒謬行 徑,但在荒誕的背後卻是怕被遺棄的淒涼。如果明天就必 須鬆開維繫此刻人際關係的安全帶,石黑一雄筆下的液態 陌生人們仍會為追求生命遠景,毫不遲疑地繼續在液態愛 的國度裡,尋找下一個可與之連結的人際紐帶。

關鍵詞:液態現代性、液態恐懼、脆弱人際紐帶、詭異、 憂喜參半的恩賜