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(2014-04-06 17:23:56)






分类: 国际短篇小说


Ralph Ellison


It goes a long way back, some twenty years. All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!


拉尔夫-埃里森著  罗金佑翻译

那可以追溯到很久以前,二十多年前。我所有的生活,就是一直在寻找某种东西,我到处游转的地方有人试图告诉我要找的是什么。我也接受了他们的答案,但它们往往相互矛盾,甚至是自相矛盾的。我是天真的。我在寻找我自己,并要求每个人除了我自己都来争论那些我而且只有我才能回答的问题。这花了我很长时间,我期望实现一种实实在在的飞去来之棒,那是多么痛苦的事情,而这些在其他别的人那里似乎都已经生而享有了 :我还啥也不是还是我自己。但是我第一次发现我是一个看不见的人!

And yet I am no freak of nature, nor of history. I was in the cards, other things having been equal (or unequal) eighty-five years ago. I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time been ashamed. About eighty-five years ago they were told they were free, united with others of our country in everything pertaining to the common good, and, in everything social, separate like the fingers of the hand. And they believed it. 但我不是脾性怪,也不是经历异常。我是命里注定,在八十五年前*的其他事情是相同的(或不相同)的。我并不为我的祖父母曾经拥有这样的一群苦工而感到羞耻。我只在一段时间里为我自己感到羞愧。大约八十五年前,他们被告知他们是自由的,在我们国家的在一切事情上与我们的共同利益有关的其他人,以及一切社团,都是和睦共处的,独立得就像手的手指。他们都相信了。They exulted in it. They stayed in their place, worked hard, and brought up my father to do the same. But my grandfather is the one. He was an odd old guy, my grandfather, and I am told I take after him. It was he who caused the trouble. On his deathbed he called my father to him and said, "Son, after I'm gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy's country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction. 他们陶醉于其中。他们呆在他们自己的地方,努力工作,并且把我父亲培养成人,而且也做同样的事请。但我的祖父是这个。他是个古怪的老家伙,我的祖父,我被告诉我得关照他。惹麻烦就是他。在他临死的时候他把我父亲叫到跟前来说:“儿子,我走了以后,我想让你继续战斗。我从来没有告诉过你,但是我们的生活就是一场战争,自从我出世的时候就一直是个叛徒,是藏在敌国的间谍,后来我放下枪想重新做人。Live with your head in the lion's mouth. I want you to overcome 'em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open." They thought the old man had gone out of his mind. He had been the meekest of men. The younger children were rushed from the room, the shades drawn and the flame of the lamp turned so low that it sputtered on the wick like the old man's breathing. "Learn it to the younguns," he whispered fiercely; then he died.你的头活在狮子口里。我要你用肯定的回答来征服他们,用笑容来破坏他们,允许他们去死和毁坏,让他们夸大你直到他们呕吐或皮开肉绽。”他们认为这个老人神经错乱了。他一直是个温顺的人。年幼的孩子们冲出房间,窗帘拉了下来而灯光变成这样渺小,灯芯溅射,像老人的呼吸。”学习它去那个年轻的(youngunsun口语里等于one所以可以理解成young ones,——译者注)那里”他难受地低声说;然后他就死了。

But my folks were more alarmed over his last words than over his dying. It was as though he had not died at all, his words caused so much anxiety. I was warned emphatically to forget what he had said and, indeed, this is the first time it has been mentioned outside the family circle. It had a tremendous effect upon me, however. I could never be sure of what he meant. Grandfather had been a quiet old man who never made any trouble, yet on his deathbed he had called himself a traitor and a spy, and he had spoken of his meekness as a dangerous activity. It became a constant puzzle which lay unanswered in the back of my mind.但我的家人更担心的是他最后的话而不是他的死。那就仿佛他根本还没死呢,他的话引起这么大的焦虑。我被一再警告说千万要忘记他说过的话,事实上,这是第一次提到家庭周围之外的事请。然而这对我影响很大。我从来都不能肯定他说的是什么意思。祖父是个沉默寡言的老人,他从不惹是生非,然而在他临死的时候他称自己是个叛徒,间谍,而他温柔的话语倒是一个危险的举动。它成为一个永恒的难题躺在我的脑海里始终没有答案。And whenever things went well for me I remembered my grandfather and felt guilty and uncomfortable. It was as though I was carrying out his advice in spite of myself. And to make it worse, everyone loved me for it. I was praised by the most lily-white men in town. I was considered an example of desirable conduct—just as my grandfather had been. And what puzzled me was that the old man had defined it as treachery. 当事情顺利的时候我就想起爷爷并且感到内疚和不安。就好像我在不知不觉地按他的意见行事。而更糟糕的是,每个人都因此而喜欢我。我受到镇上最纯洁的白人的好评。我被看作是一个可取的行为典范——就像我祖父曾经的那样。而让我感到疑惑的是,老人却把这定义为背叛When I was praised for my conduct I felt a guilt that in some way I was doing something that was really against the wishes of the white folks, that if they had understood they would have desired me to act just the opposite, that I should have been sulky and mean, and that that really would have been what they wanted, even though they were fooled and thought they wanted me to act as I did. It made me afraid that some day they would look upon me as a traitor and I would be lost. Still I was more afraid to act any other way because they didn't like that at all. The old man's words were like a curse. On my graduation day I delivered an oration in which I showed that humility was the secret, indeed, the very essence of progress. (Not that I believed this—how could I, remembering my grandfather?—I only believed that it worked.) It was a great success. Everyone praised me and I was invited to give the speech at a gathering of the town's leading white citizens. It was a triumph for the whole community.当我的行为被赞美的时候我却感到内疚,在某种程度上我所做的事情真的是违反白人愿望的,如果他们明白他们想要我做的刚好与他们的实际愿望相反,那会让我一直闷闷不乐欲说还休,那真的会是他们希望的么,即使他们是被愚弄了,以为他们要我做的就是我已经做了的。这就使我害怕有一天他们会把我当成一个叛徒,而我就会被唾弃。但我更害怕以任何其他方式行事,因为他们根本就不喜欢那样。老人的话像是诅咒。在我毕业那天我做了一次演讲,在演讲中我表明,谦逊的确 是个秘密,也是进步的本质。(不,我相信这一点——我怎么会,想起我爷爷呢?——我只是相信,它是起作用的。)这是一个巨大的成功。每个人都称赞我,我应邀在该镇处于领导地位的白人公众集会上讲话。这是整个社会的胜利。

It was in the main ballroom of the leading hotel. When I got there I discovered that it was on the occasion of a smoker, and I was told that since I was to be there anyway I might as well take part in the battle royal to be fought by some of my schoolmates as part of the entertainment. The battle royal came first.

这是在领先酒店的主舞厅。我到那儿时,我发现它是一个吸烟者的场合,而别人告我说,那是因为我反正得去那里,我可能也参加皇家大战,要同我的一些同学打仗而作为娱乐的一部分。那场混战是第一位的。All of the town's big shots were there in their tuxedoes, wolfing down the buffet foods, drinking beer and whiskey and smoking black cigars. It was a large room with a high ceiling. Chairs were arranged in neat rows around three sides of a portable boxing ring. The fourth side was clear, revealing a gleaming space of polished floor. I had some misgivings over the battle royal, by the way. Not from a distaste for fighting but because I didn't care too much for the other fellows who were to take part. They were tough guys who seemed to have no grandfather's curse worrying their minds. 镇上所有穿着夜礼服的大人物都在场,狼吞虎咽地吃着自助餐食物,喝啤酒、威士忌,吸着黑雪茄。这是一间有着高高的天花板的大房间。椅子整齐地排列在便携式拳击台的三边。第四边是清亮的,展现出一块闪闪发光的光滑地板上的空间。我有一些担忧的是混战,顺便说说。我不是不喜欢战斗,而是因为我不太关注参与其中的其他人。他们都是些不屈不饶的人,他们似乎没有祖父所诅咒的令人担忧的想法。No one could mistake their toughness. And besides, I suspected that fighting a battle royal might detract from the dignity of my speech. In those pre-invisible days I visualized myself as a potential Booker T. Washington. But the other fellows didn't care too much for me either, and there were nine of them. I felt superior to them in my way, and I didn't like the manner in which we were all crowded together in the servants' elevator. Nor did they like my being there. In fact, as the warmly lighted floors flashed past the elevator we had words over the fact that I, by taking part in the fight, had knocked one of their friends out of a night's work.没有人能误解他们的韧性。另外,我担心打混战可能有损我演讲的尊严。在那些预先看不见的日子,我想象自己作为一个潜在的布克T.华盛顿(布克·华盛顿Booker T. Washington,非裔美国教育领袖,创立了“塔斯克基学院 ”,同时也是作家,著有《超越奴役》。 )但其他人却并不太在乎我,而且他们还有九个人。我觉得想要超过他们很难,我不喜欢这种方式,我们大家都一起挤在仆人的电梯上。他们也不喜欢我的存在。事实上,当暖色的灯光照亮的地板上闪过电梯的时候我们都有话说说这事实,我,作为参加战斗的一分子,把他们的一个朋友赶出了一个夜间的工作。

We were led out of the elevator through a rococo hall into ananteroom and told to get into our fighting togs. Each of us was issued a pair of boxing gloves and ushered out into the big mirrored hall, which we entered looking cautiously about us and whispering, lest we might accidentally be heard above the noise of the room. It was foggy with cigar smoke. And already the whiskey was taking effect. I was shocked to see some of the most important men of the town quite tipsy. They were all there—bankers, lawyers, judges, doctors, fire chiefs, teachers, merchants. Even one of the more fashionable pastors. 我们被领出电梯,通过一个洛可可式大厅进入一个休息室,我们被告知必须穿上我们的战斗服。我们每个人都发了一副拳击手套并被带到一间大镜厅,进入大厅,我们细心地看了看我们并低声说话,生怕我们可能不小心听到让房间产生的噪音。这是吸雪茄的烟雾。威士忌已经生效。我看到一些城镇最重要的人都喝醉了就很震惊。他们之中什么人都有——银行家,律师,法官 ,医生,消防首长,教师,商人。甚至还有一位更时尚的牧师。Something we could not see was going on up front. A clarinet was vibrating sensuously and the men were standing up and moving eagerly forward. We were a small tight group, clustered together, our bare upper bodies touching and shining with anticipatory sweat: while up front the big shots were becoming increasingly excited over something we still could not see. Suddenly I heard the school superintendent, who had told me to come, yell, "Bring up the shines, gentlemen! Bring up the little shines!"我们看不到前面发生了什么。一个单簧管在激发美感地振动着,而那些男人们都站了起来,急切地向前移动着。我们是一个紧贴一个的小組,大家紧贴在一起,我们赤裸的上身接触着,身上可想而知的汗水闪烁着:而前方的大人物都正对于什么事情变得越来越兴奋,而我们仍然看不到。突然我听到学校的校长,他叫我过来,大叫,“让开亮光,先生们!让一点亮光!

We were rushed up to the front of the ballroom, where it smelled even more strongly of tobacco and whiskey. Then we were pushed into place. I almost wet my pants. A sea of faces, some hostile, some amused, ringed around us, and in the center, facing us, stood a magnificent blonde—stark naked. There was dead silence. I felt a blast of cold air chill me. I tried to back away, but they were behind me and around me. Some of the boys stood with lowered heads, trembling. I felt a wave of irrational guilt and fear. My teeth chattered, my skin turned to goose flesh, my knees knocked. Yet I was strongly attracted and looked in spite of myself. Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked. The hair was yellow like that of a circus kewpie doll, the face heavily powdered and rouged, as though to form an abstract mask, the eyes hollow and smeared a cool blue, the color of a baboon's butt. I felt a desire to spit upon her as my eyes brushed slowly over her body.我们冲到大厅的前面,那里烟草和威士忌的味道更强烈。然后,我们被推进到一个地方。我几乎快尿湿裤子了。人山人海,一些敌对方的,有些好笑的,都环绕在我们周围,而在中心,面对着我们,站着一个漂亮的金发碧眼的美女——竟一丝不挂。鸦雀无声。我感到一股冷空气令我打寒颤啊。我想回去,但他们在我身后边围着我。一些男孩低头站在那里浑身颤抖。我感到一股莫名的内疚和恐惧之波动。我的牙齿格格作响,我的皮肤开始起鸡皮疙瘩,我的膝盖相互撞击。然而,我还是被强烈地吸引着,不知不觉地看着。如果说这就是看不见的代价,我就会看。头发是黄的,就像一个马戏团的小娃娃玩偶,脸面上涂了很重的粉和胭脂,仿佛形成了一个抽象的面具,眼睛空空洞洞,还涂抹成了冷蓝色,像狒狒屁股的颜色。当我的眼睛慢慢地在她身体上扫过的时候,我觉得就想吐到她身上。Her breasts were firm and round as the domes of East Indian temples, and I stood so close as to see the fine skin texture and beads of pearly perspiration glistening like dew around the pink and erected buds of her nipples. I wanted at one and the same time to run from the room, to sink through the floor, or go to her and cover her from my eyes and the eyes of the others with my body; to feel the soft thighs, to caress her and destroy her, to love her and to murder her, to hide from her, and yet to stroke where below the small American flag tattooed upon her belly her thighs formed a capital V. I had a notion that of all in the room she saw only me with her impersonal eyes.她的乳房是坚挺而浑圆的,就像东印度寺庙的圆顶,我站在如此近的地方竟然都能看到细腻的皮肤质地和她那粉红色的坚挺的乳头周围闪闪发光的珍珠露水似的汗水珠。我渴望得到一个而同时离开房间,钻到地板下面去,或去见她,用我的眼睛遮住她,用我的身体遮住其他人的眼睛;感觉到柔软的大腿,爱抚她,毁坏她,爱她,杀了她,把她隐藏起来,再冲到那面小小的美国国旗下面,在她的腹部,大腿刺上花纹,形成一个大写字母V,我有个想法,要在房间里让她所能看到的只有我和她那冷漠的眼睛。



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