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普鲁斯特这样回答(上)

(2007-03-19 11:46:21)
分类: 碧梧枝上听蝉躁:世说新语

以下文章由:(P. Segal, www.proust.com/question.html)提供,时间所限,我只翻译因小说A LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU(追忆似水年华)而闻名于世的普鲁斯特(Marcel Proust)本人的问答部分。 13岁与20岁,7年前后,两份答案自然有很大的改变,但总有一些事是始终如一的。

          普鲁斯特这样回答(上)


Marketing and Advertising: The Proust Questionaire

In the back pages of Vanity Fair each month, readers find The Proust Questionnaire, a series of questions posed to famous subjects about their lives, thoughts, values and experience. A regular reference to Proust in such a major publication struck me as remarkable, and it was only until I'd read Andre Maurois's Proust: Portrait of a Genius that I understood what this was all about.

The young Marcel was asked to fill out questionnaires at two social events: one when he was 13, another when he was 20. Proust did not invent this party game; he is simply the most extraordinary person to respond to them. At the birthday party of Antoinette Felix-Faure, the 13-year-old Marcel was asked to answer the following questions in the birthday book, and here's what he said: 

*What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? To be separated from Mama 你认为程度最浅的痛苦是什么?——和妈妈分开。
*Where would you like to live? In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal
你想要在那里生活?——理想国,我是说,我的理想。
*What is your idea of earthly happiness? To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater
你认为什么你最大的快乐? ——生活在我爱之人的包围之中,生活在大自然的美之中,有许多的书与音乐,并且在距离不远的地方,有一家法式剧院。
*To what faults do you feel most indulgent? To a life deprived of the works of genius
什么过错你认为被世人过分纵容了?——被剥夺了天才创作的一生。
*Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real
谁是你最爱的虚构英雄?——那些浪漫小说与诗歌里的,那些理想中的完美存在,而不是现实的拙劣仿制品。
*Who are your favorite characters in history? A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry
你最喜欢的历史人物是?——苏格拉底,伯里克里,穆罕默德,小普里尼,与奥古斯汀西埃里。

*Who are your favorite heroines in real life? A woman of genius leading an ordinary life 你最喜欢的现实英雄是?——一个天才的女人过着一个平凡的生活。(惊叹!再惊叹,这孩子对生活的理解力真是惊人。)
*Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful
谁是你最爱的虚构女英雄?——那些不会更求女性化但是更加女性化的女人,所有关于她们的一切,都是温柔的,诗意的,纯粹的,总之在各方面都是美丽的。
*Your favorite painter? Meissonier
你最喜欢的画家?——梅索尼埃(大白注:精雕细刻的法国现实主义绘画大师)

*Your favorite musician? Mozart 你最喜欢的音乐家?——莫扎特。
*The quality you most admire in a man? Intelligence, moral sense
男人的品质中你最欣赏哪一种?智慧,道德感。
*The quality you most admire in a woman?Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence
女人的品质中你最欣赏哪一种?亲切柔和,自然,智慧。

*Your favorite virtue?All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues 你最爱的美德?所有的美德都不会局限于一个侧面:普遍性的美德。
*Your favorite occupation? Reading, dreaming, and writing verse
你最爱的职业?阅读,幻想,写韵句。

*Who would you have liked to be? Since the question does not arise, I prefer not to answer it. All the same, I should very much have liked to be Pliny the Younger. 你希望成为什么样的?这问题语意不明,我宁愿不回答它。但一如既往的,我非常希望成为小普里尼。

This questionnaire tells us much about two things, the character of petiit Marcel, and the amusement of the young in the Belle Epoque. We see Marcel as a sweet and dreamy Mama's boy, brainy, aesthetic, a young citizen of the world with much sympathy for the feminine. What he sees in Pliny the Younger, famous only for speaking and writing letters, is hard to grasp.

What is fascinating about this questionnaire is that it was considered so great an amusement to very young people in Proust's time. It is hard to imagine a party of 13-year-olds in these times being quizzed about their favorite virtues, painters or characters of fiction and history. If the questionnaire were not to smack of exam, it would have to ask 'what's your favorite TV show?' or 'what's your favorite band?'

(待续)

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