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英译汉:How Should One Read a Book

(2007-02-20 20:18:23)
分类: 佳作精译
放假了,欢度春节的同时也不要忘了学点英语英译汉:How <wbr>Should <wbr>One <wbr>Read <wbr>a <wbr>Book

How Should One Read a Book

By Virginia Wolf

       It is simple enough to say that since books have classes --- fiction, biography, poetry --- we should separate them and take from each what it is right that each should give us. Yet few people ask from books what books can give us. Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices. If we could banish all such preconceptions when we read, that would be an admirable beginning. Do not dictate to your author: try to become him. Be his fellow worker and accomplice. If you hang back, and reserve and criticize at first, you are preventing yourself from getting the fullest possible value from what you read. But if you open your mind as widely as possible, then signs and hints of almost imperceptible fineness, from the twist and turn of the first sentences, will bring you into the presence of a human being unlike any other. Steep yourself in this, acquaint yourself with this, and soon you will find that your author is giving you, or attempting to give you, something far more definite. The thirty-two of chapters of a novel --- if you consider how to read a novel first --- are an attempt to make something as formed and controlled as a building; but words are more impalpable than bricks; reading is a longer and more complicated process than seeing. Perhaps the quickest way to understand the elements of what a novelist is doing is not to read, but to write; to make your own experiment with the dangers and difficulties of words. Recall, then, some event that has left a distinct impression on you --- how at the corner of the street, perhaps, you passed two people talking. A tree shook; an electric light danced; the tone of the talk was comic, but also tragic; a whole vision, an entire conception seemed contained in that movement.

       But when you attempt to reconstruct it in words, you will find that it breaks into a thousand conflicting impressions. Some must be subdued; others emphasized; in the process you will lose, probably, all grasp upon the emotion itself. Then turn from your blurred and littered pages to the opening pages of some great novelists --- Defoe, Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy. Now you will be better able to appreciate their mastery. It is not merely that we are in the presence of a different person --- Defoe, Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy --- but that we are living in a different world. Here, in Robinson Crusoe, we are trudging a plain high road; one thing happens after another; the fact and the order of the fact is enough. But if the open air and adventure mean everything to Defoe they mean nothing to Jane Austen. Hers is the drawing-room, and people talking and by the many mirrors of their talk revealing their characters. And if, when we have accustomed ourselves to the drawing-room and its reflections, we turn to Hardy, we are once more spun around. The moors are round us and the stars are above our head. The other side of the mind is now exposed --- the dark side that comes uppermost in solitude, not the light side that shows in company. Our relations are not towards people, but towards Nature and destiny. Yet different as these worlds are, each is consistent with itself. The maker of each is careful to observe the laws of his own perspective, and however great a strain they may put upon us they will never confuse us, as lesser writers so frequently do, by introducing two different kinds of reality into the same book. Thus to go from one great novelist to another --- from Jane Austen to Hardy, from Peacock to Trollope, from Scott to Meredith --- is to be wrenched and uprooted; to be thrown this way and then that. To read a novel is a difficult and complex art. You must be capable not only of great fitness of perception, but of great boldness of imagination if you are going to make use of all that the novelist --- the great artist --- gives you.

 

 

怎样读书

       书既然有小说、传记、诗歌之分,我们就应区别对待,从各类书中获取我们应该得到的教益,这话说来很简单,然而很少有人真正去索取书中的精华。捧起书来,我们总是有许多模糊而又矛盾的想法,我们往往苛求小说真实无误,诗歌充满虚幻,传记要极力吹捧,史记能加强我们自己的偏见。读书时我们如故能摈弃这些先入之见,便是良好的开端。不要对作者指手画脚,而要尽可能与作者融为一体,共同创作,共同谋划。如果你不愿意置身其中去与之交流,而是一开始就百般挑剔,那你就无缘从书中获得最大的收益。如果你尽可能敞开心扉,虚怀若谷,那么,通过书中种种难以察觉,细致入微的寓意和暗示,你便会从那些开头遇到的,似乎是山环水绕的那些句子中摆脱出来,接触到一个与众不同的人物。如果你深入其中去熟悉他,你很快就会发现,作者展示给你的或试图展示给你的是一些更加明确的内容。不妨先来谈谈如何阅读小说吧。一部长篇小说分成三十二章,是作者力图想把它构建得如同一座错落有致布局合理的大厦。可是词语比砖块更难捉摸,阅读比观看更费时、更复杂。了解作家创作的个中滋味(真实感受),更有效(便捷)的途径恐怕不是阅读而是写作;通过写作亲自体验一下文字创作的艰难险阻。回想一件你记忆犹新(印象深刻)的事情吧。比方说,在街道的拐角处遇到两个人正在谈话。树影婆娑,灯光摇曳,谈话的调子喜中有悲(有悲有喜)。这一瞬间似乎包含了一种完整的意境(画面),全面的构思。

       可是当你打算用文字来重现此情此景的时候,它却化作千头万绪互相冲突的印象。有的必须淡化(弱化),有的则应该突出。在构思过程中你可能对当时的情感根本把握不住。这是还是把你那些写得含糊杂乱的一页页书稿搁在一边,翻开某位小说大师,如笛福、简·奥斯汀或哈代的作品从头读来吧。这时候你就能更深刻地领略大师们驾御文字的技巧了(艺术造诣)。因为我们不仅面对一个个与众不同的作者—笛福、简·奥斯汀或托马斯·哈代,而且置身于不同的世界。阅读《鲁滨逊漂流记》时,我们仿佛跋涉在旷野大道上;事件一个接一个(故事情节逐次展开);情节本身再加上情节安排就足够了。如果说旷野和历险对笛福来说意味着一切,那么对简·奥斯汀就毫无意义了。她作品中的世界是客厅和客厅中闲聊(交谈)的各种人物。这些人的言谈像一面面的镜子,反映(揭示)出他们的性格。当我们熟悉了奥斯汀作品中的客厅及其反映出来的事物以后再去读哈代的作品,又得转向(转而投入)另一个世界。这里四周荒野茫茫,头顶一片星空。此时展现的是心灵的另一面,不是我们与朋友聚会(结伴)时显现出来的轻松一面,而是孤独时最容易萌生(感受最深)的郁阴一面。我们接触的并非他人,而是自然与命运。虽然这些书中世界截然不同,它们自身却浑然一体(各自却自成一体)。每一个世界的创造者都小心翼翼地遵循自己观察事物的法则,不管他们的作品读起来如何费力,却不会像蹩脚的(二流)作家那样,把格格不入的两种现实塞进一部作品中,使人感到不知所云。因此读完一位伟大作家的小说再去读另一位的,比如说简·奥斯汀到哈代,从皮科克到特罗洛普,从司各特到梅瑞狄斯,就好像被猛力扭动,连根拔起,抛来抛去。说实在的,读小说是一门艰难而又复杂的艺术。要想从小说作者那里得到充分的收获,得到伟大的艺术家给予你的一切,你不仅要具备高度的感受能力,还得有大胆的想象力。

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