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American Space, Chinese Place

(2011-04-01 19:42:55)
分类: 翻译习作

American Space, Chinese Place 

            美国人的空间观,中国人的地域感

   

   Americans have a sense of space, not of place. Go to an American home in exurbia,
and almost the first thing you do is drift toward the picture window.How curious that the first compliment you pay your host inside his house is to say how lovely it is outside his house! He is pleased that you should admire his vistas. The distant horizon is not merely a line separating earth from sky, it is a symbol of the future. The American is not rooted in his place, however lovely; his eyes are drawn by the expanding space to a point on the horizon, which is his future.

    美国人的空间观较强,而地域感较弱。倘若你到美国的郊区住所参观的话,你一定会径直走向观景窗,一览周遭的美景。在主人的家里,你首先称赞的是他家的外景,岂不怪哉!主人会因为你欣赏于他屋外的景致而喜不自禁。地平线不仅仅将天地一分为二,而且是未来的象征。住所再温馨,美国人也不至于与之密不可分。他们的目光越过广袤的天地,落到地平线上的一点,那儿就是他的未来所在。

 

By contrast, consider the traditional Chinese home. Blank walls enclose it. Step behind the spirit wall and you are in a courtyard with perhaps a miniature garden around the corner. Once inside the private compound you are wrapped in an ambiance of calm beauty, an ordered world of buildings, pavement, rock, and decorative vegetation. But you have no distant view: nowhere does space open out before you. Raw nature in such a home is experienced only as weather, and the only open space is the sky above. The Chinese is rooted in his place.

 

来看看中国传统的住宅吧:四面素墙环绕,屋外兴许有个小院子,院角有个小花圃。一踏入中国的小院,便置身于幽静和谐的气氛中。水榭楼台,通幽曲径,奇山怪石,还有奇花异草,小小的世界错落有致,井井有条。可惜看不到远景,唯一开阔的是头顶的一方苍穹。中国人与家宅是难舍难分的。


   The Chinese tie to place is deeply felt. Wanderlust is an alien sentiment. The Taoist classic Tao Te Ching captures the ideal of rootedness in place with these words: "Though there may be another country in the neighborhood so close that they are within sight of each other and the crowing of cocks and barking of dogs in one place can be heard in the other, yet there is no traffic between them; and
throughout their lives the two peoples have nothing to do with each other." In theory if not in practice, farmers have ranked high in Chinese society. The reason is not only that they are engaged in the "root" industry of producing food but that, unlike pecuniary merchants,they are tied to the land and do not abandon their country when it is in danger.

 

中国人的恋地情结是根深蒂固的,与外国人的四海为家截然不同。道教的经典《道德经》这样描绘中国人的恋土情结:邻国相望,鸡犬之声相闻,民至老死,不相往来。抛开实际情况从理论上讲,农民在中国社会中有着很高的地位。究其原因,不仅因为他们致力于生产粮食这一“根基”产业,还因为他们根植于土地,即使在战火连连时期,也对家园不离不弃,这与商人的唯利是图迥然不同。



    Nostalgia is a recurrent theme in Chinese poetry. An American reader of translated Chinese poems may well be taken aback,even put off, by the frequency, as well as the sentimentality of the lament for home. To understand the strength of this sentiment, we need to know that the Chinese desire for stability and rootedness in place is prompted by the constant threat of war, exile, and the natural disasters of flood and drought. Forcible removal makes the Chinese keenly aware of their loss. By contrast, Americans move, for the most part, voluntarily. Their nostalgia for hometown is really longing for childhood to which they cannot return: in the meantime the future beckons and the future is "out there," in open space. When we criticize American rootlessness we tend to forget that it is a result of ideals we admire, namely, social mobility and optimism about the future. When we admire Chinese rootedness, we forget that the word “place” means both location in space and position in society: to be tied to place is also to be bound to one's station in life, with little hope of betterment. Space symbolizes hope, place, achievement and stability.


   乡愁是中国诗歌中反复出现的一个主题。美国人阅读英译的中国诗歌时,可能会对诗人对家园的反复吟叹,还有乡愁情结感到好奇,甚至心生嫌隙。要明白这种情结的力量,我们必须了解他们对于稳定生活与根植于一地的渴望,这种渴望来源于战祸连连,流离失所以及自然灾害的威胁。中国人被迫颠沛流离,居无定所,对失去之物有切肤之痛。美国人却迥然不同,他们四处安家。他们的乡愁,愁的是一去不复返的童年。与此同时,未来在召唤,未来就“在那儿”,在辽阔天地的那一端。我们对美国人的无根性指指点点的时候,常常忘了这恰是我们的理想,即社会流动和对未来的乐观带来的结果。我们称赞中国人的念土情结时,却又忘记了“场所”既意味着空间位置,也意味着社会地位。安于现状的话,永远没有前进的可能。空间预示着希望;场所意味着成就,稳定. 

 

American <wbr>Space, <wbr>Chinese <wbr>Place

 

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