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高級筆譯:隱藏于技術帝國的文學界
 
 Hidden Within Technology’s Empire, a Republic of Letters
  隱藏于技術帝國的文學界上海翻譯公司
  索爾?貝妻
  When I was a boy “discovering literature”, I used to think how wonderful it would be if every other person on the street were familiar with Proust and Joyce or T. E. Lawrence or Pasternak and Kafka. Later I learned how refractory to high culture the democratic masses were. Lincoln as a young frontiersman read Plutarch, Shakespeare and the Bible. But then he was Lincoln.
  我還是個"探索文學"的少年時,就經常在想:要是大街上人人都熟悉普魯斯特和喬伊斯,熟悉T.E.勞倫斯,熟悉帕斯捷爾納克和卡夫卡,該有多好啊!后來才 知道,平民百姓對高雅文化有多排斥。雖說少年時代身居邊陲的林肯就在閱讀普魯塔克,、莎士比亞和《圣經》,但他畢竟是林肯。
  Later when I was traveling in the Midwest by car, bus and train, I regularly visited small-town libraries and found that readers in Keokuk, Iowa, or Benton Harbor, Mich., were checking out Proust and Joyce and even Svevo and Andrei Biely. D. H. Lawrence was also a favorite. And sometimes I remembered that God was willing to spare Sodom for the sake of 10 of the righteous. Not that Keokuk was anything like wicked Sodom, or that Proust’s Charlus would have been tempted to settle in Benton Harbor, Mich. I seem to have had a persistent democratic desire to find evidences of high culture in the most unlikely places.
  后來,我坐小車、巴士和火車在中西部旅行,經常走訪小鎮圖書館;發現在衣阿華州基奧卡克市,或者密歇根州本頓港市,讀者們借閱普魯斯特和喬伊斯的作品,甚 至還有斯維沃@和安德烈?別雷?的著作。D. H.勞倫斯的書也深受歡迎。有時我會想起上帝愿為十個義人而饒恕所多瑪城的故事^并非基奧卡克市和邪惡的所多瑪有何相似之處,也并非普魯斯特筆下的夏呂斯 ?想移居密西根州的本頓港,只不過我似乎一直有一種開明的想法,希望在最難覓高雅文化的地方找到高雅文化的證據。
  For many decades now I have been a fiction writer, and from the first I was aware that mine was a questionable occupation. In the 1930’s an elderly neighbor in Chicago told me that he wrote fiction for the pulps. “The people on the block wonder why I don’t go to a job, and I’m seen puttering around, trimming the bushes or painting a fence instead of working in a factory. But I’m a writer. I sell to Argosy and Doc Savage,” he said with a certain gloom. “They wouldn’t call that a trade.” Probably he noticed that I was a bookish boy, likely to sympathize with him, and perhaps he was trying to warn me to avoid being unlike others. But it was too late for that.
  至今,我已寫了幾十年小說,而且一開始就意識到,這是個頗有爭議的職業。20世紀30年代,芝加哥一位年長的鄰居告訴我,他給通俗雜志寫小說。"街坊鄰里 都納悶,為什么不去上班,卻見我游來蕩去,修剪修剪樹木,粉刷粉刷籬笆,就是不去工廠干活兒。可我是作家啊,稿子賣給《大商船》和《薩維奇醫生》⑦那些雜 志,"他說話時神情有些抑郁。"他們不會把這當作正事兒。"他很可能已經覺察到,我是個喜歡讀書的孩子,興許會與他產生共鳴,或者他想提醒我,不要與眾不 同,但這為時已晚。
  From the first, too, I had been warned that the novel was at the point of death, that like the walled city or the crossbow, it was a thing of the past. And no one likes to be at odds with history. Oswald Spengler, one of the most widely read authors of the early 30’s, taught that our tired old civilization was very nearly finished. His advice to the young was to avoid literature and the arts and to embrace mechanization and become engineers.
  一開始也有人告誡我,小說正頻臨死亡,猶如城郭或弓弩,已屬昨日之物。誰也不愿和歷史作對。奧斯瓦爾德?斯賓格勒*——30年代初擁有最廣泛讀者的作者之--曾教導我們,陳腐、古老的文明已幾近末路,建議年輕人避開文學和藝術,擁抱機械化,去當工程師。
  In refusing to be obsolete, you challenged and defied the evolutionist historians. I had great respect for Spengler in my youth, but even then I couldn’t accept his conclusions, and (with respect and admiration) I mentally told him to get lost.
  你拒絕被淘汰,就是對進化論史學家的挑戰和蔑視。年輕時我非常尊重斯賓格勒,但即使那個時候,也無法接受他的結論,而(懷著敬慕之情)在心里對他說:你走遠點吧。
  Sixty years later, in a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal, I come upon the old Spenglerian argument in a contemporary form. Terry Teachout, unlike Spengler, does not dump paralyzing mountains of historical theory upon us, but there are signs that he has weighed, sifted and pondered the evidence.
  時隔60年,在最近一期《華爾街日報》上,偶見斯賓格勒式老調新彈。跟斯賓格勒不同,特里?蒂奇奧特并沒有將一座座令人窒息的史論大山壓在我們身上,但跡象表明,他權衡、篩選、思索過相關證據。
  He speaks of our “atomized culture,” and his is a responsible, up-to-date and carefully considered opinion. He speaks of “art forms as technologies.” He tells us that movies will soon be “downloadable”—that is, transferable from one computer to the memory of another device—and predicts that films will soon be marketed like books. He predicts that the near-magical powers of technology are bringing us to the threshold of a new age and concludes, “Once this happens, my guess is that the independent movie will replace the novel as the principal vehicle for serious storytelling in the 21st century.”
  他談到了我們的"原子化文化",觀點新穎可靠,并經過深思熟慮,談到了 "作為技術的藝術形式",告訴我們,電影很快就"可以下載",即從一臺電腦轉入另一存儲設備。他還預測,電影不久會如書籍般銷售。他預言近乎魔法的技術之 力將把我們引入一個新時代,并得出結論:"一旦這成為現實,我猜想,獨立電影會替代小說,成為21世紀嚴肅故事敘述的主要載體。"
  In support of this argument, Mr. Teachout cites the ominous drop in the volume of book sales and the great increase in movie attendance: “For Americans under the age of 30, film has replaced the novel as the dominant mode of artistic expression.” To this Mr. Teachout adds that popular novelists like Tom Clancy and Stephen King “top out at around a million copies per book,” and notes, “The final episode of NBC’s ‘Cheers,’ by contrast, was seen by 42 million people.”
  為了支持這一觀點,蒂奇奧特先生指出,圖書銷量不幸下降,而電影觀眾卻大幅上升。"對30歲以下的美國人來說,電影已經取代小說,成為藝術表達的首要模 式。"蒂奇奧特先生補充道,湯姆?克蘭西和斯蒂芬?金@等暢銷小說家"每本書最多也就賣到一百萬冊左右,"還說,"相比之下,全國廣播公司的《歡樂酒 店》*的最后一集,觀眾達4200萬之多。"
  On majoritarian grounds, the movies win. “The power of novels to shape the national conversation has declined,” says Mr. Teachout. But I am not at all certain that in their day “Moby-Dick” or “The Scarlet Letter” had any considerable influence on “the national conversation.” In the mid-19th century it was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that impressed the great public. “Moby-Dick” was a small-public novel.
  就數量多寡而言,電影贏了。"小說左右國民言談的力量巳經削弱,"蒂奇奧特先生說。但我絲毫不敢肯定,當初《白鯨》或《紅字》對"國民言談"有過什么重大影響。19世紀中期,打動大眾的是《湯姆叔叔的小屋》。《白鯨》是一部小眾小說。
  The literary masterpieces of the 20th century were for the most part the work of novelists who had no large public in mind. The novels of Proust and Joyce were written in a cultural twilight and were not intended to be read under the blaze and dazzle of popularity.
  20世紀的文學杰作大多出自沒有大眾意識的小說家之手。普魯斯特和喬伊斯的小說,創作于暗淡的文化暮色之中,本來就無意讓人在大眾化的耀眼光焰下閱讀。
  Mr. Teachout’s article in The Journal follows the path generally taken by observers whose aim is to discover a trend. “According to one recent study 55 percent of Americans spend less than 30 minutes reading anything at all…. It may even be that movies have superseded novels not because Americans have grown dumber but because the novel is an obsolete artistic technology.”
  蒂奇奧特先生在《華爾街日報》上的文章,沿用了觀察家們旨在發現某種傾向的套路,指出"根據最近一項調査,55%的美國人閱讀時間不超過30分鐘……甚至可以說,電影取代了小說,不是因為美國人變傻了,而是因為小說這種技藝已經過時。""
  “We are not accustomed to thinking of art forms as technologies,” he says, “but that is what they are, which means they have been rendered moribund by new technical developments.”
  我們還不習慣把藝術形式看成技術,"他說,"但事實上藝術形式就是技術,也就是說,藝術形式已經因為新技術的發展而瀕臨死亡。"
  Together with this emphasis on technics that attracts the scientific-minded young, there are other preferences discernible: It is better to do as a majority of your contemporaries are doing, better to be one of millions viewing a film than one of mere thousands reading a book. Moreover, the reader reads in solitude, whereas the viewer belongs to a great majority; he has powers of numerosity as well as the powers of mechanization. Add to this the importance of avoiding technological obsolescence and the attraction of feeling that technics will decide questions for us more dependably than the thinking of an individual, no matter how distinctive he may be.
  文章除了強調崇尚科學的年輕人有吸引力的技術之外,還看得見其他一些取向。如大多數同時代人做什么,你最好就做什么,與其和區區數千人一樣讀一本書,不如 和幾百萬人一樣看一場電影。另外,讀者只是獨自閱讀北京翻譯公司,而觀眾卻是與許多人共賞,既借機械技術之力,又得人數眾多之勢。不妨還可以補充說,避免技術上落伍也 很重要,而人們總覺得就解決問題而言,不管個人有多么出眾,技術要比個人的思想更可靠。這種感覺也很有吸引力。
 
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