现代英文选评注 | Kant the Man 康德的日常生活 W. Somerset Maugham

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毛姆(W. Somerset Maugham,1874 - 1965)的散文,清楚易读,最宜初学模仿。下面所选几段,很少费解之处,实在用不到什么注解。据毛姆在他的《写作生活回忆》(The?Summing Up)中说,他自己作文,有三个标准,按其重要性次序说来,第一是达(lucidity),第二是简(simplicity),第三是顺(euphony)。达者,就是把话说清楚了,使人一看就懂;简者,要言不烦,少说废话;顺者,音调悦耳,便于上口。这三点——尤其是达——为毛姆一生致力所在,当代作家在这三点上的成就,能及得上毛姆的,实不多见。国内有几种英文选本都选用毛姆《中国游记》(On a Chinese Screen)里的文章,其实他那本书里的文字,既不达,又不简,并不足以代表他的风格。

本文选自他的散文集《随心所至》(The Vagrant Mood, Doubleday & Co. 1953)。原题《某书的读后感》(“Reflections on a Certain Book”)。他所谓某书是康德的美学名著《判断力之批判》(Critique of the Power ofJudgment,这样一个书名很可能把一个不学哲学的外行读者吓倒,但是毛姆自己承认对于哲学也是外行,只是对于艺术有兴趣,所以他觉得他对于美学的问题也可以来发表意见。全文分六节,第一节是描写康德的日常生活,就如下面所节录介绍的。后五节是他读康德美学名著后的杂感,都很平易近人,并不比第一节艰难多少。

Punctually at five minutes to five Lampe, his servant, waked Professor Kant and by five, in his slippers, dressing-gown and night-cap, over which he wore his three-cornered hat, he seated himself in his study ready for breakfast. This consisted of a cup of weak tea and a pipe of tobacco. The next two hours he spent thinking over the lecture he was to deliver that morning. Then he dressed. The lecture room was on the ground floor of his house. He lectured from seven till nine and so popular were his lectures that if you wanted a good seat you had to be there at six-thirty.

  • Punctually:准时地。Lampe:仆人之名。slippers:拖鞋;dressing-gown:晨服(燕居时所穿之宽大袍服);night-cap:睡帽。注意:穿(鞋或衣)和戴(帽)都可以用介词in来表示。
  • three-cornered hat:三角状之帽;康德把它戴在睡帽的外面。study:书房。deliver:发表(演讲)。
  • 本段句法都很平顺,只有第三句The next two hours he spent…hours为宾语,放在动词之前;末句so popular were his lectures中主语lectures放在动词之后。此种次序之颠倒,大多为加强语气之用;移放在一句前头的字,往往是意义上应该着重的字。

Kant, seated behind a little desk, spoke in a conversational tone, in a low voice, and very rarely indulged in gesture, but he enlivened his discourse with humour and abundant illustrations. His aim was to teach his students to think for themselves and he did not like it when they busied themselves with their quills to write down his every word.

"Gentlemen, do not scratch so," he said once. "I am no oracle."

  • seated是过去分词。conversational tone:普通谈话式的语气(不像在讲学)。
  • indulged in:任性而为。用了indulge in以后,所做的事情大约并不是一件好事;即使并不是坏事,至少也应该加以节制而少去做它的。照毛姆的意思,讲学的时候多做手势一事并不可取,但是康德很少有这个毛病。enlivened:使活泼有趣。discourse:讲演。illustrations:实例,用以说明理论者。
  • he did not like it之it指学生勤记笔记这种情形。quills:鸟羽笔。
  • scratch原意是“扒,搔”,转作“像扒搔似的写字”:乱写,急写。
  • oracle:代表天神发言之人。这种人的话才是值得一字不漏地记下来的。

It was his custom to fix his eyes on a student who sat close to him and judge by the look on his face whether or not he understood what he said. But a very small thing distracted him. On one occasion he lost the thread of his discourse because a button was wanting on the coat of one of the students, and on another, when a sleepy youth persistently yawned, he broke off to say:

"If one cannot avoid yawning, good manners require that the hand should be placed before the mouth."

  • custom:习惯。judge:判断(前面的to省去),它的宾语是“whether”clause。
  • distracted him:分他的心。
  • thread:线索。lost the thread of his discourse:演讲断了线索,讲不下去了。a button was wanting on the coat:上衣上面少了一个钮扣。注意:中文说法用“上衣”做主语,英文常用“钮扣”做主语。
  • persistently:(坚持)不断的。yawned:打呵欠。broke off to say:打断了话锋,改讲另外一件事情。
  • avoid:避免。good manners:礼貌。“假如呵欠非打不可的话,照规矩手也得捂在嘴上的。”这是一句幽默的话,幽默之所以为幽默,这里也不妨试一试探求其原因:一、康德看见那人不断地打呵欠,心里也许很不高兴,但是他宽恕他的打呵欠,只是批评他不该不把嘴捂上。他的宽容也许是勉强的,他的批评只是避重就轻。但是这种勉强的宽容精神和避重就轻的批评,假如表现得好的话,往往就成了幽默。二、这句话本来是专指某一个人说的,可是康德并不讲明是谁,先用的是one(任何人),后面连one都不用了,只是说good manners require that the hand…根本没有提什么人。这样把“专指”化为“泛指”,就显得更为气度雍容。假如改说“…one should place one's hand…”,就似乎带点声色俱厉的样子,还不足以言幽默也。

At nine o'clock Kant returned to his room, once more put on his dressing-gown, his night-cap, his three-cornered hat and his slippers and studied till exactly a quarter to one. Then he called down to his cook, told her the hour, dressed and went back to his study to await the guests he expected to dinner.

  • called down to his cook:他的厨子可能在楼下。he expected to dinner是定语从句,关系代名词whom省却。dinner:一天中主要的一餐。

He could not bear to eat alone, and there were always guests, never less than two nor more than five. As soon as they were assembled Kant told his servant to bring the dinner and himself went to fetch the silver spoons which he kept locked up with his money in a bureau in the parlour.

  • bear:忍受。
  • assembled:到齐了。bureau:有抽屉之写字台(英国用法;此字在美国作“衣柜”解,毛姆为英人,故此外采用英国解释)。parlour:普通住宅之起居室,兼作会客之用。(正式会客室为drawing room,大抵华丽住宅中始有之。)

The party seated themselves in the dining-room and with the words: "Now, gentlemen," Kant set to. The meal was substantial. It was the only one he ate in the day, and consisted of soup, dried pulse with fish, roast, cheese to end with and fruit when in season. Before each guest was placed a pint bottle of red wine and a pint bottle of white so that he could drink whichever he liked.

  • set to:开始,发动。这里当然是开始用膳,相当于中文的“动筷”。
  • the only one=the only meal:一天就吃这么一顿。早晨他单喝淡茶抽板烟,前面已经说过了。
  • pulse:豆类(黄豆、豌豆、蚕豆等,凡是可当饭菜吃的豆都可用这个字)。roast:烤肉。cheese to end with:末道菜是干酪。in season:时鲜的。pint bottle:可容一品脱之瓶。(按pint之i读长音/ai/,为液体之容量,中国人饮牛奶常以“磅”为单位,其实所谓半磅牛奶即是半pint。)wine:葡萄酒。客人面前红白葡萄酒各置一瓶,听凭自择。

Kant was fond of talking, but preferred to talk alone, and if interrupted or contradicted was apt to show displeasure; his conversation, however, was so agreeable that none minded if he monopolized it. He would also tell humorous stories, of which he had a rich supply and which he told uncommonly well, so, he said, "that the repast may end with laughter, which is calculated to promote digestion."

  • if interrupted or contradicted:他的话假如给人打断了,或是给人驳回去了。was apt to的主语是句首的Kant。displeasure:不悦之色。
  • agreeable:可喜,有趣。monopolized:独占;后随的it代表conversation。即使他一个人发言,不容别人插嘴,别人也不会见怪(minded)。
  • of which he had a rich supply:他的笑话储藏很多。
  • so, he said, "that…"中之he said是插句,so跟着后面的that一起走。repast=meal。calculated:预计可以(有某种结果)。to promote digestion:帮助消化。

He liked to linger over dinner and the guests did not rise from table till late. He would not sit down after they had left in case he fell asleep, and this he would not permit himself to do since he was of opinion that sleep should be enjoyed sparingly, for thus time was saved and so life lengthened. He set out on his afternoon walk.

  • linger:留恋不走。
  • in case常作if解,这里解作lest(唯恐)。
  • this he would not permit himself to do:他决不容许自己这样做(午睡)。this是to do的宾语。was of opinion:主张。sparingly:俭省地。saved:节省,睡得少,时间就节省下来了;每天节省一个钟头,就好像多活了一个钟头,所以说生命也延长了。午饭后他出门散步。

He was a little man, barely five feet tall, with a narrow chest and one shoulder higher than the other, and he was thin almost to emaciation. He had a crooked nose, but a fine brow and his colour was fresh. His eyes, though small, were blue, lively and penetrating. He was natty in his dress. He wore a small blond wig, a black tie, and a shirt with ruffles round the throat and wrists; a coat, breeches and waistcoat of fine cloth, gray silk stockings and shoes with silver buckles. He carried his three-cornered hat under his arm and in his hand a goldheaded cane. He walked every day, rain or fine, for exactly one hour, but if the weather was threatening, his servant walked behind him with a big umbrella.

  • barely:刚刚够;只有。chest:胸膛。thin:瘦;emaciation:极瘦;介词to表示瘦的程度;瘦得几乎只剩皮包骨。
  • crooked:曲的。brow:额;此字亦解作“眉”,但用作“眉”时,常作复数形式(加s)。colour:肤色,气色。
  • penetrating:锐利。
  • natty:整洁。blond:金色(毛发);wig:假发,十八世纪欧洲男人戴假发,为一时风尚。ruffles:衣服边缘之成绉褶状者。wrists:手腕。cloth:任何织物,不单指“布”一种。buckles:(用以拴带子之)扣子。
  • 本段前五句都是描写康德的仪表,上一段不是刚说到他饭后出去散步吗?怎么会插这几句进去呢?看到第六句:“他把三角帽挟在胁下,手提金头手杖”,才知道前面五句出现得并不突兀。康德的散步在他的平淡规律的生活中,是一件大事,所以作者亦极力描写。与其单独地描写他的状貌服饰,不如拿来同他的散步联在一起写。他饭后出去散步——康德在散步的时候是怎么样的一个人呢?于是说到他的身材、仪容、身上脚下的打扮,胁下挟的是什么,手里拿的是什么等等。这么一来,文字就更生动。我们读到的不是一个静的康德,而是一个动的康德了。
  • threatening:有雨意;风云变幻莫测。threaten原作“威胁”解,但请读者注意英文threaten的用法比中文“威胁”来得广。

The only occasion on which he is known to have omitted his walk is when he received Rousseau's Emile and then, unable to tear himself away from it, he remained indoors for three days. He walked very slowly because he thought it was bad for him to sweat, and alone because he had formed the habit of breathing through his nostrils, since thus he thought to avoid catching cold and, had he had a companion with whom courtesy would oblige him to speak, he would have been constrained to breathe through his mouth.

  • 康德的散步,数十年如一日,风雨无间,寒暑不辍,据说只有一次,他收到了一本卢梭(Jean Jacques Rousseau,1712—1778)的《爱弥尔》(卢梭自叙教育理想的一部小说,1762年出版),读得不忍释手,三天没有出门,因此破例没有散步。tear:撕,扯;书把他吸引住了,撕都撕不开,其吸引力之强可想。
  • 第二句稍长,但句法仍十分干净。He walked后接副词slowly(他怕出汗sweat,故步子很慢),又接形容词alone(形容主词是predicate adjective),该句主干实仅是He walked slowly and he walked alone而已。alone一字放在这里,可称险绝,然而脚头站得很稳,丝毫摇撼不动,作者炼句,实见功夫。alone离开它所形容的主语He,已经隔了十几个字,后面又引起四十几个字来说明何以alone,这样一个字,假如用得不得法,很可能变得无靠无依,交代不清。但是这一句的层次依旧很清楚,我们读到alone的时候,自然会大大地换一口气,聚精会神地且看作者在because以后耍些什么花样出来。
  • 康德散步为什么不带伴儿呢?原来他有用鼻孔(nostrils)呼吸的习惯,这样他可以免伤风(catching cold);假如(had he had=if he had had)有一个他非敷衍不可的人陪他一起走(替他带伞的仆人,他是可以不必敷衍的),他不得不跟他说话,因此就不得不用嘴呼吸了。
  • “with whom courtesy would oblige him to speak”中的with,在句法结构上应放在speak之后。courtesy:礼貌。oblige:强使为之。此字与稍后的constrain略有不同:oblige大抵是道义上的约束,constrain则无论什么样无可奈何的情形,使人不得不受制者,皆可适用之。所以对于朋友,他不得不说话,则宜用oblige;说话时不得不张嘴,则宜用constrain了。

He invariably took the same walk, along the Linden Allee, and this, according to Heine, he strolled up and down eight times. He issued from his house at precisely the same hour so that the people of the town could set their clocks by it. When he came home he returned to his study and read and wrote letters till the light failed. Then, as was his habit, fixing his eyes on the tower of a neighbouring church, he pondered over the problems that just then occupied him…. At a quarter to ten he suspended his arduous labour and by ten was safely tucked up in bed.

  • walk:散步的地方,供人步行的道路。invariably:不变地。Linden:菩提树。Allee:马路,林荫大道;此德文字与英文字alley同源而异义,相当于英文之avenue, boulevard。Heine即Heinrich Heine(1797—1856,中文普通译作海涅),德国诗人、作家,曾著录康德事迹。strolled:逍遥漫步,溜达。“and this… he strolled up and down”此句句法与前段(见上文)有一句“and this he would not permit himself to do”相仿,this都是以宾语而置于句首者。up and down:来回。
  • issued:出发。precisely:精确地,恰巧。set their docks:钟上拨准时间,对时。
  • the light failed:日色渐暮,不便工作。
  • pondered over:思考,occupied本解作“占有”; the problems that occupied him:占有了他的脑筋的问题,他所专心研究的那些(哲学)问题。
  • suspended:停止。arduous labour:费力的工作。was tucked up in bed:裹身被中;这样的说法当比lay in bed更能使读者觉得床上的安逸舒适。

Though he lived to be eighty, he never went more than sixty miles away from the town in which he was born. He suffered from frequent indispositions and was seldom free from pain, but he was able by the exertion of his will to turn his attention away from his feelings just as though they did not concern him.

  • lived to be eighty:活到八十岁。the town in which he was born:指K?nigsberg,为东普鲁士首府。
  • indispositions:身体上的不舒服,小毛病。seldom free from pain:身上老是带点病痛的。
  • by the exertion of his will:运用其意志力量。此短语(phrase)插在able与to之间,其地位亦值得研究。当able出现之时,读者自然会等着后面的to:能够……,能够什么呢?可是作者小弄玄虚,偏偏先来“by the exertion of his will”一个短语,再把to搬出来。这个用法至少有两点好处:一、意义可以更丰富:多一个短语,当然多一层意义;二、气势可以较舒缓:able与to直接相随,气势迫切,分开了语气就较婉转。然文章之道难有定规,有时文章意义要求单纯,气势要求爽利,这种办法就不合适了。总之,在读者意料不到的地方,插进几个字、一两个短语或甚至一个从句(clause),这就是文章的“装饰”,可以帮助文章的美。但是天下一切装饰,都要小心,否则随时都可能弄巧成拙的。如何运用得好,还得靠多读名家著作,培养正确的taste也。
  • to turn his attention away from his feelings:使心另有所属,不去注意身上的痛痒。“As though they did not concern him”中之they指feelings:好像身上的不舒服同他没有关系似的。

He was neither impulsive nor demonstrative, but he was kindly, within his scanty means generous, and obliging. His intelligence was great, his power of reasoning impressive, but his emotional nature was meagre. Twice he thought seriously of marrying, but he took so long to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the step he had in mind that in the interval one of the young women he had his eye on married somebody else and the other left K?nigsberg before he reached a decision.

  • impulsive:凭感情冲动行事。demonstrative:喜怒哀乐,常形诸辞色的。康德为人稳重,情感亦深藏不露。
  • kindly:待人厚道。generous:用钱慷慨。此字之前又插了一个短语within his scanty means:在他菲薄的经济力量容许之下。君子固穷,然苟人有所需,康德亦必尽其微力,乐于周济也。obliging:乐于助人;此字在本文中为第二次出现,前面的一个解作“强使人不得不做某一件事”,这里的一个解作“使人负恩,使人感激”。此字的被动形式,普通书信中常用,如云“I shall be much obliged if…”(如蒙……不胜感激)。它的主动形式,就是“乐于助人而使人感激”。又,此字约相当于中国的“古道热肠,好行方便”,并无“故意市惠望人报答”之意。
  • intelligence:智力。power of reasoning:推理的能力。impressive(动词was省去):给人很深的印象;非常可观。emotional nature:情感的天性(天生的情感)。meagre:贫乏,薄弱。
  • so long:那么长的时间。advantages and disadvantages:利弊。the step he had in mind:他心目中的计划(步骤);he had in mind是定语从句。that in the interval之that呼应so long之so;in the interval:在(他考虑的)这一段时间内。he had his eye on:又是一个定语从句,“他所看中的”。本句内这两个定语从句运用得很是轻巧自然,随随便便放一个定语从句上去,句子一点不觉得累赘笨重,凡是喜欢把英文写得流利的,在这种地方应该多加注意。

(本文摘自《现代英文选评注》:京东正版购买链接

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