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文学作品翻译:张爱玲-《写什么》英译

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《写什么》


What Are We to Write?

有个朋友问我:"无产阶级的故事你会写么?"我想了一想,说:"不会。要么只有阿妈她们的事,我稍微知道一点。"后来从别处打听到,原来阿妈不能算无产阶级。幸而我并没有改变作风的计划,否则要大为失望了。
A friend of mine asked, "Can you write stories about the proletariat?" I thought it over and replied, "No. Except perhaps about amahs, because I know a little something about them." Later, I looked into the matter and discovered that amahs don't count as proletarians, anyway. It's a good thing that I'm not planning to change my style, since it would only result in disappointment.

文人讨论今后的写作路径,在我看来是不能想象的自由——仿佛有充分的选择的余地似的。当然,文苑是广大的,游客买了票进去,在九曲桥上拍了照,再一窝蜂去参观动物园,说走就走,的确可羡慕。但是我认为文人该是园里的一棵树,天生在那里的,根深蒂固,越往上长,眼界越宽,看得更远,要往别处发展,也未尝不可以,风吹了种子,播送到远方,另生出一棵树,可是那到底是很艰难的事。
The discussions taking place among writers as to our present course and our path forward seem to me an unimaginable liberty—as if there were any choice in the matter. No doubt the garden of literature is broad and inclusive: when visitors buy their tickets and enter its precincts, they can have their pictures taken on the Nine-Bend bridge, swarm over to the zoo, or roam as they wish across the grounds. Their freedom of movement is truly enviable. But I believe that writers themselves should be like trees in the garden, growing naturally within its confines, with their roots extending deep into the ground below. As they grow, their viewpoint will begin to grow wider, and as their field of vision expands, there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to develop in new directions, for when the wind blows, their seeds will disperse far into the distance engendering still more trees. But there is the most difficult task of all.
初学写文章,我自以为历史小说也会写,普洛文学,新感觉派,以至于较通俗的"家庭伦理",社会武侠,言情艳情,海阔天空,要怎样就怎样。越到后来越觉得拘束。譬如说现在我得到了两篇小说的材料,不但有了故事与人物的轮廓,连对白都齐备,可是背景在内地,所以我暂时不能写。到那里去一趟也没有用,那样的匆匆一瞥等于新闻记者的访问。最初印象也许是最强烈的一种。可是,外国人观光燕子窝,印象纵然探,我们也不能从这角度去描写燕子窝顾客的心理罢?
When I was first learning how to write, I believed that I could write whatever I pleased: historical fiction, proletarian fiction, modernist fiction, even the relatively vulgar genre of "family ethics" fiction, not to mention social expose and martial arts novels or decadent stories of romance and seduction. The sky really was the limit. But later I felt more and more constrained. Here is an example. I have at present enough material assembled for two stories. Not only do I have outlines of the plots and all the characters; even the dialogue has already been prepared in advance. But the stories are set in the interior, and that is why I cannot write them, as least for the time being. And even if I could go there, it wouldn't really be any use. If I were to take a hurried look around, I would be no better than a news reporter on assignment. Perhaps it's true that first impressions are the most important. But while a foreigner might well take away extremely vivid impressions from a visit to a "swallow's nest," his perspective won't necessarily reveal very much about the psychology of those who frequent it.
走马看花固然无用,即使去住两三个月,放眼搜集地方色彩,也无用,因为生活空气的浸润感染,往往是在有意无意中的,不能先有个存心。文人只须老老实实生活着,然后,如果他是个文人,他自然会把他想到的一切写出来。他写所能够写的,无所谓应当。
"Observing the flowers from astride a horse" will only take you so far. But even if you were to live someplace for a few months, searching high and low for dollops of local color, you might well fail to achieve your objective. True immersion in the atmosphere of life usually takes place spontaneously. It isn't something that can be forced or willed into being. All a writer can strive for is to live with integrity. A real writer can only really write about what he himself thinks. He will write about what he can write; what a writer should or should not write is ultimately beside the point.
为什么常常要感到改变写作方向的需要呢?因为作者的手法常犯雷同的毛病,因此嫌重复。以不同的手法处理同样的题材既然办不到,只能以同样的手法适用于不同的题材上——然而这在实际上是不可能的,因为经验上不可避免的限制。有几个人能够像高尔基像石挥那样到处流浪,哪一行都混过?其实这一切的顾虑都是多余的吧?只要题材不太专门性,像恋爱结婚,生老病死,这一类颇为普遍的现象,都可以从无数各个不同的观点来写,一辈子也写不完。如果有一天说这样的题材已经没的可写了,那想必是作者本人没的可写了。即使找到了崭新的题材,照样的也能够写出滥调来。

Then why do we often feel that we need to change the direction of our literary work? Because a writer will often make the same technical mistakes over and over again and come to abhor the constant repetition. If there is no way to treat the same material with different techniques, might there be a way to apply one's old techniques to new material? This second option is almost impossible to achieve, because of the limits of individual experience. How many people are like Gorky or Shi Hui, wandering the world throughout their lives and seasoned in any number of different professions? Perhaps in the end these anxieties about what and how to write are merely superfluous. As long as one's subject matter isn't too specialized, one can write about common experiences—love and marriage, birth, growing up, growing old, getting sick, and dying—from any number of disparate angles and never lack for material. If there came a day when an author could no longer write anything about such things, I imagine it would be because he had nothing left to say, even for himself. And even if he came across some brand-new subject, he would still only be able to produce cliches.




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