谢冰莹《刹那的印象》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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刹那的印象

◎ 谢冰莹

我开始写小说,是在进了女师的第二年,那时刚满十五岁。有一天,我和两位小学时代的同学,去一个同乡家里吃饭,主人刚刚买了一个十三岁的丫头来,那女孩长得面黄肌瘦①,身材短小,满脸现着泪痕;倒是一双乌溜溜的大黑眼睛②,非常惹人怜爱。女主人是一位师长太太,她命令女孩走路给我们看,并请我们批评她的一举一动的姿式,是否合于一个师长公馆用的丫头。那两位同学,真的将视线集中在女孩的身上;可是我的眼里却正在燃烧着不平的火焰③!我恨那位女主人太不人道了,简直把人当做畜生看,我当时气得饭也吃不下,借故回到学校,立刻写了一篇《刹那的印象》,用“闲事”的笔名,寄给编《大公报》的李抱一先生。第三天,当我走进阅报室,无意中看到了自己的作品,那时的快乐,的确是不能以笔墨形容的。

“你看今天的报没有?”

我问一位同学。

“没有,是不是有你的大作?”

她向我做了一个鬼脸。

“岂敢,岂敢④。”

我一溜烟跑了。

其实,说良心话,我当时的心境真是矛盾万分,一方面希望同学们知道那篇小说是我写的⑤,一方面又觉得太难为情。

“你这该死的家伙,怎么把前天唐太太请我们看丫头的事写成了小说呢?你不怕她生气吗?”

咏声这么责备我。

“谁管她!她既然能买卖人口,难道我连说话的自由都没有吗?我下次不去她家里就得了。”

后来咏声做了师长的姨太太,而那位可怜的小丫头不知何处去了⑥。

也不知什么缘故,发表了第一篇文章之后,写作的勇气似乎增加了若干倍。有一次上生物学,同学们都在兴高采烈地解剖小鸽子,我心里万分难过,眼泪不知不觉地掉下来,一位同学讽刺我:

“真是文学家的心肠,居然哭起来了。”

我受不住她的冷嘲,连忙回到教室,写了千余字的《小鸽子之死》,咀咒科学是残忍的,没有人性的。这篇文章虽然没有发表,但我觉得并不比《刹那的印象》写得差;从此我得了一个经验,要有真情实感,才能写出好文章⑦。

My Instant Response

◎ Xie Bingying

I began to write fiction in my second year at the Women’s Normal School when I had just reached the age of 15. One day, together with two classmates of the primary-school days, I went to dinner at a fellow provincial’s home. The host had just bought a 13-year-old slave girl. Short and slight in build, she looked thin and sickly with a tear-stained face. But her bright big ebony eyes were just lovely. The hostess, who was a division commander’s wife, ordered the girl to show us her gait so that we could judge whether each and every of her postures befitted her position as maid in an official mansion. As my former classmates were focusing their eyes on the poor girl, I burned with fury at the gross injustice. I detested the hostess for her inhuman act of treating the girl like an animal. I was too angry to eat and left on some excuse. Back at the school, I immediately wrote a story entitled My Instant Response under the pseudonym of “Xian Shi”, which I mailed to Mr. Li Baoyi, editor of the Da Gong Daily. Three days later, on entering the reading room, I was extremely thrilled to find my story published in the paper.

“Did you see today’s paper?”

I asked one of the two former classmates.

“No, I didn’t. You must have had something published, I guess?” She grimaced at me.

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t presume.”

I walked away quickly.

Frankly, I had mixed feelings. Much as I hoped that my schoolmates would know me as the author of the story, I could not help feeling very uncomfortable about it.

“Damn it! How come you’ve written a story of Madame Tang asking us to take a look at her slave girl? The lady might feel hurt, you know?”

Yong Sheng said reproachfully.

“I don’t care a damn about her! If she’s free to buy a slave girl, why shouldn’t I have my freedom of speech? I’ll see no more of the woman, that’s all.”

Yong Sheng was afterwards to be a concubine of the division commander in question while the whereabouts of the poor little slave girl were to remain unknown.

Strangely enough, the publication of the first article mentioned above seemed to greatly redouble my courage to keep on writing. It came about once that I was deeply grieved in biology class to see my fellow students cheerfully absorbed in dissecting a little pigeon. Tears trickled down my cheeks. One of the students said tauntingly,

“She’s crying — a real soft-hearted writer, eh!”

Unable to put up with her sarcasm, I went hurriedly to the classroom, where I wrote The Death of a Little Pigeon, an article of a little over 1,000 words, to condemn the cruelty and inhumanity of science. Though unpublished, it was just as well-written as My Instant Response. I had then learned from my own experience that only with true and sincere feelings could one write something worth reading.

此文是谢冰莹叙述1922年她在长沙第一女子师范求学时写第一篇散文的经过。当时,一军官太太买下一个小女孩作丫头,令人们当众品评该小女孩“一举一动的姿式”,谢对此侮辱人格的行为感到很气愤,挥笔写下《刹那的印象》一文,抨击时弊,伸张正义。

注释

①“那女孩长得面黄肌瘦”中的“黄”形容病容,故译为she looked thin and sickly。此句也可译为she was emaciated and had a sallow face,但欠轻快自然。

②“黑眼睛”译为ebony eyes,其中ebony本指“乌木”,为实物形容词,常见于文学作品,形容人的头发、眼睛等带光泽的深黑色。

③“我的眼里却正在燃烧着不平的火焰”即“面对不平,怒火中烧”,英译时还得把“怒”字表达出来:I burned with fury(或anger、wrath等)at the gross injustice,其中gross作“极端的”、“严重的”解,是译文中添加的成分,原文虽无其词而有其意。

④“岂敢”译为I wouldn’t presume,其中presume作“不敢这么做”、“不敢放肆”等解,常见于口语中。

⑤“一方面希望同学们知道那篇小说是我写的”意即“虽然希望同学们……”,故译为Much as I hoped …,等于Although I hoped …。

⑥“后来咏声做了师长的姨太太,而那位可怜的小丫头不知何处去了”译为Yong Sheng was afterwards to be a concubine of the division commander in question while the whereabouts of the poor little slave girl were to remain unknown,其中前后两句中都用动词不定式,意指“当时未想到的,而后来居然发生的事”。

⑦“要有真情实感,才能写出好文章”译为only with true and sincere feelings could one write something worth reading,未按字面直译为… could one write something really good,因前者似更为贴切。

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