何为《书房》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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书房

何为

书房,是读书人心目中的一个私人领地,一个精神家园,一个智慧的世界。到过几位朋友家的书房,尽管大小各不相同,陈设各异,但四壁书橱架上,层层叠叠的书籍,或排成整齐的行列,或纵横交错如阡陌丛林,满屋子到处是书,则大体相同(1)。新时期以来,各种多卷本全套硬面精装的文集,形形色色的选集,足以令书房生辉。其间不乏名著佳作,可作为文化积累,但也难免混杂一些文化垃圾。当然,这些都无碍于书房主人坐拥书城之乐(2)。

书房永远是令人向往的去处。

我从事笔耕数十年,从来没有一间自己的书房,一间独立的、完整的、名副其实的书房(3)。我多次迁居,从大城市直至外省人烟稀少的小山村。每次搬家时,惟有书籍最累人,也最难舍弃。我爱书,说不上藏书丰富,日积月累倒也可观,几经迁移,不但没有损失,反而日益增多,因为居处的局限,每每有书满为患之感。现在我的卧室就是书房(4),群书延伸到小卫生间的大书架上,无法腾出一室作书房。

然而,在我的文学生涯中,一度也有一间自己的书房。所谓书房,其实是一间贮藏室(5)。那幢在本世纪初期落成的陈旧宅第,开间很大,楼下一间屋子就可作为街道办的托儿所。我的一家住在三楼一大间,按今日标准,至少可分成三间,真是大而无当。不过房门外,紧靠楼梯,有一间贮藏室,倒是极为难得的。门一关,可与全家的生活区完全隔绝,避免尚在幼年的孩子们往来干扰。

这贮藏室于是成了我一生中惟一的书房,也许称之为小作坊更为贴切。狭长逼仄的一小间,北窗下靠墙置一旧书桌,进门处兀立两只叠起来的玻璃书柜,都是原先住户废弃的家具。除了窗下书桌前可容纳我的一把旧藤椅,就没有多余的空间了。不过,这样的一间书房,一个人躲在里面写作,思想很集中(6)。我利用一切节假日、下班后的全部业余时间,独处斗室,创作的思维和想象空间都很广阔(7)。

五十年代的上海寒冬腊月,气候比现在冷得多。寒夜,窗上玻璃结满冰凌,呵气如雾。我拉上窗帘,以炭盆烤火取暖,让身边的小水壶在炭火上嘶嘶作响,伴随我逐渐投入创作境界(8)。室内四壁都伸手可及,我在墙钉上挂着几条绳索,以便挂上大小纸片。纸片上有创作素材的零星记录,有词海语林偶得的一鳞半爪(9),也有已成篇尚待修改的原稿。短短几年,我在这作坊里,写了不少长短文章,其中有些小文,至今还受到读者的青睐,这是我想不到的。

我很想念那间小书房。有几次偕孩子们路过其地,孩子们如今都到了中年,每次我总要指点方位,告诉他们,那几乎不复可辨的三层楼上,过去是我们一家住过的地方。昨日偶经该处,发现旧屋原址上屹立着耸天高楼,旧居了无痕迹。我在夜色中频频回首仰望,怅然重温我的那个书房旧梦。

My Study

He Wei

The study is to a scholar his private domain,his spiritual home and his intellectual world.I’ve been to the studies of several friends.Though of different sizes and with different furnishings,they are nevertheless about the same in boasting a roomful of books.Books shelved in bookcases lining the four walls.Books either piled up one upon another,or displayed in neat rows,or laid out in disorder like fields with crisscross footpaths or a jungle.In recent years,the appearance of various multivolume collected works in de luxe editions as well as selected works of every description has added to the splendour of a study.Among them there is no lack of great classics and master writings.On the other hand,some trash is inevitably mixed with them too.But that doesn’t hinder the owner of the study from enjoying the company of his library.

A study is always a place of enormous appeal to us.

I’ve been engaged in writing for several decades,but I’ve never had a study of my own—a study that is independent,intact and true to its name,that is.I’ve moved many times,once even away from a big city to a remote small mountain village in another province.Whenever I moved,my books,cumbersome as they were,turned out to be the last thing for me to part with.I’m a bibliophile.My collection of books is far from being a big private library,but it keeps growing from day to day.Several times of house moving did not disperse my collection.On the contrary,it has become larger with each passing day until my small dwelling is overcrowded with them.Now the shelves of books in my study-cum-bedroom extend as far as the tiny toilet.No room is available to serve specifically as a study.

However,in the course of my career as a writer,I did once own a study,or,to be exact,a storeroom turned study.I was then living in an old house built at the turn of the century.It was quite roomy,so much so that the ground floor served even as a neighbourhood nursery.I and family lived in a room on the third floor,which was really big but impractical because,according to today’s standard,it could have been divided into at least three rooms.Fortunately,close to the staircase just outside my room,there was a storeroom,which I regarded as something of great rarity to me because sitting inside it behind the closed door I could cut myself off from my family and work without any disturbance from my small kids.

The storeroom was the only study I’ve ever had in my life.Perhaps it could be aptly called a workshop.It was long,narrow and small.An old desk stood against a wall under the northern window.Two piled-up glass bookcases rose erect near the entrance.They were the furniture abandoned by a former resident.There was no room for anything else besides my old cane chair placed before the desk under the window.However,enjoying the privacy of a so-called study like this,I could do writing with high concentration.All festivals and holidays as well as all after-hours sparetime would find me confined in solitude to the tiny room to experience the delight of giving free rein to my literary thought and imagination.

In the fifties,Shanghai was much colder in winter than now.The window panes would ice up and one’s breath would freeze in the cold air.I would,with the window curtains drawn together,warm myself by a charcoal brazier over which a small kettle was sizzling away,and gradually move into the best state of readiness for creative writing.On the four walls,which I could easily reach by holding out my hand,I had several strings with scraps of paper hung on them stretched between nails.On these scraps of paper,I kept jottings of fragmentary materials for creative work,some linguistic gems and my original manuscripts awaiting revision.In this workshop,I turned out in a few years a large number of articles,both long and short,and,to my great surprise,some of the short essays I then wrote are today still to the liking of the reading public.

How I cherish the memory of the small study!Whenever I passed by the former residence with my children,who have now reached middle age,I never failed to show them the location of our old home and tell them that the third floor of the building which had changed beyond recognition had once been our home.Yesterday,when passing by the same place,I found that the old building was nowhere to be found and that a high-rise had been erected on its site.In the deepening dusk,I repeatedly turned round to look up at the towering structure and wistfully relived the old days I had spent in the small study.

《书房》是散文家何为写于1999年6月21日的一篇佳作,选自他于2003年出版的散文集《近景与远景》。文章语言锤炼,简洁明了,内容真切感人,自然流露,从读书人爱书(在颠沛流离的生活中,“书最累人,也最难舍弃”)谈到自己一辈子没有一个真正的书房,曾多年躲在一间局促不堪的储藏室里伏案笔耕,佳作累累,不禁使人想起旧时上海“亭子间作家”的潦倒情景和中国文人的坎坷遭遇。

注释

(1)“满屋子到处是书,则大体相同”译为about the same in boasting a roomful of books,其中boasting虽与having同义,但却具有“自豪”的内涵。又,a roomful of books意即a room full of books,所以上述句子也可译为about the same in being filled with books,但不如上译利落,且缺内涵。

(2)“坐拥书城之乐”未按字面直译,现按“享受以私人藏书为伴的乐趣”译为enjoying the company of his library。

(3)“一间独立的、完整的、名副其实的书房”译为a study that is independent,intact and true to its name,that is,其中that is是成语,和that is to say同义,作“换言之”、“亦即”等解。

(4)“我的卧室就是书房”可按“我的卧室兼书房”译为my study-cum-bedroom或my bedroom-cum-study,其中cum是介词,作“兼作”解,如:a kitchen-cum-dining room(就餐做饭两用室;餐室兼厨房)。

(5)“所谓书房,其实是一间贮藏室”译为to be exact,a storeroom turned study,其中turned作“变成”解,是不及物动词的过去分词,用作形容词,例如:He is a soldier turned musician(他是军人出身的音乐家)。

(6)“这样的一间书房,一个人躲在里面写作,思想很集中”的译文为…enjoying the privacy of a so-called study like this,I could do writing with high concentration。为了避免死抠原文字面,把“一个人躲在里面”译为…enjoying the privacy of…,并把“这样一间书房”译为a so-called study like this。

(7)“创作的思维和想象空间都很广阔”不宜按字面直译,现按“任凭自己的创作思维和想象力自由驰骋”加以意译:giving free rein to my literary thought and imagination。

(8)“逐渐投入创作境界”可按“逐渐进入创作的最佳状态”译为gradually move into the best state of readiness for creative writing,其中the best state of readiness的意思是“最佳的准备就绪状态”。

(9)“词海语林偶得的一鳞半爪”意即“可供学习参考的只言片语”,可译为some useful words and expressions,现意译为some linguistic gems。

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