张恨水《我写小说的道路》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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我写小说的道路

◎ 张恨水

我在十一二岁,看小说已经成迷了,十四五岁我就拿起笔来,仿照七侠五义的套子,构成一个十三岁的孩子,会玩大铁锤[1]。这小说叫什么名字,现在记不得了,可是这里面我还画成了画,画一个小侠客,拿着两柄大锤,舞成了旋风舞[2]。我为什么这样爱作小说,还要画侠客图呢?因为我的弟妹以及小舅父,喜欢听我说小侠客故事,有时我把图摊开来,他们也哈哈大笑。至今我想起来,何以弄小说连图都画上了。说我求名吗?除了家里三四个听客,于外没有人知道,当然不是。说我求利吗?大人真个知道了,那真会笑掉了大牙。当然也不是。我就喜欢这样玩意,喜欢,我就高兴乱涂[3]。什么我也不求。[4]

我到十五六岁,小说读的更多了。也读过自西洋翻译来的理论,但是那学问只有点把点,读过了也就完了。不过这样一来,我对小说,更抱着浓厚的兴趣。商务印书馆出版的“小说月报”,那时为国内首屈一指的文艺杂志,我就每月得买一本。因此,我对小说,有了更进一步的认识,认识到作小说的,可以作为一种职业。所以我爱读的小说,也自剑侠一变为爱情[5]。事实上,这个日子的小说,也以爱情为最多。可是为什么作小说,我依旧模糊着。至于作小说为职业,我根本未曾想到。

到了十九岁,我在苏州“蒙藏垦殖专门学校”[6]读书,有工夫,还是看小说。我觉着光是看,还有些不够,所以也作了两篇,往“小说月报”社投稿。当然,我那时还很年轻,读书不但不多,而且很多应当读的书,我只看到或者听到它的名字而已,所以两篇小说,投过了邮也就算了,并没有想到还有什么下文[7]。可是过了几日,“小说月报”居然回信来了,说我的小说还算不错,望我努力。那小说虽然没有发表,但给我的鼓励真是不小。于是我就对小说更为细心研究,尤其是写景一方面,小动作一方面,中国小说虽然也有,却是并不多,我就在西洋小说中,加倍注意。

可是学校被袁世凯封门了,我的家境,又十分不好,我就失了学。自此以后,我飘流在扬子江一带,寻找职业。直到二十四岁,才找到了我的饭碗[8],就是芜湖《皖江报》。不过那飘流的几年中,有些日子在乡下家里,我还极力看中国旧书,也看看小说。这好像说我的读书,有些进步了吧?所以在《皖江报》就业以后,我在自己报上写小说,也有工夫为别家写小说。上海《民国日报》,这就是别家的一家。若是说我写小说何日开始,这就是第一课吧[9]。

这年下半年,我到了北京,以后有十几年没有离开。同时,我一面当新闻记者,一面写小说。但是我虽依旧写小说,却慢慢地摸上一点路子。觉得写小说,专门写爱情,那也似乎太狭窄。我自己以为自这以后,我的小说,又有一点小变动,以社会各种变化情形为经,以爱情为纬[10]。我的小说自然也应该有些变化,可是我仍旧不能完全抛弃爱情[11]。大概有几十年工夫,不,可以说一辈子吧,总是不能离开这经纬线。如《太平花》、《夜深沉》、《水浒新传》、《八十一梦》等等。

我是作章回小说的,对于普及,那是没有问题的。但是我们要谈普及,是在哪里下手呢?这是我们必须要研究的。要把人民日常生活,一种自然形态,在烂熟之下摘取。这里说着人民日常生活,好像很容易摘取似的。事实上不尽然,也许是很难的。我们要细心慢慢去找日常生活最普遍的一处,然后把它在适当的时候,使鲜花开出来。这不能性急,日常生活体会得越多,就会使鲜花开得越灿烂。

《我写小说的道路》是章回小说大师张恨水(1895—1967)用简约的文字回忆自己生平和创作经历的散文。他的小说虽离不开章回小说范畴,并大多以言情为主题,但走的却是现实主义道路,同情弱小,反抗强暴,具有正义感和丰富热情,通俗易懂,因此深受广大读者欢迎。他认为小说家必须研究社会,了解周围的人物环境,正如他在文章中所说,“日常生活体会得越多,就会使鲜花开得越灿烂”。

[1]“构成一个十三岁的孩子,会玩大铁锤”可按“我这样做,就像一个小孩胆敢耍玩大铁锤一般”译成I did that like I was a small kid having the audacity to wield a heavy iron hammer,其中having the audacity(胆敢)是译文中的增益成分,原文虽无其词而有其意。

[2]“拿着两柄大锤,舞成了旋风舞”可按“拿着两根大钉头锤在狂跳狂舞”译成dancing around like mad wielding a pair of giant maces,其中把“锤”译为maces(一种古代武器,名为钉头锤);like mad是成语,作“拼命地”、“疯狂地”解。

[3]“我就喜欢这样玩意,喜欢,我就高兴乱涂”可按“我这样做是出于喜爱”译为I did it for love,简明扼要,其中for love是成语,作“出于喜爱”解。

[4]“什么我也不求”本可译为I sought nothing else或I had no other motives等,现按“如此而已”、“就是这样”等译为That’s all there is to it或That’s it。

[5]“我爱读的小说,也自剑侠一变为爱情”译为I shifted my favorite reading from kung fu stories to love stories,其中kung fu来自“功夫”,意为“武打”;“剑侠(小说)”也可译为stories about chivalrous swordsmen;

[6]“蒙藏垦殖专门学校”据说为孙中山所开创,可译为Mongolia-Tibet Reclamation School for Vocational Training。

[7]“没有想到还有什么下文”可按“就把它们忘了”或“就不再去想它们”等译为and just forgot about them。

[8]“找到了我的饭碗”可译为I finally found employment at …或I finally got a job at …等。

[9]“若是说我写小说何日开始,这就是第一课吧”不必按字面直译,现按“这就是我小说生涯的开端”译为That’s the beginning of my career as a novelist即可。

[10]“以社会各种变化情形为经,以爱情为纬”意即“社会问题和爱情并重”,现参照上下文,按“不仅写爱情,并且写社会问题”译为I wrote about social problems as well as love。

[11]“可是我仍旧不能完全抛弃爱情”译为Nevertheless, I have never been able to totally break away from the topic of love,其中用短语break away表达“抛弃”,作“摆脱”解;又“爱情”指“爱情题材”,最好译为the topic of love,其中the topic of是增添词。

How I Started My Career as a Novelist

◎ Zhang Henshui

I became engrossed in reading fiction when I was 12. At 15, I wrote a story patterned after Seven Swordsmen and Five Gallants[1]. I did it like I was a small kid having the audacity to wield a heavy iron hammer. I have forgotten the title of the story, but, I remember, it was illustrated with my drawing of a hero dancing around like mad wielding a pair of giant maces. I enjoyed writing stories illustrated with my drawings of gallants because my younger brothers and sisters plus my young uncle all liked to listen to my storytelling. And they would be greatly amused when I sometimes showed them the illustrations. Did I seek fame? Of course not, for I had no other listeners except a handful of my own folks. Did I seek personal gain? No, not either, for that would have made a laughing stock of myself in the family. I did it for love. That’s all there is to it.

At 16, I read more novels and meanwhile acquired a smattering of knowledge by reading the Chinese version of some Western books on literature. Thus I became even more interested in fiction. I would buy every issue of Fiction Monthly[2], the only literary magazine then published in China. I came to realize that story-writing could be one’s profession. I shifted my favorite reading from kung fu stories to love stories. In fact, love was then a favorite theme with most novelists. But I still had only a vague idea as to why one should engage in story writing. And I never thought of myself becoming a novelist.

At 19, while studying at Mongolia-Tibet Reclamation School for Vocational Training, in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, I continued to read stories in spare time. But I thought mere reading was not enough, so I submitted two stories I had written to the magazine Fiction Monthly for publication. Of course, I was then very young and far from being well-read. And many books I should have read were known to me by name only. Therefore, I didn’t expect too much of the two stories I had sent out and just forgot about them. Several days later, however, I received a reply from the said magazine saying that I had done quite well and they hoped I would do still better. Though they didn’t use my contributions, the encouragement they gave me was tremendous. Thereupon, I went in for an even more careful study of fiction, especially as regards the depiction of scenery and petty moves, which also appeared in Chinese fiction, but with much lower frequency than in Western fiction. So I focused more on them in Western fiction.

Later, I was obliged to discontinue my studies when the school was closed down by order of Yuan Shikai[3] and my parents could not send me to another school due to financial difficulties. Then I began to wander about hunting for a job in places along the Yangtse River. And it was not until I was 24 that I finally found employment at The Wanjiang News in Wuhu, Anhui Province. Thanks to the improvement I seemed to have made in knowledge through burying myself in Chinese classics as well as fiction during the several years when I was in my country home and later when I was wandering about, I was able to write novels for my newspaper and also, in spare time, for other newspapers as well, including The Republic Daily. That’s the beginning of my career as a novelist.

In the second half of the year, I went to Beijing, where I was to stay for more than ten years, both as a newspaperman and as a novelist. While I continued to write, I gradually realized that, as a novelist, I shouldn’t narrow my works to the sole theme of love. So from then on, there was a small change in my writings. I wrote about social problems as well as love. Nevertheless, I have never been able to totally break away from the topic of love. It has been my favorite theme for decades or throughout my life, as witness my Taiping Flowers, Deep Night, New Shui Hu Zhuan, 81 Dreams, etc.

As a writer of novels in zhanghui style[4], I of course advocate popularization. But we have to know how to achieve it. The way is to observe people’s daily life in its natural form until the time is ripe for us to pick it like an opening flower. It is not easy though. It may be very difficult. We have to look for the most common aspect of people’s life and then let it blossom forth like fresh flowers in our works at an opportune time. We need to work with patience. The more we know about people’s life, the more beautiful the flowers will be.

[1]A popular novel of adventure and detection in the Qing Dynasty with stories about brave and gallant men in towns and villages who championed the good, killed tyrants and achieved gread deeds for the state.

[2]Fiction Monthly was first published in 1910 by The Commercial Press in Shanghai. From 1921, Shen Yanbing (pen-named Mao Dun), a renowned progressive novelist, was its editor-in-chief. The literary journal ceased publication in June 1932 at the outbreak of the anti-Japanese war in Shanghai.

[3]Yuan Shikai (1859—1916) was chieftain of the Northern Warlords. After the Qing Dynasty was overthrown by the revolution of 1911, he usurped the presidency of the Republic and organized the first government of the Northern Warlords. He proclaimed himself emperor in December 1915, but was forced to abdicate in March 1916. He died in Beijing in June 1916.

[4]A type of traditional Chinese novel divided into chapters with each chapter headed by a couplet giving the gist of the contents. Most Chinese classical novels are in zhanghui style.

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