邵洵美《我的书斋生活》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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我的书斋生活[1](节录)

◎ 邵洵美

你们简直可以说,洵美是生活在书斋里的[2]:会客室里是书,卧房里是书,楼梯边上也是书,连三层楼上的洗澡间里也是书。所以一定要我指出哪一间是书斋,那可不容易。也许在我卧房隔壁的一间最像,中间有只书桌,可是书桌上又堆满了书,没有地方摆稿纸,也没有地方摆砚台,我又不会用钢笔写文章[3]。用钢笔写,我总嫌太滑,太快;它几乎不容你思想。我喜欢毛笔,它总伴着你,有时也许比你快一步,可是你总追得到。这个小房间里还有两只安乐椅;一个书架,里面是我最心爱的书籍,不肯借人的。墙上只有一张水仙画,浅淡的笔姿给你一种清高的空气;偶然在看书的时候想到自己不久要穷得不成个样子,它就会显示你一个最伟大的希望,所以有几个晚上,我简直就呆对着这张画。

这个小房间,长不满十五尺,宽不满十尺,关于现代诗的书籍,我都放在里面:书架里放不下,便放在桌子上;桌子上放不下,便堆在椅子里;椅子里放不下,便叠在地上。理由是我从不整理我的书籍,买到了新书就随便放,看过了又随便丢[4];假使为了写一篇文章,需要参考时,每每费半个一个钟头去寻觅。

通常一个人有了这许多放书的房间,他便总会为它们取许多雅致的名字:什么室,什么斋,什么楼之类。一半当然为了借这个机会可以写些大字,叫一做匾的人刻好了挂起来;一半也是为自己或是家人找书的时候容易辨别[5]。我却懒得花这种心思[6],所以像上面所说的那个房间,我们便叫作“楼上书房”。楼下的叫作“楼下书房”;三层楼的叫作“三层楼书房”。

我平时读书写文章,都在夜间,所以坐在“楼上书房”的机会多,因为它最近我的卧室,倦了,跨几步便到床上。但是当我准备要全夜写文章的时候,便只能待在“楼下书房”了。那时候两个大房间里只有我一个人,咳嗽,刮洋火,便不会闹醒人家;天亮了,自己炖杯牛奶,或是走到对面弄堂里买些油豆腐,谁都不会觉得讨厌。白天总是不在家的时候多,一回家便得寻了书读;书拿到手,电话又来了。朋友又喜欢要我写文章,因为我最明白编辑的痛苦,要二三千字我总肯为他赶写[7]。

我是无论如何脱离不了我的书斋的了。但是除非在我读书或是写文章到了出神的时候,我总会感觉到这几间书斋没有一间是舒服的。我理想的书斋是一个极大的房间,里面要能容下二十个书架,冬天有热书汀;夏天有冷气。我希望有一只最大的书桌,上面可以尽我把书籍纸张乱堆,中间还可以留一些地方安置笔砚稿纸之类。这个当然是我的奢望:我既没有财力去得到那样大的书斋,我也没有才力去写出什么大文章来,不过希望也是一种安慰,同时还是一种鼓励。

但是,无论如何,我白天是写不出文章的。“楼上书房”的光线太大,多呆了会头痛,用了太厚的窗帏又会闷气。“楼下书房”事实上又是会客间[8],我的客人又多,文章写到一半,来了几个朋友,反而大家不舒服。我写文章还有一个坏习惯,和吃饭一样不能停,一停了就吃不下。有一次写一篇关于现代诗的文章,中间来了一个朋友,到现在还没有把它续完。所以假使有什么副刊编辑要我写那种分期登载的长篇小说[9],他一定会受累。但是夜里写文章,一忽便会天亮;一天不睡,三天都不能使精神恢复,我于是时常头痛。去找医生,他们总是皱紧了眉头叹口气。“三层楼书房”现在已放了一个床,我的表弟睡在里面,所以我除了寻书便不常去了。

事实上,我已不应当对我的书斋发什么牢骚,虽然不大,可是究竟容得下我。况且它们也不算对不起我[10],自从去年秋天搬到此地,真名假名的文章,将近十五万字了。

邵洵美(1906—1968),浙江余姚人,20世纪30年代上海文化界名人,为人热情豪爽,是中国现代文学史上卓有影响的诗人、作家、评论家、翻译家、出版家。1968年,他在“文化大革命”中不幸去世,后虽彻底平反,其名字和作品当今仍知者寥寥。所著《我的书斋生活》一文原载1935年6月20日《时代图书半月刊》第8卷第1期,现欣然将其译成英语(略有删节),以志缅怀。译者1945年住在上海,大学刚毕业,由同学介绍而认识邵先生,结为忘年之交,1946年夏出国前,曾多次随许国璋等两三位同龄人到淮海中路邵府作客,应是邵府丰富藏书的见证人。

[1]题目“我的书斋生活”可译为My Study或My Private Library,后者除“我的书斋”外,也可指“我的藏书”。

[2]“你们简直可以说,洵美是生活在书斋里的”可按“你们不妨把我称之为书呆子”译为You may as well call me a bookworm,其中may as well是成语,作“不妨”、“还不如”等解。又“生活在书斋里的”可用a bookworm表达,因英语bookworm也指:“在书斋埋头学习的人”。

[3]“我又不会用钢笔写文章”应按“砚台是我必需的,因我写文章只用毛笔,不会用钢笔”之意译为The inkstone is indispensable to me because I always use a writing brush instead of a pen in doing my writing。

[4]“买到了新书就随便放,看过了又随便丢”译为I lay aside casually new acquisitions as well as books I’ve just finished reading,其中把“随便放”、“随便丢”都译为lay aside casually,其中lay aside是成语,作“把……放在一边”解。“买到了新书”译为new acquisitions,本作“新获得物”解,在此指“新添置的书”或“新买的书”。

[5]“一半当然为了借这个机会可以写些大字,叫一做匾的人刻好了挂起来;一半也是为自己或是家人找书的时候容易辨别”未逐字直译,而采用意译法,以求简洁明了:partly for show and partly for convenience(一半为了装饰,一半为了方便)。

[6]“我却懒得花这种心思”可按“我却无心这样做”之意译为I have never been in a mood for doing the same。

[7]“因为我最明白编辑的痛苦,要二三千字我总肯为他赶写”译为They know that I, out of compassion for editors, will never decline to dash off an article of two to three thousand words,其中dash off是成语,作“匆忙完成”、“草草写下”解。

[8]“‘楼下书房’事实上又是会客间”可按“‘楼下书房’实际上是会客间兼书房”译为The“Downstairs Study”is in fact a drawing room-cum-study,其中cum是介词(一般用以构成复合词),作“兼作”解。因此,a drawing room-cum-study也可称之为“一个会客藏书的两用房间”。

[9]“分期登载的长篇小说”可译为a serialized novel或a novel to appear in instalments,a novel to be published in serial form等。

[10]“虽然不大,可是究竟容得下我。况且它们也不算对不起我……”可用意译法处里,把后两句合二为一,按“还过得去”、“尚好的”之意英译为Small as they are, they are tolerable或Though small, they serve my purpose fairly well。

My Private Library(Excerpt)

◎ Shao Xunmei

You may as well call me a bookworm. I have books everywhere in my home — in the drawing room and the bedroom, on either side of the staircase, and even in the bathroom on the third floor. So it’s next to impossible for me to point out exactly where my study is. Maybe it’s the room next to my bedroom. In the middle of it stands nothing but a desk piled high with lots of books so that there is practically no room for me to place my writing paper and the inkstone. The inkstone is indispensable to me because I always use a writing brush instead of a pen in doing my writing. I find the pen too slippery and moving a bit too fast, thus leaving little time for me to do more thinking. I prefer the writing brush because I can always keep pace with it. Though it sometimes may also move along a bit too fast, yet I can always catch up. There are only two armchairs in the room plus a bookcase holding my most favorite books, which are not to be borrowed by anybody. Hanging on the wall is a painting of narcissi done with light touches of ink imparting an air of moral superiority. Occasionally, while I am reading, I suddenly realize I’ll soon face penury. Then the painting will cheer me up with bright hopes. On several nights, I just sat in this room staring at it blankly.

The little room is about 5 meters in length and 3 meters in width. I keep all books on modern poetry there. When the bookcase is full, I put them on the desk. When the desk is full, I pile them up on the chairs. When the chairs are full, I pile them up on the floor. I never sort them out. I lay aside casually new acquisitions as well as books I’ve just finished reading. Consequently, it often takes me couple of hours to hunt down a book for reference when I am writing.

Generally speaking, with so many rooms for storing books, one will assign to each an elegant name, to be inscribed on a horizontal board hung above the door, partly for show and partly for convenience. I, nevertheless, have never been in a mood for doing the same. I just call the abovementioned room“Upstairs Study”, the room downstairs“Downstairs Study”and the bathroom on the third floor“Third-floor Study”.

Since I usually read and write at night, you’ll often find me sitting in the“Upstairs Study”because it is close to my bedroom. When I feel drowsy, I can easily reach my bed only a few steps away. But you’ll find me in the spacious“Downstairs Study”instead when I’m to spend the whole night writing. There I can cough or strike a match without disturbing my folks in their sleep. At daybreak, I will heat up milk for myself or walk to an alley on the opposite side of the street to buy some fried bean curd for breakfast — all done without making a nuisance of myself. I’m seldom at home in the daytime. But, I’ll start reading soon after I come back. Then I’ll be suddenly interrupted by phone calls from editor-friends asking for my contributions. They know that I, out of compassion for editors, will never decline to dash off an article of two to three thousand words.

At any rate, I’m inseparable from my library. But none of my three studies makes me feel comfortable except when I’m completely absorbed in reading or writing. My ideal study should be roomy enough for holding twenty bookcases and have air-conditioning. And there should be a large desk there with enough space for books and writing paper to be jumbled up in piles on either side and for writing brush, inkstone, writing paper and so on to be placed in the middle. This is of course nothing but my wishful thinking. I have neither money to own such a roomy study, nor talent for creating masterpieces. Nevertheless, the extravagant hope brings me consolation all the same. It’s sort of encouragement too.

But, anyway I can’t work efficiently in the daytime. The“Upstairs Study”is too much lit up by the sun, so that I get a headache after staying there a bit too long. And a thick window curtain would only make the room stuffy. The“Downstairs Study”is in fact a drawing room-cum-study. I have frequent visitors. When they call, I have to break off writing to the discomfort of both parties. I’m in the bad habit of finishing my article at one go like when I eat a meal. Once interrupted, I just can’t resume eating. Once, while writing an article on modern poetry, I was interrupted by a friend visiting. As a result, the article remains unfinished even today. Therefore, a newspaper editor would inevitably end up in trouble if he should entrust me with the job of writing a serialized novel for his supplement. But, when I write at night, the day seems to break sooner than I think. And one sleepless night will make me feel tired for three days on end and often suffer from a headache. When I go to see a doctor, he will just sigh with a frown. As to the“Third-floor Study”, a bed has now been placed there for my younger male cousin. So I seldom go there unless when I need a book.

In fact, I shouldn’t have complaints about my studies. Small as they are, they are tolerable. Since I moved to the present lodgings in the autumn of last year, I’ve produced writings, under my real name or a pseudonym, totaling about 150,000 words.

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