季羡林《我和北大图书馆》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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我和北大图书馆

◎ 季羡林

我对北大图书馆有一种特殊的感情,这种感情潜伏在我的内心深处,从来没有明确地意识到过。最近图书馆的领导同志要我写一篇讲图书馆的文章,我连考虑都没有,立即一口答应。但我立刻感到有点吃惊。我现在事情还是非常多的,抽点时间,并非易事。[1]为什么竟立即答应下来了呢?如果不是心中早就蕴藏着这样一种感情的话,能出现这种情况吗?[2]

山有根,水有源,我这种感情的根源由来已久了。

1946年,我从欧洲回国。去国将近11年,在落叶满长安(长安街也)的深秋季节,又回到了北平。在北大工作,内心感情的波动是难以形容的,既兴奋,又寂寞;既愉快,又惆怅。[3]然而我立刻就到了一个可以安身立命的地方[4],这就是北大图书馆。当时我单身住在红楼,我的办公室(东语系办公室)是在灰楼。图书馆就介乎其中。承当时图书馆的领导特别垂青[5],在图书馆里给了我一间研究室,在楼下左侧。窗外是到灰楼去的必由之路。经常有人走过,不能说是很清静。但是在图书馆这一面,却是清静异常。我的研究室左右,也都是教授研究室,当然室各有主,但是颇少见人来。所以走廊里静如古寺,真是念书写作的好地方。我能在奔波数万里扰攘十几年,有时梦想得到一张一尺见方的书桌而渺不可得[6]的情况下,居然有了一间窗明几净的研究室,简直如坐天堂,如享天福了[7]。

研究室的真正要害[8]还不在窗明几净——当然,这也是必要的,而在有没有足够的书。在这一点上,我也得到了意外的满足。图书馆的领导允许我从书库里提一部分必要的书,放在我的研究室里,供随时查用[9]。我当时是东语系的主任,虽然系非常小,没有多少学生[10],但是,仍然有一些会要开,一些公要办,所以也并不太闲。可是我一有机会,就遁入我的研究室去,“躲进小楼成一统”,这地方是我的天下。[11]我一进屋,就能进入角色,潜心默读,坐拥书城[12],其乐实在是不足为外人道也。我回国以后,由于资料缺乏,在国外时的研究工作,无法进行,只能有多大碗,吃多少饭,找一些可以发挥自己的长处而又有利于国计民生的题目,来进行研究。北大图书馆藏书甲全国大学,我需要的资料基本上能找得到,因此还能够写出一些东西来。如果换一个地方,我必如车辙中的鲋鱼那样[13],什么书也看不到,什么文章也写不出。

作为全国最高学府的北京大学,我们有悠久的爱国主义的革命历史传统,有实事求是的学术传统,这些都是难能可贵的,但是,我认为,一个第一流的大学,必须有第一流的设备、第一流的图书、第一流的教师、第一流的学者和第一流的管理。五个第一流,缺一不可。我们北大可以说具备这五个第一流的。因此,我们有充分的基础,可以来弘扬祖国的优秀文化,为我国四化建设培养德才兼备的人才,对外为祖国争光,对内为人民立功。在这五个第一流中,第一流的图书更显得特别突出。北大图书馆是全国大学图书馆的翘楚。这是世人之公言,非我一个之私言。我们为此应该感到骄傲,感到幸福。

但是,我们全校师生员工却不能躺在这个骄傲上、这个幸福上睡大觉。我们必须努力学习,努力工作,像爱护自己的眼球一样,爱护北大,爱护北大的一草一木、一山一石,爱护我们的图书馆。我们图书馆的藏书盈架充栋,然而我们应该知道,一部一册来之不易,一页一张得之维艰。我们全体北大人必须十分珍惜爱护。这样,我们的图书馆才能有长久的生命,我们的骄傲与幸福才有坚实的基础。愿与全校同仁共勉之。

《我和北大图书馆》是我国著名教授、学者、散文家、翻译家季羡林(1911—2009)写于1991年的一篇散文。酷爱书籍,乃文人学者本色,作者私人书斋藏书几万册,1946年入北大工作,视藏书甲全国大学的北大图书馆为安身立命的地方,“书城”使他“忘记了尘世的一切不愉快的事情,怡然自得”,得以毕生潜心搞学问,笔耕不辍。他的散文文思畅快,平实自然,言简意赅,真切动人。

[1]“但我立刻感到有点吃惊。我现在事情还是非常多的,抽点时间,并非易事”可按“我立刻对自己的轻率允诺感到吃惊,因为我有许多事要办,很难抽出时间”译为Nevertheless, immediately afterwards, I felt a bit surprised at the rash promise I had made, for, with already too many irons in the fire, I could hardly have time to spare,其中rash作“仓促作出的”、“轻率的”解,是译文中的添加词,原文虽无其词而有其意。又,too many irons in the fire是常用英语成语,作“同时有许多事要做”解。又,I could hardly have time to spare作“我几乎抽不出时间”解,意同“抽点时间,并非易事”。

[2]“如果不是心中早就蕴藏着这样一种感情的话,能出现这种情况吗?”译为Could I have done that had it not been for my deep-seated affection for the University library?,其中had it not been for为虚拟条件从句if it had not been for的倒装(省略if),也可改用but for表达。原文从句也可译为without my deep-seated affection for the University library。

[3]“在北大工作,内心感情的波动是难以形容的,既兴奋,又寂寞;既愉快,又惆怅”可按“初到北大,内心感情……”译为My first days at Peking University found myself experiencing an indescribable mixed feeling of both elation and loneliness, and both joy and gloom。

[4]“然而我立刻就到了一个可以安身立命的地方……”译为Fortunately, I soon found a place where I could settle down to a tranquil life and get on with my work …,其中Fortunately是译文中的添加词,原文虽无其词而有其意,在文中也起到承上启下的作用。

[5]“承当时图书馆的领导特别垂青……”可按“承图书馆馆长(管理人员)的照顾……”译为Thanks to the thoughtfulness of the curator …。

[6]“有时梦想得到一张一尺见方的书桌而渺不可得”译为sometimes with the vain dream of getting a small desk of my own,其中把“有时梦想……而渺不可得”(意即“有时妄想得到”)译为sometimes with the vain dream of getting …。又“一尺见方的”意即“小型的”,故译为small。

[7]“简直如坐天堂,如享天福了”不宜直译,可按“我多么喜出望外啊!”译为Imagine how overwhelmed with joy I was …。

[8]“真正要害”可按“真正重要”译为What really mattered(或counted)。

[9]“供随时查用”意即“以便查用”故译为for easy reference。

[10]“系非常小,没有多少学生”可译为the said Department was relatively small with not too many students,但不如the said Department had a relatively small enrollment简洁。

[11]“可是我一有机会,就遁入我的研究室,‘躲进小楼成一统’,这地方是我的天下。”译为In spite of that, I would withdraw at the first opportunity to my research room to enjoy the privacy of a place all to myself, a place where I was my own master,其中at the first(或earliest) opportunity是成语,意同as soon as possible,用来表达“一有机会”。

[12]“我一进入屋,就能进入角色,潜心默读,坐拥书城”译为As soon as I entered the room, I began to live my part as an avid reader sitting among a roomful of books,其中把“进入角色”译为to live my part,此乃英语成语,其意思是:淋漓尽致地扮演一种角色。

[13]“如车辙中的鲋鱼那样”来自典故“涸辙之鲋”,可译为like a fish stranded in a dry rut。

Peking University Library and I

◎ Ji Xianlin

I cherish a particular affection for Peking University Library — an affection that has hidden deep in my heart without my knowledge. Therefore, recently when the curator asked me to write an article on the library, I readily agreed without any hesitation. Nevertheless, immediately afterwards, I felt a bit surprised at the rash promise I had made, for, with already too many irons in the fire, I could hardly have time to spare. What had made me give the promise? Could I have done that had it not been for my deep-seated affection for the University library?

Every tree has its roots and every river its source. My deep affection for the University library has an origin of long standing.

In 1946, I returned to China after staying in Europe for about eleven years. When I arrived in Peiping, it was late autumn, with Chang’an Street strewn with fallen leaves. My first days at Peking University found myself experiencing an indescribable mixed feeling of both elation and loneliness, and both joy and gloom. Fortunately, I soon found a place where I could settle down to a tranquil life and get on with my work, that is, Peking University Library. At that time, I lived alone at the Red Building and my office, the office of the Oriental Languages Department, was in the Gray Building. And the University library was situated in-between. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of the curator, I was allotted a research room in the library, on the left side of its ground floor. It was a bit noisy out of the window due to a passage alongside the building, which was the only way leading to the Gray Building. But it was very quiet in the library itself though. Around me were also research rooms belonging to other professors, but I seldom saw them. So it was all quiet in the corridor, like in an ancient temple. It was an ideal place for doing studies and writing indeed. Imagine how overwhelmed with joy I was to have a bright research room complete with a desk after spending more than a decade rushing about from place to place sometimes with the vain dream of getting a mere small desk of my own!

To me, however, what really mattered in a research room were not bright windows and clean desks, which were of course also indispensable, but sufficient books. Now I had my wish unexpectedly gratified. I was given permission from the curator to equip my research room with necessary books for easy reference taken direct from the stack rooms. As head of the Department of Oriental Languages, I was busy with meetings and official duties although the said Department had a relatively small enrollment. In spite of that, I would withdraw at the first opportunity to my research room to enjoy the privacy of having a place all to myself, a place where I am my own master. As soon as I entered the room, I began to live my part as an avid reader sitting among a roomful of books. The great pleasure I enjoyed at the moment was beyond description. Upon my return to China, I had to discontinue, for lack of reference materials, the research I had been doing abroad. I had to adapt to the new circumstances by working only on themes most familiar to me and having direct bearing on national economy and the people’s livelihood. As Peking University Library boasted the largest collection of books of all university libraries in the country, I was able to write with materials available to me. Otherwise, with no access to books I needed, I would have accomplished nothing at all, like a fish stranded in a dry rut.

As one of the highest institutes of learning in the country, Peking University has a long history of revolutionary patriotism as well as an academic tradition of seeking truth from facts. All that is praiseworthy. However, in my opinion, a first-rate university should have facilities, teaching staff, scholars and administration of the best quality. Peking University certainly meets the requirement in the five respects. We of this University are, therefore, fully qualified for the job of carrying forward the splendid cultural heritage of our nation and training people of ability and virtue for our country’s modernization drive, thereby winning honor for our country and rendering meritorious service to our people. Our library, in particular, is playing an important role. We are proud and happy that it has been generally acknowledged as the best university library in the country.

Nevertheless, we teachers, students and all employees should not be satisfied with the success we have already won. We should study and work hard, and cherish, as we do our eyes, our university and everything in it, including its library. We should treasure its rich collection and take good care of each and every copy of the books therein, so that it can long survive intact and forever remain as something for us to be proud of and happy about. Let us encourage each other in our common endeavors.

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