胡适《乐观看中国》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

朗读这篇文章

AN OPTIMIST LOOKS AT CHINA

By Hu Shih

AN OPTIMIST LOOKS AT CHINA, by Hu Shih, in the Asia Magazine, March 1935.

Hu Shih,胡适(1891-1962), China’s best-known scholar and teacher.

It is in the direction of abolishing the numerous evils of the old tradition that China has achieved the greatest success in the past few decades. She has successfully prohibited the foot-binding which has been a terrible curse to Chinese womanhood for at least a thousand years. The hereditary absolute monarchy has been overthrown, and with it are gone all those institutions which for centuries have been its paraphernalia: the imperial household with its unlimited number of wives and concubines, the institution of eunuchism, the parasitic nobility born to power, and many others. With the revision of Chinese law and the reform of legal procedure, the ancient tortures and inhuman punishments were abolished. The opening of new schools marked the disappearance of the mechanical and exacting form of literary composition, known as the Octopartite, which had been required as the standard form in all state examinations, and for the mastery of which the best years and energies of the whole educated class of the past six centuries had been sacrificed.

These are a few of the more fundamental departures from the old tradition. They are not merely isolated items of reform; they are indicators of fundamental changes in attitudes toward the most important phases of life. The binding of women’s feet, for example, was not merely an isolated institution of extreme cruelty and brutality, but also the clear and undeniable evidence of a general attitude toward womanhood which ten centuries of native religion and moral philosophy had failed to condemn and rectify. The abolition of foot-binding, therefore, is not merely the passing away of an inhuman institution, but an indication of the coming of an entirely new attitude toward womanhood. In that sense, it is veritably a moral revolution.

This revolution with regard to womanhood, which began with the agitation of Christian missionaries against foot-binding, has been going on all these years. It includes the opening of schools for girls, the gradual spread of coeducation in practically all universities and colleges, the entrance of women into professional and even official life, the recognition under the new Civil Code of their equal rights to inherit property with their brothers, and the rapid changes in the law and custom concerning marriage and divorce. The revolution is far from completion; but it has already achieved in a few decades what twenty-five centuries of Confucianist humanitarianism and twenty centuries of Buddhist mercy had never dreamed of achieving. May we not call this a great progress?

Notes

decades. A decade is a ten-year period.

prohibited, prevented or forbade the practice of foot-binding.

curse, a thing whose effects are disastrous.

a thousand years. When was foot-binding introduced?

hereditary absolute monarchy, a government where all authority was in the hands of an emperor who, when he died, passed the power over to a successor, most usually his eldest son.

overthrown, cast out from power; put an end to.

centuries. One hundred years make a century.

paraphernalia, accessories, institutions which have grown up with and have been closely allied with the hereditary absolute monarchy; odds and ends of equipment that went along with that system of government.

the imperial household, the domestic establishment of the emperor.

concubines, secondary wives.

eunuchism. A eunuch is a castrated male person, originally as one in charge of a harem or employed in a palace as a chamberlain or manager. Eunuchism is the practice of instituting such persons.

parasitic nobility, the class of nobles who by birth or rank inherit certain privileges which Dr. Hu Shih claims they do not deserve and ought not have. Because these nobles have a living which they do not have to labor for, because these nobles live on the fat of the land merely because they are nobles and without having to work for that living, Dr. Hu calls them parasites, animals living in or on other animals from which they draw their nutriment or food.

revision, changing by amending or correcting.

legal procedure, mode of conducting matters in a law court.

exacting, demanding strictly correct observance of certain rules.

Octopartite, consisting of eight parts. The 八股 is referred to here, in which the candidate, after introducing his theme, must treat it in four paragraphs, each consisting of two members, made up of an equal number of words and sentences. The theme was always chosen from the Four Books (四书) or the Five Classics (五经). The writer could not express any opinion of his own or at variance with those opinions expressed by Chu Hsi and his school. This form of evil was instituted by the Emperor T‘ai Tsu of the Ming dynasty in 1371.

past six centuries, since 1371.

sacrificed, given up for. The educated class had given up everything else, had not done anything else, because they had to prepare for this particular form of state examination.

departures, going away; deviations from; setting out on a course of action different from that of the past.

isolated items of reform, items of improvement or change for the better that stand apart or are not connected with other changes. Dr. Hu claims that all these changes are not unconnected.

indicators, indications or signs that show or point out.

rectify, make or set right; correct from a wrong, erroneous, or false state; amend.

veritably, truly; deserving the name apart from all exaggeration.

co-education, joint education, especially of both sexes in the same institution.

Confucianist humanitarianism. Confucius (551-478 B.C.) was concerned with human (not divine) interests; hence his doctrine may be called humanitarianism. Confucius taught 仁义道德.

Buddhist mercy. Gautama Buddha (557-480 B.C.) founded Buddhism on the doctrine of mercy (慈悲). Buddhism came into our country in the year 68 A.D., during the reign of Ming Ti of the Later Han dynasty (后汉明帝).

Questions

  1. In what direction has China achieved the greatest success in the past few decades?
  2. What are the departures from the old tradition indicating of?
  3. What does the revolution in regard to womanhood include?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《乐观看中国》,作者胡适,1935年3月载于《亚细亚杂志》。

【作者简介】

胡适(1891—1962),中国最著名的学者和教师之一。

乐观看中国

过去数十年间,中国在抛弃很多传统恶习方面取得了巨大成功。中国已成功废除缠足。要知道,至少一千年来,缠足一直是中国妇女可怕的梦魇。世代沿袭的君主专制制度已经被推翻,与之相关的整个体系也随之瓦解:妻妾成群的皇室、太监、生来就拥有特权并靠他人供养的贵族等等,都已不复存在。随着中国法律的修订和法律程序的改革,古代的酷刑和非人性的惩罚措施已得到废止。新式学校的开放,标志着“八股文”这种机械严苛的写作形式已经消失。所有的科举考试都曾以八股文为标准。过去六百年以来,为了精通八股文,整个受教育阶层浪费了最美好、最具活力的年华。

上述改革只是其中的一小部分,都是对旧传统更为深刻的背离。它们绝不仅是孤立的变革,更显示了人们在对重要人生阶段的态度上的根本转变。例如,妇女缠足,不仅是极端残忍和野蛮的陋习,还清晰而确凿地证明了对待妇女的普遍态度。上千年来,中国的宗教和道德哲学并未对此予以谴责和纠正。因此,废止缠足,不仅仅意味着废止了一项残忍的陋习,还预示着一种对待妇女的全新态度正在形成。从这个意义上讲,这是一次真正的道德革命。

这场关于妇女的革命源自基督教传教士发起的反缠足运动。近年来,该运动一直在持续,包括:开设女校,几乎所有大学和学院都逐渐建立了男女同校制度,妇女开始就业甚至从政,新民法承认女性拥有与其兄弟同等的继承权,与婚姻和离异相关的法律和风俗也发生了迅速的变化。这场革命远未结束,但是在过去数十年间取得的成就却是两千五百多年倡导仁义道德的儒家和两千年来倡导慈悲为怀的佛家所没有想到的。我们能不称之为巨大的进步吗?

 

(彭萍 译)

未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 胡适《乐观看中国》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

赞 (0)