现代英文选评注 | A World of Glass 玻璃世界 William Sansom

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本文作者威廉·山森(William Sansom,1912 – 1976)是英国当代作家,据New World Writing, 4th Selection介绍,山森七岁即开始写作,第一篇作品于三十岁时始发表。曾服务银行,正式写作之外,在音乐(作曲,弹奏钢琴)、电影(编剧)、广播(编排节目)各界均曾干过,可称多才多艺。曾获奖多次,并为英国皇家文学会会员(Fellow of Royal Society of Literature)。

本文选自山森短篇小说集The Passionate North(1953),其开首几节,可作游记文字读,现摘录介绍如下。山森文字华丽,想象丰富,描写景物,倾全力以赴,能使读者如身历其境。尤妙在情境相生,内外交融,此处虽未能将全文录下,但短短数段,似已不同凡响,于写景之外,似另有一番意境,非但能忠实描写,实能境界独创,发人所未发者也。

We began at Oslo. Throughout the day, we mounted through long Norway, from slush to snow, from snow to deeper snow, proceeding both up the map and onto higher ground.

  • Oslo:挪威首都,在挪威南部。本文主角叙坐火车自南往北旅行。mounted:上行,从下往上或从低处行往高处。long Norway:挪威形势狭长。
  • slush:半融之雪。挪威南部气候此时恐尚温和,雪不能积,多成雪水;稍北则见雪,愈北雪愈厚。proceeding:行进。地图上的路程是从下往上,事实上地势也是愈走愈高。

From the warm, almost the hot carriage it was invigorating and fresh to watch the snow. No fierce peaks and sharp summits to disturb a gentle skyline, but instead a good rolling of high distant hills that swam around the wide perspective with a rise and fall of waves: often these were fir-capped, when the snow-back stood fringed against the sky with short rich bristles.

  • carriage:火车车厢。invigorating自vigor一字衍化而来:增添精神。车内温暖,几乎令人难受(hot指高于体温之热度,为人身所难受),望窗外雪景,则使人精神徒增,神清气爽。
  • 地平线上之景物,其线条轮廓(skyline)大致和缓,并无奇峰(fierce peaks)峻岭,矗立突出。纵目四望,天地辽阔(wide perspective),远远高山,升降起伏,犹如波涛滚滚(rolling)在四周环绕浮动(swam)焉。
  • fir-capped:山上植有枞树,如为枞树所覆盖。snow-back:山如卧伏地上,其背部皆雪。fringe:织物边缘上之须头。山上皆有树,看来周围似乎有密集短刺。against the sky:以天空为陪衬。

By midday we had passed through the skiing country, where, apart from the beauty of the snow, there was at certain stations a spirit of festivity as red-capped skiers left the train and sought sleighs to take them out to their snowy places of holiday.

  • skiing country:滑雪地区。stations:火车站。spirit of festivity:办喜事那样的高兴。red-capped:戴红帽的(红帽子想是滑雪家的“行头”)。sleigh:雪橇,雪车。那些来滑雪度假的客人,下火车之后,再坐雪车转往滑雪胜地。

But some time after that the real country began, the skies changed, a frozen magnificence charged the air with a peculiar magic. Great lakes appeared, ice-bound, their miles to the horizon furred with snow. Icicles as thick as tree trunks hung their green glow from rock ledges, and where waterfalls had been struck solid they hung in rows like monstrous teeth. Over everything the far gleaming sun and its greening sky played strange tricks of transparency.

  • after that:过了滑雪地区之后。the real country:真正的原野景色,少见人工建设,多见天然之美。skies:天空(常用复数形式)。frozen magnificence两字言简意赅。可供有志炼字者之参考:magnificence言宇宙之大与景物之壮丽,添frozen,则言天凝地冻,一片冰雪。两字联用,颇见巧思,然甚难翻译。
  • charged:充电,充塞。冰雪壮丽,不过有形之物,作者文思更进一步,从有形推至无形,无形者,空气(air)也,气氛也。有形之美影响及于无形之气,使空气里都充满了某种神秘之感。
  • ice-bound:为冰所封。their miles to the horizon:湖面开阔,无际无涯,直接天外(horizon),计程当不止数里;湖面全部积雪均如茸毛(furred)。
  • Icicles:冰柱。trunks:树干。ledges:山崖突出处。此句本来说Icicles as thick as tree trunks hung from rock ledges就够,但作者于hung之后加上their green glow(明润绿光)三字,按文法,glow是 hung的宾语;按实际,green glow就是主语icicles;绿光不能下垂,下垂者仍是冰柱;唯添此三字之后,冰柱形态乃更见生动。
  • where waterfalls had been struck solid:瀑布受寒冻结之处。瀑布此时业已冻结。故动词用过去完成式。struck solid二字,其声其义,都很显硬性力量,此处用来,较之用frozen胜过多多。
  • gleaming:光线微弱的。greening sky之greening一字乃现在分词,从动词green变来,但动词green可以“及物”,也可以“不及物”;如不及物,则意谓“本身渐渐转绿”,如及物,则意谓“使别的东西成为绿色”,此处当以作不及物动词较妥。played tricks:耍花样,施法术。日光惨淡,自远处照来,天空似亦渐呈绿色,日色天光,相互为用,凡照射所及,皆起种种奇妙透明作用。transparency:透明。日光当不能使不透明者成为透明,但万物皆已多为冰雪所覆,经奇妙光线照射,斯乃彩色奇丽,变化多端矣。

Such a sun! It hung and traveled all day on the horizon so low that losing heat it grew in complement larger—it gleamed more than shone. It gleamed like a force of great candle-power over the wide land, turning the snow to lavender and pink, greening the icicles and greening the sky; and the sky itself receded infinitely, it became more transparent than itself, it provoked in its pale green a visible sense of infinity.

  • 挪威地近北极,太阳与我人在温带热带等地所习见者不同,本段以一惊叹短句开始。
  • low:太阳走不到天当中去,整天只在离地平线不远处巡行。根据经验,太阳于甫出或将落之际,离地平线近、不甚热、看来甚大,本文中所叙太阳,则是整天如此。losing heat it grew large:热虽不足,而形体变大。in complement:作为补充(似乎以形体之大,补足其热之丧失)。
  • so…that是连接词。
  • 日光照耀,本来应该用shone一字,但这里的太阳不能说是shone,只好说是gleam:与其说是照耀,不如说是微露弱光而已。
  • a force of great candle-power:烛光(光度之单位)甚强之灯。
  • lavender and pink:浅紫淡红,此句即照应上段的strange tricks。日光所照之处,积雪成为浅紫粉红,冰柱成为绿色,天空亦为绿色。
  • receded:后退。infinitely:无限地。天空无限地往后撤退,足见高旷。it became more transparent than itself颇费解,it指“天空”,itself亦是“天空”,天空本来是透明的,现在受日光影响,看来较往常更为明澈。provoked:引起。sense of infinity:高旷无限的感觉。visible:可以肉眼观察得之。

Yet this was no true arctic sun—although we were traveling near to the polar circle: it shone not on a barren land, but on a snow-laden gentle place rich with cream-colored birch and black fir. On such country its low long beam cast everything into a strange clearness—in the same way, though a thousand times clarified, that a lowering sun on a summer’s day clears and stills the air just before evening. Everything seemed set in glass, transplendent, motionlessly clear.

  • arctic:北极的。polar circle:(北)极圈。barren land:荒地。如在北极,则草木不生,一片荒凉,挪威树木甚多,非荒芜不毛之地,气象平和(gentle),亦无凄厉之状。birch:桦树。
  • beam:光线,日光斜照,各物显得特别清晰。在温带国家,夏日黄昏日落之前,空气似更觉清澈宁静,今挪威情况亦复类此,唯清晰更胜千倍耳。
  • set(过去分词):安放。各物如置玻璃之中,纹丝不动,明净耀目。transplendent为罕见之字,解作very resplendent(十分光亮)。(按:此句上应题意。)

So the day passed as we steamed on through the snows, higher ever north. The sun set early. Then the light was gone, the snows were gray—and soon after we ran into a blizzard. Now from the warm and easy carriage nothing was to be seen: only the drive of snow hailing by, and the white steam and smoke of the forward engine driven down past the windows by the weight of the wind.

  • steamed:坐火车进行(火车借蒸汽发动)。higher ever north:愈北则地势愈高。
  • blizzard:大风雪。
  • drive of snow:雪风猛扑。hailing by:势如冰雹,在窗外吹过。

We steamed out of the blizzard into clear cloud-high height. A hidden moon shone a starshine light over the snow, giving to things mysterious visibility but no exact shape. Then the train passed the last station, and curled round towards Trondheim. A grinding of iron brakes, a jolt of luggage, and the train came expiring its last steam to a halt. Outside, a babel of fresh faces to receive us the stiff and weary.

  • cloud-high height:与云高相齐之高地。mysterious visibility:神秘的可视性。but no exact shape:朦胧可见,疑真疑幻,形体模糊。
  • curled round:盘旋而行。Trondheim:挪威中部海港。
  • brakes:煞车;grinding:磨擦(动作或声音)。jolt:晃动。luggage:行李。连用两个不定冠词“a”——煞车这么“克拉”一煞,行李这么来回一晃,很能表示停车一刹那间的情形。expiring:吐气。came to a halt:停止。
  • babel:嘈杂混乱的景象(原出《旧约·创世纪》十一章一节至九节)。stiff:(四肢)僵硬。跋涉一天之后,目的地已到,旅客个个身乏骨直,车外喧哗以迎者,皆“生人面孔”也。

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