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【热门GRE人文知识拓展阅读】揭开简·奥斯汀的神秘面纱

2016年04月30日00:42 来源:小站整理
参与(17) 阅读(1937)
摘要:中国学生一向头疼GRE阅读部分。大量生词耗费考试时间不说,花了精力结果还是失分重头戏。ETS是出题方的黄金御用资料,因此要攻克GRE阅读,不能不每天看一篇。所以,就从今天开始吧!当日精选文章的主题内容是简·奥斯汀的成长历程。

She still fascinates 200 years after the publication of "Pride and Prejudice"

《傲慢与偏见》问世两百年后,她依然神秘撩人

“A LIFE of usefulness, literature, and religion, was not by any means a life of event,” wrote Henry Austen of his spinster sister Jane. This image of the sequestered author persisted for years. But contemporary scholars have reappraised “dear Aunt Jane” as an independent and worldly-wise woman who wielded a sardonic pen. She continues to fascinate, 200 years after the publication of “Pride and Prejudice”. This is the charm of a new biography from Paula Byrne, a British author, who breathes yet more life into Austen and her works by considering the objects that populated her days.

“她的一生虽裨益他人,与文学与宗教为伴,却并无白云苍狗,大起大伏。”简的哥哥亨利曾这样写道。多年以来,简的形象一直是终生未嫁,隐僻幽居。然而,当代学者开始重新审视这名“亲爱的奥斯汀姑姑”,把她看作一个深谙尘世智慧的独立女性,舞动着手中的讥讽之笔。《傲慢与偏见》问世两百年后,她依然神秘撩人——这份魅力同样延续到英国作家宝拉伯恩为奥斯汀所著的传记之中。在宝拉笔下,那个时代的流行物件,是通向奥斯汀生平及著作神秘之门的钥匙,展示出一个更加生气勃勃的简。

【热门GRE人文知识拓展阅读】揭开简·奥斯汀的神秘面纱图1

Each chapter is organised around a single thing. Some are Austen's possessions, such as a topaz cross she received from her brother. Others are simply from the period, such as a barouche (an upmarket carriage), which helps to illustrate how well-travelled she was and how transport indicates status in her novels. In “Northanger Abbey” Catherine Morland finds a trip in Henry Tilney's curricle erotic, whereas she is nonplussed by John Thorpe's gig. Broadly chronological, this thematic approach offers a revealing picture of Austen and a lively social history.

这本传记的每一章都围绕着一个单独的物件展开。有些是奥斯汀的私人收藏,例如她从哥哥那儿得到的一个托帕石十字架。其余的则是那个时代的流行品,例如四轮马车(一驾上等马车),足现她游历之广以及在她的作品中,交通工具对于身份的烘托。在《诺桑觉寺》里,凯瑟琳.莫兰觉得享利.蒂尔尼的二轮马车新奇诱人,面对约翰.索普的马车时却不知所措。这种主题式的记传方式,按时序徐徐展开一幅奥斯汀生平及其活跃的社会活动的长卷。

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Austen's formative years are the most interesting. Three vellum notebooks contain her “Juvenilia”—the stories and poems she wrote as a teenager. Her “greatest gifts are here in embryo”, writes Ms Byrne, clearly relishing Austen's satire and lack of restraint. The young author lampooned famous figures and offered parodies of sentimental novels. But she reserved her choicest words of wit for her sister Cassandra. When they were not living together they corresponded frequently, and Austen often tried out different voices—“gossipy, jokey, affectionate”—to make her laugh.

奥斯汀写作的成型期最耐人寻味。有三本羊皮纸笔记记录了她的“少女之作”——她在青少年时期写的故事与诗歌。宝拉很享受此时奥斯汀式的讥讽语调和无拘无束,她写道,她“无与伦比的天赋在此酝酿成型”。此时年轻的奥斯汀嘲讽当时鼎鼎有名的人物,戏仿那些多愁善感的小说。但是她最具智慧锋芒的字字珠玑却是散落在与其姊卡桑德拉的信件中。两人不住在一处时便频繁通信,而奥斯汀常常尝试不同的腔调——漫谈式的,玩笑式的,或是浪漫式的——来逗她发笑。

During this time the movements of family followed the flows of inheritance; a vexatious matter that drives Austen's narratives. Old maids and mothers were often housed by rich cousins; a child might be made heir to childless relatives. An East Indian shawl introduces Aunt Phila—who at 21 sailed to Bengal in order to find a husband—and her daughter, Eliza. A romantic figure, and presumably illegitimate, Eliza first married a man who fell under the guillotine in the French Revolution, and later married Austen's brother Henry. This coquettish cousin is fictionalised as Mary Crawford in “Mansfield Park”. Austen also drew on Henry's militia experience for her depiction of flirtatious redcoats in “Pride and Prejudice”. Her midshipman brothers helped inform references to the navy.

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在这段时期,因为继承的缘故,她不得不经常搬迁—这类烦心事反倒丰富了她的叙述内容。老姑娘和母亲总是寄居在有钱的侄子家中;孩子会成为膝下无子的亲戚的继承人。一条来自东印度的披肩引出了费拉阿姨—她在二十一岁时乘船到孟加拉寻找结婚对象——和她的女儿伊莱莎的故事。伊莱莎是个天性浪漫的私生女,她的先夫死于法国大革命的断头台上;后来她嫁给了奥斯汀的哥哥亨利。这个轻佻娇纵的嫂子后来成了她在《曼斯菲尔德庄园》里玛丽.克劳福德小姐的原型。亨利本人的军旅生涯也为她在《傲慢与偏见》中浮夸的“红制服”军人形象提供了素材。而她作做海军的兄弟们则提供了海军生活的第一手材料。

The book's liveliest passages are about city life and romance. Austen frequently visited London and lived in Bath for years. She was probably not a beauty—only one authenticated portrait exists (although Ms Byrne makes a strong case for another with uncertain provenance). But her wit and intelligence lured many a suitor. None of them stuck, but many are recalled with mirth in her letters. Austen was no prude. Her novels feature illicit liaisons and she gives Mary Crawford a sexually loaded naval joke about “Rears and Vices”. But she had high standards and a mortal fear of childbirth. She was all too aware of the way women either died during labour or “grew old by confinements and nursing”.

这本传记最轻快活泼的篇章描述了城市生活和浪漫故事。奥斯汀频繁造访伦敦并在巴斯寓居多年。她可能算不得一个美人—她的画像中只有一幅真迹存世(尽管宝拉坚信另一幅来历不明的画像也是真迹),但是她的机锋和智慧却吸引了许多追求者。无人获其芳心,成就美眷;然而在她的信件中,关于他们的回忆大多充满欢乐。奥斯汀并非严肃拘谨之人,她的小说写到过男女私通;玛丽.克劳福德就曾开过一个下流的海军玩笑 “臀部与罪恶”。不过她的确道德自律,且畏惧生产。她十分明白:有些女性会死于生产,或是在不断怀孕和持续哺乳中年华逝去。

Ms Byrne has an obvious affection for her subject. This book may offer few revelations, but it paints a fresh and vivid picture of an inimitable woman.

显而易见,宝拉对其传记对象—简奥斯汀—充满喜爱之情。这本书可能并无多少“惊人内幕”,但它无疑描绘出了这名独一无二的女性—血肉丰满,栩栩如生


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