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李国文《辫子和英国诗》英译

2015-07-16    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

李国文《辫子和英国诗》英译

辫子和英国诗

李国文

知道辜鸿铭这个名字的人,首先想到的,是他的那根在民国以后的北平知识界中,堪称独一无二的辫子。他在清廷,算是搞洋务的,按说是维新一派,但皇帝没了,他竟比遗老还要遗老,这也是只有他才能做出的怪行径了。那时的他,戴瓜皮帽,穿方马褂,顶红缨辫,穿双脸鞋,踱着四方步,出入北大校园,在红楼的课堂上,大讲英国诗,据说是当时的京城一景。

他在北大教书,学期开始的第一堂,叫学生翻开Page one(第一页),到学期结束,老先生走上讲台,还是Page one。书本对他来讲,是有也可,无也可的。他讲授英国诗,举例诗人作品,脱口而出,不假思索,如翻开诗集对照,一句也不会错的,其记忆力之惊人,使所有人,包括反对他的,也不得不折服。据女作家凌淑华回忆,辜鸿铭到了晚年,还能一字不移地当众背出上千行弥尔顿的《失乐园》,证明他确实是个非凡的天才。

在课堂上的他,挥洒自如,海阔天空,旁征博引,东南西北,那长袍马褂的样子,不免滑稽突梯,但他的学问却是使人敬佩的。他讲课时,幽默诙谐,淋漓尽致,嬉笑怒骂,皆成文章。用中文来回答英文问题,用英文来回答中文之问,间或又插入拉丁文,法文,德文,学识之渊博,阅历之广泛,见解之独到,议论之锋锐,,令问者只有瞠目结舌。因此,他的课极为卖座,课堂里总是挤坐得满满的。

他不仅是语言天才,也是精通中外的大师级的学者。那时候,这位老先生在东交民巷的六国饭店,用英文演讲他的《中国人的精神》,是要凭门票才能入内的。中国人演讲,从无卖票一说,老先生讲演,北京的外国人差不多都到场听讲的,因此他不但要卖票,而且票价还定得很昂贵,听一场要两块大洋。可当时听梅兰芳的戏,最贵的票才一元二角。他的学术讲座,比梅博士的《贵妃醉酒》还卖座,听众踊跃,座无虚席。

译文:

Chinese Pigtail and English Poetry

Li Guowen

For those who know the name Ku Hongming, the first thing that is associated with him is his pigtail, which was unique among the intellectual community in Beijing in the days after the founding of the Republic. In the Qing Court he was one of those engaged in foreign affairs and should be counted among the reformists. Yet when the emperor was gone, he turned out to be even more loyal than the loyalists. Only he was capable of this kind of weird behavior. At that time he strolled into and out of the Peking University campus, trailing a pigtail plaited with a red ribbon, wearing a skullcap, a square mandarin jacket and a pair of double-faced traditional Chinese shoes. He lectured with great eloquence on English poetry in a classroom in the Red Building. This was said to be one of the interesting spectacles the capital had to offer.

In the first class of the term during his lectures at Peking University he would ask the students to open the book at page one; at the end of term when he stepped onto the platform, he would still ask the students to open the book at page one. For him, textbooks were not really necessary. In his lectures on English poetry, he would cite poets and their works from memory without hesitation. If you checked the quote, you wouldn’t find a single line misquoted. His amazing memory overwhelmed everyone, including those who opposed him. As the woman writer Ling Shuhua recalled, even in his old age Ku Hongming was able to recite over a thousand lines of Milton’s Paradise Lost flawlessly in front of a large audience. Clearly, he was indeed an extraordinary genius.

In class he was completely at home with his lectures, covering a broad range of topics and citing all kinds of sources. His long gown and mandarin jacket made him look comical, but his academic achievements were admirable. His lectures were humorous, penetrating and thorough, turning jokes, ridicule, rage and even curses into beautiful discourse. He answered English questions in Chinese, and Chinese questions in English, sometimes switching to Latin, French or German. The breadth and depth of his knowledge, the broad range of his experience, the originality of his point of view, and the sharpness of his remarks simply astounded the questioners. Because of this, his lectures were extremely popular and the classroom was always fully packed.

He was not only a linguistic genius but also a master scholar well versed in both Chinese and foreign literature. He used to give lectures in English on “The Chinese Spirit” at Liuguo [literally ‘six nations’] Hotel in Dong Jiaomin Xiang. Admission to his lectures was by tickets only, making him the first Chinese lecturer to charge admission for his talks. Nearly all the foreigners in Beijing would attend Mr Ku’s lectures, therefore he not only sold tickets, but sold them at a very high price—two silver dollars per lecture. By contrast, the most expensive tickets for Mei Lanfang’s Peking opera cost only one yuan and twenty cents. Yet the tickets for his academic lectures sold even better than those for “The Drunken Beauty” played by Dr. Mei, with the lecture hall always packed with an enthusiastic audience.

(国华 译)



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