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Arthur Clutton Brock - The Cardinal Virtue of Prose 汉译

2014-05-09    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

The Cardinal Virtue of Prose

-Arthur Clutton Broc

Prose of its very nature is longer than verse, and the virtues peculiar to it manifest themselves gradually. If the cardinal virtue of poetry is love, the cardinal virtue of prose is justice; and, whereas love makes you act and speak on the spur of the moment, justice needs inquiry, patience and a control even of the noblest passions. By justice, here I do not mean justice only to particular people or ideas, but a habit of justice in all processes of thought, a style tranquillized and a form moulded by that habit. The master of prose is not cold, but he will not let any word or image inflame him with a heat irrelevant to his purpose. Unhasting, unresting, he pursues it, subduing all the riches of his mind to it, rejecting all beauties that are not germane to it; making his own beauty out of the very accomplishment of it, out of the whole work and its proportions, so that you must read to the end before you know that it is beautiful. But he has his reward, for his is trusted and convinces, as those who are at the mercy of their own eloquence do not; and he gives a pleasure all the greater for being hardly noticed. In the best prose, whether narrative or argument, we are so led on as we read, that we do not stop to applaud the writer, nor do we stop to question him.

散文最重要的品质

阿瑟·克拉顿-布罗克

散文,就其本质而言,比韵文篇幅长,而且,其特有的品质是逐渐展现出来的。如果说诗最重要的品质是爱,散文最重要的品质是合理。并且,尽管“爱”使你因一时冲动而行动、而抒发,“合理”则需要调查,需要耐心,需要控制即使是最崇高的激情。关于合理,我不是指只针对具体人或具体思想的合理,而是指在思想的全过程中的一种合理的习惯,一种由此习惯所形成的沉稳的文风和由此习惯所造就的形式。散文大师并不冷漠,但他也不允许那些满含激情,但又与他的初衷毫不相干的词语或形象来激发他的感情。他不慌不忙、永不停止地追求着,克制着脑子里丰富的思想活动,摒弃所有与之无关的美,从完成的作品之中,从作品的整体和各部分之间和谐的关系里,去创造自己的美,因此,你必须把作品读完,才能知道它是美的。可是,他享有自己的报偿,因为他取得人们的信任,他令人信服,正向那些单靠显弄雄辩的人们得不到这一报偿,道理是一样的。而且,他不露声色,这反而能给人更大的愉悦。我们在阅读最好的散文时,无论是叙事的还是说理的,是在情不自禁地一直读下去,而不会停下来向作者欢呼,也不会停下来向作者发问。

(刘士聪 译)



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