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【名人家书】弗朗西斯菲茨杰拉德致女儿

2015-05-18    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

【名人家书】弗朗西斯菲茨杰拉德致女儿

弗朗西斯•菲茨杰拉德(1896-1940),美国小说家。1896年9月24日生于明尼苏达州圣保罗市,父亲是家具商。他读完高中后考入普林斯顿大学,年轻时尝试写过剧本,1920年出版了长篇小说《人间天堂》,由此成名。小说出版后,他与吉姗尔达结婚。婚后携妻寄居巴黎,结识了安德逊、海明威等多位美国作家。1925年《了不起的盖茨比》问世,奠定了他在现代美国文学史上的地位,菲茨杰拉德成了20年代“爵士时代”的发言人和“迷惘的一代”的代表作家之一。他的主要作品还有《夜色温柔》(1934)和《最后一个巨商》(1941)。他的小说生动地反映了20年代“美国梦”的破灭,展示了大萧条时期美国上层社会“荒原时代”的精神面貌。菲茨杰拉德成名后继续笔耕不辍。1940年12月21日心脏病暴发,死于洛杉矶,年仅44岁。

Dearest Scottie,
I don't think I will be writing letters many more years and I wish you would read this letter twice—bitter as it may seem. You will reject it now, but at a later period some of it may come back to you as truth. When I'm talking to you, you think of me as an older person, an “authority”, and when I speak of my own youth what I say becomes unreal to you—for the young can't believe in the youth of their fathers. But perhaps this little bit will be understandable if I put it in writing.
When I was your age I lived with a great dream. The dream grew and I learned how to speak of it and make people listen. Then the dream divided one day when I decided to marry your mother after all, even though I knew she was spoiled and meant no good to me. I was sorry immediately I had married her but, being patient in those days, made the best of it and got to love her in another way. You came along and for a long time we made quite a lot of happiness out of our lives. But I was a man divided—she wanted me to work too much for her and not enough for my dream. She realized too late that work was dignity, and the only dignity, and tried to atone for it by working herself, but it was too late and she broke and is broken forever.
It was too late also for me to recoup the damage—I had spent most of my resources, spirit and material, on her, but I struggled on for five years till my health collapsed, and all I cared about was drink and forgetting.
The mistake I made was marrying her. We belonged to different worlds—she might have been happy with a kind simple man in a southern garden. She didn't have the strength for the big stage—sometimes she pretended, and pretended beautifully, but she didn't have it. She was soft when she should have been hard, and hard when she should have been yielding. She never knew how to use her energy—she's passed that failing on to you.
For a long time I hated her mother for giving her nothing in the line of good habit—nothing but “getting by” and conceit. I never wanted to see again in this world women who were brought up as idlers. And one of my chief desires in life was to keep you from being that kind of person, one who brings ruin to themselves and others. When you began to show disturbing signs at about fourteen, I comforted myself with the idea that you were too precocious socially and a strict school would fix things. But sometimes I think that idlers seem to be a special class for whom nothing can be planned, plead as one will with them—their only contribution to the human family is to warm a seat at the commontable.
My reforming days are over, and if you are that way I don't want to change you. But I don't want to be upset by idlers inside my family or out. I want my energies and my earnings for people who talk my language.
 I have begun to fear that you don't. You don't realize that what I am doing here is the last tired effort of a man who once did something finer and better. There is not enough energy, or call it money, to carry anyone who is dead weight and I am angry and resentful in my soul when I feel that I am doing this. People like—and your mother must be carried because their illness makes them useless. But it is a different story that you have spent two years doing no useful work at all, improving neither your body nor your mind, but only writing reams and reams of dreary letters to dreary people, with no possible object except obtaining invitations which you could not accept. Those letters go on, even in your sleep, so that I know your whole trip now is one long waiting for the post. It is like an old gossip who cannot still her tongue.
You have reached the age when one is of interest to an adult only insofar as one seems to have a future. The mind of a little child is fascinating, for it looks on old things with new eyes—but at about twelve this changes. The adolescent offers nothing, can do nothing, say nothing that the adult cannot do better. Living with you in Baltimore(and you have told Harold that I alternated between strictness and neglect, by which I suppose you mean the times I was so inconsiderate as to have T. B. o or to retire into myself to write, for I had little social life apart from you) represented a rather too domestic duty forced on me by your mother's illness. But I endured your Top Hats and Telephones until the day you snubbed me at dancing school, less willingly after that…
To sum up: What you have done to please me or make me proud is practically negligible since the time you made yourself a good diver at camp (and now you are softer than you have ever been). In your career as a “wild society girl”, vintage of 1925, I'm not interested. I don't want any of it— it would bore me, like dining with the Ritz Brothers. When I do not feel you are“going somewhere”, your company tends to depress me for the silly waste and triviality involved. On the other hand, when occasionally I see signs of life and intention in you, there is no company in the world I prefer. For there is no doubt that you have something in your belly, some real gusto for life—a real dream of your own—and my idea was to wed it to something solid before it was too late—as it was too late for your mother to learn anything when she got around to it. Once when you spoke French as a child it was enchanting with your odd bits of knowledge— now your conversation is as commonplace as if you'd spent the last two years in the Corn Hollow High School— what you saw in Life and read in Sexy Romances.
I shall come East in September to meet your boat—but this letter is a declaration that I am no longer interested in your promissory notes but only in what I see. I love you always but I am only interested by people who think and work as I do and it isn't likely that I shall change at my age. Whether you will—or want to—remains to be seen.
Daddy
P. S. If you keep the diary, please don't let it be the dry stuff I could buy in a tenfranc guide book. I'm not interested in dates and places, even the Battle of New Orleans, unless you have some unusual reaction to them. Don't try to be witty in the writing, unless it's natural— just true and real.
P. P. S. Will you please read this letter a second time? I wrote it over twice.

亲爱的司各特:
我也没有多少时间给你写信了,希望你能把这封信读上两遍——虽然这看上去比较痛苦。或许,你现在会拒绝接受它,但是过不了多久,这些话将成为你的真理。我在跟你说这些的时候,你或许认为我已是一个老人,是个“专横”的人;当我向你说起自己年轻时的经历,我所说的一切对你来说是不真实的——因为年轻人总是不相信父辈们年轻时候的事情。但是,如果我能把它写下来的话,你也许会理解一点。
当我像你那么大的时候,我生活在一个伟大的梦想中。梦想一直在成长,我也学会了如何描述出它,让别人聆听它。有一天,梦想破碎了,那就是我最终决定和你妈妈结婚的时候,尽管我知道她从小娇生惯养,而且对我来说没什么好处。跟她结婚之后,我就立刻后悔了,但是那些天我还是很耐心,尽量维持这种关系,通过另一种方式去爱她。在你出生之后,有很长一段时间,我们的生活充满了幸福。但我是一个分裂的人——她需要我为她做更多的工作,因而我不能更好地追求自己的梦想。当她意识到工作是我仅有的神圣的事业时,一切都为时已晚,她试图通过自己的工作来弥补这些,但是已经太迟了,她的身体已经不行了,彻底地不行了。
让我去弥补损失的话也已经晚了——在她身上,我已经花费了几乎全部的资源、精力和财富,但是我依然奋斗了5年,直到我的身体也彻底垮掉,现在,我所关心的事情只有酗酒和遗忘。
我所犯的错误就是跟她结婚。我和她属于不同的世界——如果她在南方的庄园跟一个单纯的男人结婚的话,她可能会过得很快乐。她缺少在大城市这个舞台生存的能力——有时她会装做有这个能力,而且伪装得很好,但事实上她并没有。在应该强硬的时候,她表现得软弱;在应该让步的时候,她却表现得很强硬。她从来都不知道如何运用自己的力量——她已经把这些弱点都传给了你。
有很长一段时间,我恨她的母亲没有教给她任何好的习惯——除了“得过且过”和狂妄自负。在这个世界上,我永远不想再见到任何被懒散带大的女人。我生命中最重要的一个愿望就是你不要变成那种人,那种给自己和别人都带来毁灭的人。当你在14岁那年开始显露出令我烦扰的迹象时,我安慰自己说,你可能在社交方面早熟了一些,而接受严格的学校教育将会解决这些问题。但是,有时我也这样想,那些懒散的人似乎是一个特殊的阶层,对他们来说,什么事情都没安排好,也不能强求他们什么——他们对于人类家庭惟一的贡献,就是占据一张普通桌子前的一个坐位罢了。
我重新调整自己的日子已经结束了,如果你选择了那种懒散的生活方式,我也不想去改变你。但是,我希望不管是在家里还是在外面,我都不再被懒散的人烦扰。我希望自己的精力和薪水能用来服务那些跟我有共同语言的人们。
我担心你并没有意识到这些,没有意识到我在这里所做的一切,是一个曾经做出优秀业绩的人最后的竭尽所能。我已经没有足够的精力,或者说足够的金钱来承担一个沉重的负担。当我感觉自己正在做这些的时候,我心里会充满愤怒和怨恨。像你妈妈那样的人必须得到帮助,因为他们的病痛致使他们无所作为。但是,另外一件事就完全不同了:你已经度过了两年碌碌无为的生活,你既没有改进你的身体状况,也没有调整你的精神状态,你惟一做的就是一封接一封地给那些沉闷的人们写一些沉闷的信件,除了收到一些你自己并不接受的邀请之外,你做这件事没有任何目的。甚至在睡觉的时候,这件事仍然在继续。因此,我知道你现在的整个旅行就是等待邮件的漫长过程,那就像一个爱嚼舌的老妇从来不能让她的舌头停止下来。
你已经到了这样的年龄:只有当你看起来有前途时,大人们才会对你产生兴趣。小孩子的心灵是迷人的,因为他用全新的眼睛看待旧的事物——但是大约12岁的时候,这种情形就改变了。青少年们提供不了任何东西,他们什么也不会做,什么也不会说,而成年人则相反,他们对这些非常擅长。和你一起住在巴尔的摩时(你曾跟哈罗德说我对你的态度在严格和疏忽之间变换不停,据此我猜你这些话的意思是指我有时候非常轻率,所以感染了肺结核;或者是我只顾自己一心写作,因为我几乎没有任何社交活动,除了跟你在一起之外),由于你母亲的病情,我不得不负担起家庭的责任。但是,我对你戴男礼帽和不停地打电话的行为,一直都没放在心上,直到那天在舞蹈学校你故意怠慢我,从那以后,我才不愿意……
总而言之,自从你在夏令营把自己训练成一个优秀的潜水员,之后(你现在已经比以前退步了不少),你所做的能让我高兴和自豪的事情简直可以忽略不计。你作为“野蛮社会女孩”的经历,那是在1925年,我一点儿也不感兴趣。我不想再知道这些——它们会让我心烦意乱,就像跟富家子弟共进晚餐一样。当我感觉到你没有做有益的事情时,你的陪伴和照料只会让我失望,因为那是愚蠢的浪费和琐碎的烦扰。从另一面来说,当我看到你身上散发出生活的气息和向上的意志时,我在世界上将不再需要任何陪伴。因为毫无疑问,你身上依然存在美好的品质,一种对于生活的真正激情——一种属于你自己的真正的梦想——我的想法就是抓住机会,让它变成你实实在在的品质——因为当你妈妈下决心花些时间和精力去学些什么的时候,却为时已晚。当你还是个孩子时,你曾学过说法语,你对知识的零星掌握让人着迷——而你现在的谈话却非常平庸,似乎是在考恩•霍洛高级中学度过了最后两年——就像你在《生活》和《性传奇》中所看到的内容那样。
9月份,我将到东部去接你——但是,这封信是要向你声明:我将对你的许诺不再感兴趣,只对自己亲眼所看到的感兴趣。我会一直爱你,但让我感兴趣的只是那些与我志同道合的人,而且像我这样的年龄也不可能作出什么样的改变。无论你是否愿意——或者是想要——就让我看你的表现吧。
爸爸
又及:如果你还坚持写日记的话,请不要让你的日记成为枯燥乏味的东西,我用10法郎就能买到的《旅行指南》里就有。我对日期、地名,甚至“新奥尔良大战”之类不感兴趣,除非你对它们有些独特的体会。写作时不要追求措辞巧妙诙谐,除非是自然行文的需要——要实实在在。
再及:请你把这封信再看一遍好吗?这封信我写了两遍。



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