缤纷天地|是谁第一个把humor译作了“幽默”

08-20 14:42 首页 英语世界



他就是林语堂,人称 “幽默大师”,然而他是不是真的很幽默,很难讲。


喜欢林语堂的人,赞其中英文都炉火纯青,是文之至美。


不喜欢他的人,如郭沫若,说他既无自知之明,又无知人之雅,东方既未通,西方也不懂,只靠懂得一点洋泾浜的外国文,捡拾一些皮毛来,在这里东骗骗、西骗骗。


林语堂对妻子廖翠凤,一生忠贞不渝,不像郭沫若,抛妻弃子……



当然,人品与文章是两码事。林语堂的文章究竟如何,不妨读读《生活的艺术》(The Importance of Living


1937年,林语堂用英文出版了以西方中产阶级为读者的《生活的艺术》,讲述中国人如何观山、弄月、听雨、看云等,被誉为中国现代休闲文学的代表作。



80年过去了,书里有些观点,独立自主的新时代女青年一定不同意,比方说:


Is it not true that marriage is the best profession for women?

婚姻是最适于女性的职业。


抛开一些不合时宜之处,大部分地方依然有点意思。


 

林语堂谈吃



One of the most important consequences of our being animals is that we have got this bottomless pit called the stomach. This fact has colored our entire civilization.

凡是动物便有这么一个叫作肚子的无底洞。这无底洞曾影响了我们整个的文明


Confucius reduced the great desires of human beings to two:alimentation and reproduction, or in simpler terms, food and drink and women.

他(孔子)把人生的大欲简括于营养和生育二事之下,简单说来,就是饮食男女。


林语堂认为,妻子会做饭,非常重要,知道孔子为什么把老婆休了吗?因为他老婆烧菜不好吃。


1929年,据说为了鼓励儿童多吃菠菜的大力水手波派问世。林语堂一定看过,他在成书于1937年的《生活的艺术》中写道:


Spinach, the calamity of all children, is never cooked properly; it is cooked until it becomes mushy, whereas if it is fried on a very hot pan with oil and salt and taken away before it loses its crispness, it is one of the most palatable of foods.

菠菜从不好好地烹煮,以致儿童见了就讨厌。因为他们烧菠菜总是烧成乱糟糟的,而不知用油盐在极热的锅中煎炒,在未烂之前起锅是最可口的吃法。



Instead of giving patients aspirin tablets, Chinese doctors would therefore ask them to take large bowls of medicinal tea to produce perspiration. And instead of taking quinine tablets, the patients of the future world might conceivably be required to drink a bowl of rich turtle soup with mushrooms, cooked with pieces of cinchona bark. 

中国医生对于病人并不给予阿司匹林片,而给他喝一大碗药茶以取汗。所以将来的病人,或许不必再吃金鸡纳片,而只需喝一碗加些金鸡纳树皮的冬菇甲鱼汤。


It makes our pharmacopoeias resemble our cook books and our cook books resemble a pharmacopoeia, and it makes the rise of botany and zoology as branches of the natural science impossible, for the Chinese scientists are thinking all the time of how a snake, a monkey, or a crocodiles flesh or a camels hump would taste. True scientific curiosity in China is a gastronomic curiosity.

我们身体中都有饕餮的精神,这使我们的药方书类似我们的烹饪书,使我们的烹饪书类似药方书,并使植物学和动物学发展为自然科学的一支成为不可能。因为中国的科学家看见一条蛇、一只猢狲、一条鳄鱼或一个驼峰时,他始终只是想去尝尝它们滋味。真正的科学好奇心,在中国不过是一种烹饪艺术的好奇心而已。


 

林语堂谈快乐



This present earth is the only heaven.

尘世是唯一的天堂。


The Chinese idea of happiness is, as I have noted elsewhere, being “warm, well-filled, dark and sweet”,referring to the condition of going to bed after a good supper. 

我曾在别处说过,中国人对于快乐的观念是 “温、饱、黑、甜”——指吃完了一顿美餐上床去睡觉的情景。


明末清初的文学批评家金圣叹,和朋友在10天的阴雨连绵中,住在一个庙里,写下了他觉得最快乐的33个瞬间。林语堂很推崇金圣叹,在《生活的艺术》中一一列举了 33 个 “不亦快哉”,摘录一二。



To cut with a sharp knife a bright green watermelon on a big scarlet plate of a summer afternoon. Ah, is this not happiness?

夏日于朱红盘中,自拔快刀,切绿沉西瓜,不亦快哉!


A magistrate orders the beating of the drum and calls it a day. Ah, is this not happiness?

作县官,每日打退堂鼓时,不亦快哉!


To see someones kite line broken. Ah, is this not happiness?

看人风筝断,不亦快哉!


 

林语堂谈西方文化



Of all the ridiculous Western customs, I think that of shaking hands is one of the worst. I may be very progressive and able to appreciate Western art, literature, American silk stockings, Parisian perfumes and even British battleships, but I cannot see how the progressive Europeans could allow this barbarous custom of shaking hands to persist to the present…I object to this custom for hygienic and many other reasons.

我以为一切可笑的西方习俗当中,以握手为最。我虽然是一个极前进的人,也能领略西方的艺术文学、美国丝袜、巴黎香水,甚至英国战舰的好处,但我终不能懂极前进的欧洲人何以竟会听任这个握手的野蛮习俗存留到今日……我为了卫生和许多别的理由,反对这个习俗。


Many of my best friends have asked me why I wear Chinese instead of foreign dress. And those people call themselves my friends! They might just as well ask me why I stand on two legs.

常有许多好友问我为什么不穿西装?他们问我这句话,尚能算是我的知己吗?这等于问我为什么用两足直立……


The Chinese dress is worn by all Chinese gentlemen. Furthermore, all the scholars, thinkers, bankers and people who made good in China either have never worn foreign dress, or have swiftly come back to their native dress the moment they have "arrived" politically, financially or socially…


Who are the people wearing foreign clothes today in China ? The college students, the clerks earning a hundred a month…


And then, of course, last but not least, we have Henry Puyi, who has the incomparably bad taste to adopt a foreign name, foreign dress, and a pair of dark spectacles. That outfit of his alone will kill all his chances of coming back to the Dragon Throne…

中国的绅士都穿中国衣服。此外如功成名就的中国高士、思想家、银行家,有许多从来没有穿过西装,有许多则于政治、金融或社会上获得成就,立刻改穿中装......


你可知道中国现在穿西装者是怎样一些人吗?大学生、赚百元一月薪俸的小职员.....


最后,当然还有那亨利溥仪(溥仪给自己取了个英文名,Henry),极俗无比的题上一个外国名字,穿上一身西装,还要加上一副黑眼镜。单是这身装束,已足使他丧失一切复登大室的机会……


不管林语堂怎么评价西装,反正林语堂结婚仪式上穿的是西装。



It requires no imagination to see that for adjustment to varying climatic conditions, the Chinese dress is also the only logical mode. 


While the Westerner is compelled to wear underwear, one shirt, perhaps one vest and one coat, whether the weather temperature is below zero or above a hundred, the Chinese dress is infinitely flexible.…


I am led to believe that the only thing -which saves the Chinese nation from extermination by tuberculosis and pneumonia is the cotton-padded gown.

在适合时令的调节上,中国衣服也显而易见最近情理。


穿西装不论寒暑表低到零摄氏度以下,或高到一百摄氏度以上,总是限于一身内衣裤、一件衬衫、一件外衣,连或不连马甲。但中国衣服则可以加减随心……


我不能不信中国民族所以能够不被肺痨和肺炎所灭尽,全靠那一件棉袍的力量。


民国大记者曹聚仁,曾奉劝广大读者,对林语堂吃够了面包、抽够了雪茄以后所发的痴语姑妄听之,不可信以为真,除非你在美国银行里存够了美金,也跟他到美国去。



但即使我们没有钱,依然可以有颗闲适的心,城头看雪,灯前看月,舟中看霞,月下看美人,依然可以在平淡生活中发现很多乐趣吧。


就像林语堂所说,自己没有读过洛克(John Locke,17世纪英国哲学家),也没有读过休谟(David Hume, 18世纪苏格兰哲学家),直接拿人生当做课本,理论根据大都是从下面这些人物来的:


老妈子黄妈......一个随口骂人的苏州船娘;一个上海的电车售票员;厨子的妻子;动物园中一只小狮子;纽约中央公园里的一只松鼠;一个发过一句妙论的轮船上管事……以及任何一个不毁灭我们人生好奇意识的作家,或任何一个不毁灭他自己人生好奇意识的作家。



本文参考自《生活的艺术》(越裔汉译,陕西师范大学出版社2003版)、《值得商榷的“人生指南”——评林语堂著<生活的艺术>》、《林语堂与东西方文化》、《林语堂的中国文化观》等。


(感谢公号“友邻通鉴”授权转载)


TIPS


第一个将humor译成中文的是国学大师王国维,但第一个将humor翻译成“幽默”的是林语堂

 

humor曾有多种译法,王国维将其音译为“欧穆亚”,李青崖意译为“语妙”,陈望道译为“油滑”,易培基译为“优骂”,唐桐侯译为“谐稽”,林语堂译为“幽默”。林语堂的解释是:“凡善于幽默的人,其谐趣必愈幽隐;而善于鉴赏幽默的人,其欣赏尤在于内心静默的理会,大有不可与外人道之滋味。与粗鄙的笑话不同,幽默愈幽愈默而愈妙。”最终,林语堂的译法普及开来,林后来也被称作“幽默大师"。




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