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East of Eden
Youth -- 1611
East of Eden

伊甸之东

 

By John Steinbeck

翻译:王永年

 

听力难度:3   Track???

美式发音  适合精读

语速:160/分钟

 

“我认为,一个作家如果不能热忱地相信人类有自我提高的能力,就不会献身于文学,也不能算是文学界的一员,”这是约翰·斯坦贝克在1962年接受诺贝尔文学奖时所说的话——从中,我们不难感受到这位在20世纪极具影响力的美国小说家对待写作的赤子之心。

约翰·恩斯特·斯坦贝克(John Ernst Steinbeck19021968年)出生在加利福尼亚州的小镇萨利纳斯。在当过教师的母亲熏陶下,斯坦贝克从小就热爱读书和写作。不过,他的童年时光大多是在室外度过的,有时是忙活的农场,有时是山花正艳的河谷。在大自然中成长,日常接触到的都是农民、帮工等生活在社会底层的人们,这些后来都成了斯坦贝克作品的重要元素。就像《伊甸之东》描写了两个移民家族长达半个世纪的命运一样,他的许多作品都以穷苦阶层为主人公,着力表现他们的同情心和人情味。斯坦贝克的现实主义手法对美国文学,尤其是西部文学的发展起到重大作用,其代表作有《人鼠之间》(Of Mice and Men1937年)、《愤怒的葡萄》(The Grapes of Wrath1939年)、《月亮下去了》(The Moon Is Down1942年)、《伊甸之东》(1952年)、《烦恼的冬天》(The Winter of Our Discontent1961年)等。

本期节选出自第一部第一章。

 

On the wide level acres of the valley the topsoil lay deep and fertile. It required only a rich winter of rain to make it 1)break forth in grass and flowers. The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable. The whole valley floor, and the 2)foothills too, would be carpeted with 3)lupins and 4)poppies. Once a woman told me that colored flowers would seem more bright if you added a few white flowers to give the colors 5)definition. Every petal of a blue lupin is edged with white, so that a field of lupins is more blue than you can imagine. And mixed with these were 6)splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color—not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies. When their season was over the yellow 7)mustard came up and grew to a great height. When my grandfather came into the valley the mustard was so tall that a man on horseback showed only his head above the yellow flowers. On the uplands the grass would be 8)strewn with 9)buttercups, with 10)hen-and-chickens, with black-centered yellow 11)violets. And a little later in the season there would be red and yellow stands of 12)Indian paintbrush. These were the flowers of the open places exposed to the sun.

When June came the grasses headed out and turned brown, and the hills turned a brown which was not brown but a gold and 13)saffron and red—an 14)indescribable color. And from then on until the next rains the earth dried and the streams stopped. Cracks appeared on the level ground. The Salinas River sank under its sand. The wind blew down the valley, picking up dust and straws, and grew stronger and 15)harsher as it went south. It stopped in the evening. It was a 16)rasping nervous wind, and the dust 17)particles cut into a man’s skin and burned his eyes. Men working in the fields wore 18)goggles and tied handkerchiefs around their noses to keep the dirt out.

I have spoken of the rich years when the rainfall was plentiful. But there were dry years too, and they put a terror on the valley. The water came in a thirty-year cycle. There would be five or six wet and wonderful years when there might be nineteen to twenty-five inches of rain, and the land would shout with grass. Then would come six or seven pretty good years of twelve to sixteen inches of rain. And then the dry years would come, and sometimes there would be only seven or eight inches of rain. The land dried up and the grasses headed out miserably a few inches high and great bare 19)scabby places appeared in the valley. The live oaks got a 20)crusty look and the 21)sagebrush was gray. The land cracked and the springs dried up and the cattle 22)listlessly 23)nibbled dry 24)twigs. Then the farmers and the 25)ranchers would be filled with 26)disgust for the Salinas Valley. The cows would grow thin and sometimes starve to death. People would have to 27)haul water in 28)barrels to their farms just for drinking. Some families would sell out for nearly nothing and move away. And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.

 

 

见招拆招

用现在的目光来看,约翰·斯坦贝克可以说是一个坚定的生态主义者。在那个普罗大众还没真正具备环保意识的年代,从小亲近大自然的斯坦贝克早就注意到人类活动对大自然的巨大影响——他在《愤怒的葡萄》中描写了上世纪30年代美国南部大平原上的沙尘暴,批判人类对环境造成的生态破坏。透过本期节选的细腻描写,我们可以充分体会到作者对其成长环境的深厚感情。这段节选是一篇优秀的写景状物范文。作者用朴素简单的语言描绘了一幅迷人的“河谷四季图”,值得大家仔细品读,学以致用。

另外,由于年代的关系,斯坦贝克在使用比较级时用了“more bright”和“more blue”,这种情况并不适用于今天的标准语法,阅读时需注意。

 

参考译文

在宽阔平坦的河谷,表土层丰厚而肥沃。只要一冬雨水充足,就能使花草萌发。多雨年份的春天繁花似锦,简直叫人难以置信。整个河谷以及山麓都铺了一层羽扇豆和罂粟。有一个女人曾经告诉我,如果你在五颜六色的花朵里加几朵白色的花,色花给白花一衬,会显得特别鲜艳。羽扇豆的每一片蓝色花瓣都有一圈白边,因此在长羽扇豆的地方,那颜色蓝得超出人们的想象。混杂其间的是一片片加利福尼亚罂粟。它们的色彩也鲜艳夺目——既不是橘黄,也不是金黄,而是金黄的奶油色;假如纯金成了流体,并且能像牛奶那样撇出奶油的话,那层金黄的奶油就可以同罂粟的颜色相比。羽扇豆过后,黄芥跟上,长得很高很高。我外祖父初到谷地的时候,黄芥比人还高,人骑在马背上也只能在黄花丛中露出一个脑袋。高地的草里夹杂着毛茛、石莲花,以及黑色花心的黄色堇。再晚一些时候,这里就会长出红色和黄色的扁萼花。这些花都长在阳光充足的开阔地上。

一到六月,草木长头,开始枯黄,山坡变成了褐色——其实也不能算褐色,那是一种难以形容的、金红和橘黄的色泽。从那时候直到再次下雨为止,土地干燥,溪河断流。平地开始坼裂。萨利纳斯河渗到沙底下去了。风吹过河谷,刮起尘土和干草,风势越往南越凶,一般要到晚上才会停息。刺耳的风声叫人心烦,沙粒打在脸上生疼,让人连眼睛都睁不开。在地里干活的人都得戴风镜,把手帕扎在脸上,蒙住鼻子。

我已经谈过雨水充沛的丰饶岁月,但也有干旱的年份,那时候,河谷的模样叫人害怕。雨水的多少大致按三十年周期循环。有五六年特别湿润,雨水多达十九到二十五英寸(48.2663.5厘米),青草长得满山满谷。接着有六七个好年头,降雨量在十二到十六英寸(30.4840.64厘米)之间。然后是干旱的年份,有时只有七八英寸(17.7820.32厘米)的降雨量。土地干透,草长得萎靡不振,只有几英寸高,河谷像害了疥癣似的,大片光秃。原先生气勃勃的橡树浑身上下仿佛结了痂,艾灌丛也变得灰蒙蒙的。地面龟裂,泉水涸竭,牛群没精打采地啃着干树枝。这时候,农场主和牧场主就会恨透了萨利纳斯河谷。牛变瘦了,甚至有饿死的。人们只能用木桶往农场运水,只顾得上喝的。有几户人家变卖了田地房屋,随便换几个钱就迁到别处去了。人们在干旱的年月总会忘掉丰饶的日子,到了多雨的年月又把干旱的日子忘得一干二净,向来如此。

 

(选自上海译文出版社版本,有改动)

 

 

 

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