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经济学人: 简·奥斯汀 迷中之谜

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Books and Arts; Book Review;Jane Austen

文艺;书评;简·奥斯汀

A puzzle inside an enigma

迷中之谜

Cults, cultures and one-upmanship

崇拜,文化,胜人一筹

What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved. By John Mullan.Bloomsbury;

《关于简奥斯汀的事,最重要的是什么?20个关键之谜已被解决》 作者约翰穆兰;

Jane Austen's Cults and Cultures. By Claudia Johnson.

《简奥斯汀的狂热崇拜和文化》 作者:克劳迪娅约翰逊。

JANE AUSTEN wrote six novels, lived quietly in Hampshire and died at the age of 41, having enjoyed moderate success. Since then, a cult of “Janeism” has ensured her legacy, and she has become one of the most widely read and revered 19th- century novelists. Two new books explore the passion and proliferation of Janeism in different ways. John Mullan (an unapologetic Janeite) takes delight in a close reading of her works, and Claudia Johnson (a Janeite with objectivity) traces the development of Janeism from the late 19th century to the present day.

简·奥斯汀一生安然的居住在汉普郡,于41岁去世,在世期间著作6部小说,但所获成效甚微。之后,读者对简奥斯汀的狂热崇拜成就其身后名,简奥斯汀由此成为十九世纪读者范围最广最受人尊敬的作家之一。两本新书从不同的角度探究了读者对简奥斯汀主义的酷爱及其大为流行的原因。约翰穆兰(奥斯汀的狂热崇拜者)喜欢细细品味她的作品,克劳迪娅约翰逊(奥斯汀的理性崇拜者)追溯简奥斯汀主义自十九世纪末发展至今的轨迹。

Mr Mullan, an English professor at University College London, manages to make literary criticism fun. In “What Matters in Jane Austen?” he solves 20 crucial puzzles by asking such questions as “Is there any sex in Jane Austen?” and “Why is it risky to go to the seaside?”, scouring her oeuvre for clues and providing answers within the social context of Georgian England. This book provides entertaining trivia for Austen fans, who will be entranced by Mr Mullan's encyclopedic knowledge of the texts and the times in which she lived. He takes pleasure in “becoming as clever and discerning as the author herself”.

穆兰先生是英国伦敦大学学院的一名英语教授,他设法使文学评论充满乐趣。在《关于简奥斯汀最重要的是什么?》这本书中,他通过提出“简奥斯汀做过爱吗”“为什么去海滨是危险的” 等类似的问题,细细品味简奥斯汀的全部作品寻找线索,并将答案置于英国乔治王朝的社会背景下,以此解决了20个关键性的谜题。这本书向奥斯汀的粉丝提供了许多令人愉快的琐事,穆兰对奥斯汀生活时代的了解以及渊博的文学知识会使那些粉丝们为此着迷。他希望成为跟奥斯汀一样聪明且眼光敏锐的人。

The best chapters are those in which Mr Mullan relates a theme in the novels to social history—moments that modern readers might otherwise miss. Thus, Austen never features or gives voice to the lower classes and servants. Readers might not see them, but by observing the dialogue and other characters' manners it is clear that they are there. Contemporary readers, though, would be familiar with servants being present, and would sympathise, for example, with Elizabeth Bennet's frustration at her mother gossiping in front of them in “Pride and Prejudice”. Playing games is also significant. Modern-day readers may not intuit the set-up of card tables, but they are a useful trick for Austen to push characters together and manoeuvre others away (all in the name of courtship). She also passes subtle judgments on the common practice of gambling. The chapter on money is revealing, since wealth and inheritance were inextricably tied to social standing and the all-engrossing business of getting married.

穆兰将小说的主题同社会历史联系起来的章节,是本书最精彩的部分,否则现在的读者很有可能忽略掉那些历史时刻。因此,奥斯汀从未特意描写过下层社会和仆人,亦或是让他们有只言片语。读者或许看不到他们,但是通过注意其他角色的对话及举止,能很明显的感觉到这些人是存在书中的。然而,和作者处在同一时期的读者对在场的仆人就十分熟知了,因而书中的细节会引起读者的共鸣,例如《傲慢与偏见》当中,伊莉莎白班内特很懊丧的发现他妈妈在他们面前闲聊,便会成功的使读者的同情心泛滥。玩游戏也是非常重要的。如今的读者或许不能凭直觉发现牌桌建立的意义,但这却是奥斯汀将重要角色集中并且巧妙支开(所有的都是以爱之名义)其他人的一个好窍门。她同样能精确地辨别出赌博的惯例。因为财富和遗产往往跟社会地位以及结婚交易密不可分,所以书中跟财富有关的的章节能给人以启迪。

Like Mr Mullan's, Ms Johnson's book, “Jane Austen's Cults and Cultures”, shows that the novels demand rereading and can be interpreted in many ways. Also an English professor, at Princeton University, she writes in a more academic style, taking in research by fellow critics and Austen-related literature covering the broad periods of the late 19th century, the first and second world wars and the present day. At times the reader may feel that the library stacks are closing in, but there are some revealing passages that show how changing culture invites reinterpretation of Jane Austen and her works.

约翰逊女士的著作《简·奥斯汀的狂热崇拜和文化》和穆兰的作品都表明,奥斯汀的小说值得反复品读,而且可以用很多方式来诠释。同样,一位美国普林斯顿大学的英国教授,通过他的评论家同事的帮助和查阅的大量与奥斯汀相关的文学作品(这些文学作品时期主要为19世纪晚期、一战、二战以及现代的等不同时期),用更加学术的风格,记录、研究奥斯汀的诸多著作。有时,读者会感觉到图书馆书架在向他们逼近,但是一些有启发性的文章指出了变迁的文化是如何导致简奥斯汀和她的著作被重新解读的。

The opening chapter on Austen's body and her image is the most memorable. Few pictures of Austen survive, and over the decades she has been re-imagined in paintings, books, plays and films. Her place and meaning in culture have also shifted as society has changed. The Victorians saw magic in her stories; disenchanted with modernism, they aligned her novels with fairy tales and an idealised England. In the first world war soldiers carried her books to the front line as companions in a terrifying conflict, perceiving peril in the pages and toughness in her words. During the second world war Austen was considered the epitome of Englishness, part of the restful home front that needed protecting.

那些有关奥斯汀身体及其肖像的开篇章节让人难忘。奥斯汀的照片很少流传下来,在这数十年期间,奥斯汀的形象已经被油画书籍剧本电影重新想象。社会变迁,沧海桑田,她在文化中的地位和意义也随之改变。在维多利亚时代她的小说故事被加入了魔法元素;由于不再着迷于现代主义,他们将奥斯汀的小说同童话故事以及理想化的英国糅合起来。一战期间,士兵们带着她的书奔赴前线,其字里行间透漏出对战争危险和艰苦的理解,就像是在恶战中跟战友并肩作战。二战期间,奥斯汀被认为是英国人作风的缩影,是战争期间可供休憩的精神家园的一部分,需要好好保护。

Both books are important. Ms Johnson's essays offer the reader a fuller appreciation of Austen and her admirers, but it is Mr Mullan's you should read for an unforgettable lesson in one-upmanship over your fellow Janeites.

两本书都是很重要的。约翰逊女士的文章给读者提供了奥斯汀及其仰慕者一个更加全面欣赏的机会,但是你该读一下穆兰先生的书,这本书比你的伙伴奥斯汀崇拜者更胜一筹,会成为你难忘的一课。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
literary ['litərəri]

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adj. 文学的

联想记忆
crucial ['kru:ʃəl]

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adj. 关键的,决定性的

联想记忆
cult [kʌlt]

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n. 宗教膜拜仪式,异教,狂热崇拜,个人崇拜

联想记忆
contemporary [kən'tempərəri]

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n. 同时代的人
adj. 同时代的,同时的,

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conflict ['kɔnflikt]

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n. 冲突,矛盾,斗争,战斗
vi. 冲突,争

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moderate ['mɔdəreit,'mɔdərit]

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adj. 适度的,稳健的,温和的,中等的
v.

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covering ['kʌvəriŋ]

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n. 覆盖物,遮避物 adj. 掩护的,掩盖的

 
appreciation [ə.pri:ʃi'eiʃən]

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n. 欣赏,感激,鉴识,评价,增值

 
revealing [ri'vi:liŋ]

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adj. 有启迪作用的,透露内情的,袒露身体的 动词re

 
theme [θi:m]

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n. 题目,主题

 


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