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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第512期:丰富多彩的生命(8)

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But Banks's grand cache was only part of the total haul in what was an almost absurdly acquisitive age. Plant collecting in the eighteenth century became a kind of international mania. Glory and wealth alike awaited those who could find new species, and botanists and adventurers went to the most incredible lengths to satisfy the world's craving for horticultural novelty. Thomas Nuttall, the man who named the wisteria after Caspar Wistar, came to America as an uneducated printer but discovered a passion for plants and walked halfway across the country and back again, collecting hundreds of growing things never seen before. John Fraser, for whom is named the Fraser fir, spent years in the wilderness collecting on behalf of Catherine the Great and emerged at length to find that Russia had a new czar who thought he was mad and refused to honor his contract. Fraser took everything to Chelsea, where he opened a nursery and made a handsome living selling rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, Virginia creepers, asters, and other colonial exotica to a delighted English gentry.

但是,在一个渴求知识几乎到了荒唐程度的时代,班克斯的巨大收获只是总收获的组成部分。采集植物在l8世纪成了一种国际性的狂热。荣誉和财富都在等着能发现新物种的人。植物学家和冒险家们竭尽全力来满足世人对新奇植物的渴求,达到了令人难以置信的地步。托马斯·纳托尔,即那个以卡斯珀·威斯塔的名字来命名紫藤的人,来到美国的时候还是未受过教育的印刷工,但他发现自己对植物很感兴趣,徒步来回穿越半个美国,采集到了几百种以前没有见过的植物。约翰·弗雷泽——福莱氏冷杉就是以他的名字命名的——花了几年时间在荒野里为叶卡捷琳娜大帝采集标本,最后发现俄罗斯已经换了个新沙皇。新沙皇认为弗雷泽是在发疯,拒绝兑现他的合同。弗雷泽把全部东西带回切尔西,在那里办了个苗圃,向英国乡绅们出售杜鹃花、木兰、弗吉尼亚匍匐植物、紫菀,以及其他来自殖民地的奇花异草,令他们欣喜万分,他自己也挣了不少钱。
Virginia creepers

Huge sums could be made with the right finds. John Lyon, an amateur botanist, spent two hard and dangerous years collecting specimens, but cleared almost $200,000 in today's money for his efforts. Many, however, just did it for the love of botany. Nuttall gave most of what he found to the Liverpool Botanic Gardens. Eventually he became director of Harvard's Botanic Garden and author of the encycl opedi cGenera of North American Plants (which he not only wrote but also largely typeset).

只要有合适的发现,就能挣到大钱。业余植物学家约翰·莱昂花了艰苦而又危险的两年时间采集标本,收到了相当于今天l25000英镑的回报。然而,许多干这种事的人完全出于对植物学的热爱。纳托尔把自己找到的大部分标本赠给了利物浦植物园。最后,他成为哈佛植物园的主任,百科全书般的《北美植物志》的作者(这本书不仅是他写的,而且在很大程度上是他排字的)。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
botany ['bɔtəni]

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n. 植物学,植物

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contract ['kɔntrækt,kən'trækt]

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n. 合同,契约,婚约,合约
v. 订合同,缩

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glory ['glɔ:ri]

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n. 光荣,荣誉,壮丽,赞颂
vi. 为 ..

 
amateur ['æmətə:]

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adj. 业余(爱好者)的
n. 业余爱好者,

 
director [di'rektə, dai'rektə]

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n. 董事,经理,主管,指导者,导演

 
passion ['pæʃən]

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n. 激情,酷爱

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craving ['kreiviŋ]

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n. 渴望,热望 动词crave的现在分词

 
wilderness ['wildənis]

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n. 荒野,荒地

 
eventually [i'ventjuəli]

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adv. 终于,最后

 
species ['spi:ʃiz]

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n. (单复同)物种,种类

 

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