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现代大学英语精读(第2版)第六册:U12 Notes on the English Character(6)

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These depths and the colors are the English romanticism and the English sensitiveness—we do not expect to find such things, but they exist. And—to continue my metaphor—the fish are the English emotions, which are always trying to get up to the surface, but don't quite know how. For the most part we see them moving far below, distorted and obscure. Now and then they succeed and we exclaim, "Why, the Englishman has emotions! He actually can feel!" And occasionally we see that beautiful creature the flying fish, which rises out of the water altogether into the air and the sunlight. English literature is a flying fish. It is a sample of the life that goes on day after day beneath the surface; it is a proof that beauty and emotion exist in the salt, inhospitable sea.

大海的最深处和各种各样的颜色就像英国的浪漫主义和敏感性。我们没料到能在英国人的特性中找到这些特点,但它们确实存在。现在继续我的比喻,鱼是英国人的感情,总想游到水面,只是不知道如何才能实现。多数情况下我们看到它们在深处游动,形体扭曲,模糊不清。有时它们成功地游到水面,我们便会欢呼:“哇,英国人是有感情的!他们的确会感受!”偶尔我们会看到那美丽的文鳐鱼完全跃出海面,跳到空中,沐浴在阳光下。英国文学如同一条文鳐鱼。它表明,在表层下面在人们不易注意到的地方,生命一天天地延续着;同时它也证明在咸咸的、不适于居住的海水中存在着美丽和情感。
And now let's get back to terra firma. The Englishman's attitude toward criticism will give us another starting point. He is not annoyed by criticism. He listens or not as the case may be smiles and passes on, saying, "Oh, the fellow's jealous"; "Oh, I'm used to Bernard Shaw; monkey tricks don't hurt me." It never occurs to him that the fellow may be accurate as well as jealous, and that he might do well to take the criticism to heart and profit by it. It never strikes him—except as a form of words—that he is capable of improvement; his self-complacency is abysmal. Other nations, both Oriental and European, have an uneasy feeling that they are not quite perfect. In consequence they resent criticism. It hurts them; and their snappy answers often mask a determination to improve themselves. Not so the Englishman. He has no uneasy feeling. Let the critics bark. And the "tolerant humorous attitude" with which he confronts them is not really humorous, because it is bounded by the titter and the guffaw.
现在让我们回到陆地。我们将以英国人对于批评的态度为起点。英国人不会被批评惹恼。他们聆听,也许根本没听,一笑了之,并说,“噢,那家伙在嫉妒。”“噢,我已经适应了萧伯纳似的老把戏,它们伤害不到我。”英国人从来不去想那人可能有点嫉妒但他批评得对,不会认真考虑别人的批评并从中受益。英国人从不认为自己还需要进步,改进只是说说而已,他们极度自满;东方和欧洲的其他国家总是因自身不够完美而不安,因此,他们憎恶批评,批评伤害了他们,他们迅速而又愤怒的回答常常掩饰了他们追求进步的决心。而英国人却不这样,他们根本没有不安的感觉。让批评家们去叫嚣吧,英国人认为自己在遇到困难时所采取的“宽容的幽默态度”并不是真正的幽默,因为无论是偷笑还是狂笑都暴露了他的不安。
I have suggested earlier that the English are sometimes hypocrites, and it is now my duty to develop this rather painful subject. Hypocrisy is the prime charge that is always brought against us. The Germans are called brutal, the Spanish cruel, the Americans superficial, and so on; but we are perfide Albion, the island of hypocrites, the people who have built up an Empire with a Bible in one hand, a pistol in the other and financial concessions in both pockets.
此前我曾暗示英国人有时是虚伪的,现在我有责任展开这个相当痛苦的话题。虚伪是向我们提出的最重要的指控。德国人野蛮,西班牙人残忍,美国人肤浅,等等;然而我们是虚伪的英国、虚伪的岛屿,这里的人们一手拿着圣经,一手握着手枪建立了大英帝国,两手同时拥有财政特许权。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
sample ['sæmpl]

想一想再看

n. 样品,样本
vt. 采样,取样

联想记忆
uneasy [ʌn'i:zi]

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adj. 不自在的,心神不安的,不稳定的,不舒服的

 
annoyed

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adj. 恼怒的;烦闷的 v. 使烦恼;打扰(annoy

 
inhospitable [in'hɔspitəbl]

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adj. 冷淡的,不好客的;荒凉的;不适居留的

 
brutal ['bru:tl]

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adj. 野蛮的,残暴的

联想记忆
capable ['keipəbl]

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adj. 有能力的,足以胜任的,有 ... 倾向的

 
pistol ['pistl]

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n. 手枪
vt. 用手枪射击

联想记忆
abysmal [ə'bizməl]

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adj. 深不可测的,无底的,糟透了的

联想记忆
improvement [im'pru:vmənt]

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n. 改进,改善

 
bark [bɑ:k]

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v. (狗)吠,咆哮
n. 狗吠,咆哮

 

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