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现代大学英语精读(第2版)第六册:U12 Notes on the English Character(8)

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Well, are the John Dashwoods hypocrites? It depends upon our definition of hypocrisy. The young man could not see his evil impulses as they gathered force and gained on him. And even his wife, though a worse character, is also self-deceived. She reflects that old Mr. Dashwood may have been out of his mind at his death. She thinks of her own little boy—and surely a mother ought to think of her own child. She has muddled herself so completely that in one sentence she can refuse the ladies the income that would enable them to keep a carriage and in the next can say that they will not be keeping a carriage and so will have no expenses. No doubt men and women in other lands can muddle themselves, too, yet the state of mind of Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood seems to me typical of England. They are slow—they take time even to do wrong; whereas people in other lands do wrong quickly.

那么,约翰·达什伍德家的人是伪君子吗?这要取决于我们对于虚伪的定义。当他积蓄力量并逐渐向好的意图努力时,这个年轻人不会意识到他邪恶的冲动。甚至他那性格更加糟糕的妻子也是自欺欺人的。她认为老达什伍德先生在临死前一定是疯了。她只想着自己的儿子,当然母亲想着自己的孩子是天经地义的。她的头脑一片混乱,总之一句话她可以拒绝支付让女士们雇车的钱,而后她便可以说她们不愿意雇车,自然无须支付任何费用。诚然其他国家的人也会犯糊涂,然而约翰·达什伍德的思维状态是典型的英国人的思维方式。英国人头脑迟钝,甚至犯错误也需要一段时间,而其他国家的人则迅速犯错。
There are national faults as there are national diseases, and perhaps one can draw a parallel between them. It has always impressed me that the national diseases of England should be cancer and consumption—slow, insidious, pretending to be something else; while the diseases proper to the South should be cholera and plague, which strike at a man when he is perfectly well and may leave him a corpse by evening. Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood are moral consumptives. They collapse gradually without realizing what the disease is. There is nothing dramatic or violent about their sin. You cannot call them villains.
民族缺陷如同民族疾病一样是存在的,也许可以把二者等同起来。我一直在想英国的民族疾病应该是癌症和痨病发展缓慢、隐伏危害、容易被误诊,而南部常见的疾病应该是霍乱和瘟疫,它们会使一个健壮的人在一天之内遭遇死亡。约翰达什伍德夫妇应该患有道德痨病,他们在未察觉患病的情况下日渐崩溃。既然他们的罪恶不是夸张的或猛烈的,你便不能称他们为恶棍。
Here is the place to glance at some of the other charges that have been brought against the English as a nation. They have, for instance, been accused of treachery cruelty, and fanaticism. In these charges have never been able to see the least point, because treachery and cruelty are conscious sins. The man knows he is doing wrong, and does it deliberately, like Tartuffe or lago. He betrays his friend because he wishes to. He tortures his prisoners because he enjoys seeing the blood flow. He worships the Devil because he prefers evil to good. From villainies such as these the average Englishman is free. His character, which prevents his rising to certain heights, also prevents him from sinking to these depths. Because he doesn't produce mystics he doesn't produce villains either; he gives the world no prophets, but no anarchists, no fanatics—religious or political.
下面来谈论一下对英国人的其他指控。比如,英国人被指控狡诈、残忍与狂热。我认为这些指责是名不副实的,因为狡诈和残忍是有意识的罪恶。人们知道自己做错了,仍然一意孤行,就像达尔杜弗或者伊阿古一样,他出卖朋友因为他喜欢如此;折磨犯人,因为他喜欢看见流血;他向恶魔顶礼膜拜,因为他喜欢恶而不喜欢善。普通的英国人没有这样的恶行。他的性格会阻碍他上升到一定的高度,同时也不会让他堕落到如此糟糕的地步。正因为普通的英国人不会成为神秘主义者,因此他们也不会成为恶棍;他们既不为世界造就预言家,也不给世界带来无政府主义或者宗教与政治的狂热分子。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
hypocrisy [hi'pɔkrəsi]

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n. 伪善

 
dramatic [drə'mætik]

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adj. 戏剧性的,引人注目的,给人深刻印象的

联想记忆
collapse [kə'læps]

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n. 崩溃,倒塌,暴跌
v. 倒塌,崩溃,瓦解

联想记忆
definition [.defi'niʃən]

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n. 定义,阐释,清晰度

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parallel ['pærəlel]

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adj. 平行的,相同的,类似的,并联的
n.

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certain ['sə:tn]

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adj. 确定的,必然的,特定的
pron.

 
typical ['tipikəl]

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adj. 典型的,有代表性的,特有的,独特的

 
sin [sin]

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n. 原罪
v. 犯罪,违反(教规)

 
produce [prə'dju:s]

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n. 产品,农作物
vt. 生产,提出,引起,

联想记忆
strike [straik]

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n. 罢工,打击,殴打
v. 打,撞,罢工,划

 

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