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[外媒编译] 【纽约时报 20140106】中国对马克•吐温的持续热爱令人费解

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发表于 2014-1-16 09:35 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 满仓 于 2014-2-25 23:19 编辑

【中文标题】中国对马克•吐温的持续热爱令人费解
【原文标题】The Curious, and Continuing, Appeal of Mark Twain in China
【登载媒体】纽约时报
【原文作者】AMY QIN
【原文链接】
http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-curious-and-continuing-appeal-of-mark-twain-in-china/?ref=china&_r=1


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几十年来,马克•吐温的一篇讽刺美国政治的文章,一直被中国学校要求阅读。

绝少有其他作家像马克•吐温一样被奉为美国人的榜样。凭借他驾驭本国语言和顽皮幽默的超人天赋,吐温被视为美国文学的奠基人。即使在去世之后一个世纪,他最著名的作品《哈克贝利•费恩历险记》依然是初中和高中英语课堂的主要读物。欧内斯特•海明威说,这本书是“所有现代美国文学的发源地”。

吐温的著作也在中国赢得了不小的名声。尽管《哈克贝利•费恩》有90多个中文译本,颇受读者欢迎,但吐温在中国的名声其实主要来源于另外一部不大出名的短篇小说,名为《竞选州长》。

《竞选州长》是吐温用诙谐的语气讲述他虚拟参加1870年纽约州长选举的故事,这篇文章和毛泽东的著作,以及中国其他著名思想家、文学家的作品一起,在中国各地的中学里被教授了40年。几代、数百万中国人读过这篇文章,让马克•吐温成为中国最知名的外国作家,《竞选州长》也成为他最著名的作品。

福州大学比较文学系教授苏文静说:“中国所有读过中学的人都知道马克•吐温和《竞选州长》,人们都记得故事中的文化内涵和社会批判性,我敢肯定。”

1870年纽约州长竞选之后,《竞选州长》这篇文章发表了在文学刊物《银河》上,这篇讽刺文章表现了在吐温看来美国选举过程的虚伪和狗咬狗的党派斗争实质。文章不长,但富于想象力。吐温以独立候选人的身份竞选纽约州长,发现几个不知名的人对他发起了一系列恶毒的攻击。

对他的指控包括:侵占“交趾支那的瓦卡瓦克”一位寡妇和一群孤儿的香蕉种植地;诽谤现任州长的已故祖父。吐温用他特有的幽默感作为文章的结尾:

我拿不定主意了——真的拿不定主意了。最后,党派斗争的积怨对我的无耻迫害达到了自然而然的高潮:有人教唆9个刚刚在学走路的包括各种不同肤色、穿着各种各样的破烂衣服的小孩,冲到一次民众大会的讲台上来,紧紧抱住我的双腿,叫我做爸爸!

我放弃了竞选。我降下旗帜投降。我不够竞选纽约州州长运动所要求的条件,所以,我呈递上退出候选人的声明,并怀着痛苦的心情签上我的名字:

“你忠实的朋友,过去是正派人,现在却成了I.P.、M.T.、B.S.、D.T.、F.C.和 L.E的马克•吐温。”

吐温对于美国选举过程讽刺的对象还包括媒体扮演的角色,媒体给他这个虚拟的候选人强加了很多绰号,吐温在文章的结尾提到了这些绰号:伪证犯、小偷、拐尸犯、酒疯子、贿赂犯和讹诈犯。

(草草浏览过《纽约时报》的档案,发现的确无法否认吐温对媒体的态度。1870年10月1日,《纽约时报》为了支持纽约州长共和党候选人,贴出了一幅纽约市世界末日的景象图片——如果现任民主党州长连任,“街道将被无赖和杀人犯占据,中央公园是来自第四和第六监狱的流浪汉的捕猎场所!”他最终的确成功连任。)

批判美国的《竞选州长》作者本身就是一个备受推崇的美国人,这就是中国人对此趋之若鹜的原因。1949年共和国成立之后,它被选为全国中学生的必读文章,其它必读文章还包括一些被认为具有反对西方、反对资本主义、提倡社会主义教育性质的作品。

Selina Lai是香港大学美国研究系的讲师,她正在写一本名为《马克•吐温在中国》的书。她说:“《竞选州长》之所以在美国很少要求学生阅读,主要原因是它讽刺了美国政治腐败令人尴尬的现实,因此它顺理成章地成为中国课堂中极受欢迎的教学材料。”

教师们被要求强调故事中反对资本主义的主题思想,而不需要深入研究文章的表现方式。网络上一份有关《竞选州长》的教学手册中提到:“故事的中心思想已经超越了那个时代,今天依然和从前一样,这是资产阶级民主欺骗性和虚伪性的典型教材。”

过去30多年里,我的叔叔王力峰在陕西省一所乡村学校中,按照教学大纲教授《竞选州长》。在1970年底市场经济改革之前,教室的条件非常简陋,风从泥墙的漏洞里灌进来,教师和学生们的教学资源极为匮乏。

尽管如此,王先生非常乐于回忆教授《竞选州长》的过程,他的课程还包括其它一些被认为批判社会不公正现象的文章,比如居伊•德•莫泊桑的《我的叔叔于勒》和安东•契诃夫的《变色龙》。王先生已经退休,但依然在务农。《竞选州长》是他最喜欢的文章之一,不仅仅因为它其中的幽默和对中国社会主义制度的间接认可,还因为吐温也是一个自学成才的人,他懂得“生活在社会底层”的感受。

王先生住在石槽村,距西安市一小时车程。他在电话里说:“吐温了解人们的幸福、不幸、痛苦和艰难,他就生活在那样的环境中,他就是那个阶层的人。”

在《竞选州长》被中国追捧之前,中国人就已经了解了吐温的社会批判倾向。尽管他的很多口语式幽默无法很好地通过中文翻译来表达,但他那种未经雕琢的讽刺、与他在自己国家中看到的无处不在的不公平不正义现象持续斗争的愿望,激励了很多20世纪初的中国著名作家和思想家。他也是一名狂热的反帝国主义战士,他曾经宣布自己也是义和团成员,支持1900年中国反抗外国人的暴力起义。

1960年,中国著名作家老舍在纪念吐温逝世50周年的仪式上讲话,他称赞吐温是“美国杰出的现实主义批判作家”,是一个被美国人贬损为搞笑大王的社会批判家。

斯坦福大学吐温研究专家和英文系教授Shelley Fisher Fishkin说,直到现在,吐温依然被美国人认为更是一个幽默大师,而不是一个讽刺作家和社会批判人士。这样的说法并非空穴来风。

Fishkin教授用冷战时期的语气说:“在某种程度上,我们把孩子和洗澡水一起泼掉了。”这是未能正确评价吐温成就的主要原因。她说,就像中国以同样的原因推崇吐温的社会评论和批判贡献一样,美国有意对这方面轻描淡写。

2003年,政府机构人民教育出版社把《竞选州长》列为选读文章。福州大学的苏教授说,这个决定或许反映了政府态度的转变,因为他们意识到莽撞地抵制西方,在今天的中国没有太大的效果,中国自身也暴露出越来越多的腐败和奢华行为,就像马克•吐温和查尔斯•杜德立•华纳合著的小说《镀金时代:今天的故事》中描写的一样。

坦率地说,吐温去世后100多年的美国今天,他对于伪善、无知和贪婪的嘲讽——包括《竞选州长》——仍然具有现实意义。Fishkin教授说:“用讽刺来批判社会、表现社会弊端的吐温,是对今天的我们有无比重要意义的吐温。”




原文:

There are few authors regarded as quintessentially American as Mark Twain. With his preternatural gift for capturing vernacular expression and his roguish wit, Twain is still widely seen as the founder of the American voice. More than a century after his death, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Twain’s most celebrated work, remains a mainstay of middle school and high school English classes. Ernest Hemingway famously declared it the book from which “all modern American literature comes.”

Twain’s writings have won him literary fame in China as well. Although “Huckleberry Finn,” with more than 90 different translations in Chinese, is a favorite, a large portion of Twain’s popularity in China derives in fact from another, much more obscure work: a short story called “Running for Governor.”

A humorous account of Twain’s fictional candidacy in the 1870 New York gubernatorial election, “Running for Governor” was taught alongside the writings by Mao Zedong and other prominent Chinese thinkers and literary figures in middle schools across China for more than 40 years. In this time, it was read by several generations and millions of Chinese, making Mark Twain one of the best-known foreign writers in China and “Running for Governor” one of his best-known works.

“Just about anyone who has had a middle-school education in China knows Mark Twain and ‘Running for Governor,’ ” Su Wenjing, a comparative literature professor at Fuzhou University, said in a telephone interview. “And everyone remembers the specific cultural moment and social critique represented in the story, this is certain.”

Published in the literary magazine Galaxy just after the New York gubernatorial election in 1870, “Running for Governor” is a satire that takes aim at what Twain saw as the hypocrisy of the American electoral process and the dog-eat-dog nature of party politics. In the brief yet imaginative sketch, Twain finds himself nominated to run for New York governor on an independent ticket, only to be overwhelmed by a slew of false ad hominem attacks from several unnamed accusers.

In the face of charges that he had, among other things, robbed a poor widow and her family of a small plantain patch in “Wakawak, Cochin China,” as well as slandered the incumbent governor’s dead grandfather, Twain concludes the story with his characteristic élan:

I was wavering — wavering. And at last, as a due and fitting climax to the shameless persecution that party rancor had inflicted upon me, nine little toddling children of all shades of color and degrees of raggedness were taught to rush on to the platform at a public meeting and clasp me around the legs and call me PA!

I gave up. I hauled down my colors and surrendered. I was not equal to the requirements of a Gubernatorial campaign in the State of New York, and so I sent in my withdrawal from the candidacy, and in bitterness of spirit signed it,

Truly yours,
Once a decent man, but now
MARK TWAIN, I.P., M.T., B.S., D.T., F.C., and L.E.


Included in Twain’s satirical roast of the American electoral process was the role played by the press, which over the course of his fictional candidacy bestowed upon him the various nicknames to which Twain makes reference at the end of the story: Infamous Perjurer, Montana Thief, Body Snatcher, Delirium Tremens, Filthy Corruptionist and Loathsome EmbrACer.

(A cursory examination of the New York Times’s archives does not disprove Twain’s view of the theatricality of the press. In its Oct. 1, 1870 statement of support for the Republican challenger in the real-life New York gubernatorial race, The Times painted a doomsday scenario for New York City — “the streets given over to rowdies and murderers, the Central Park made the hunting-ground of the castaways of the Fourth and Sixth Wards!” – in the event of victory by the incumbent Democrat, who in the end did in fact win.)

That “Running for Governor” was a critique of the United States written by an American as highly esteemed as Twain was precisely what made it so appealing to the Chinese. Soon after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, it was selected as a required reading for middle school students across the country along with other short stories that were seen to reinforce the anti-Western, anti-capitalist, socialist education agenda.

“One of the major reasons why  ’Running for Governor’ is rarely taught in the U.S. is because it satirizes the embarrassing corrupt political community in the U.S. that Twain saw at the time,” said Selina Lai, a lecturer in American Studies at Hong Kong University who is currently writing a book titled “Mark Twain in China.” “Not surprisingly, that makes it an extremely popular piece to teach in Chinese classrooms.”

Teachers were instructed to emphasize the anti-capitalist message of the story prior to any considerations of the story’s style or form. “The ideas in this story extend far beyond the era in which it takes place,” reads a popular teacher’s guide for “Running for Governor” that is available online. “Today, it is still as before: A good lesson in the sham and deception of the democracy of the capitalist classes.”

For more than 30 years, my uncle, Wang Lifeng, taught “Running for Governor” in accordance with these guidelines in a small village school in rural Shaanxi Province. Classroom conditions, particularly before the market-oriented economic changes that began in the late 1970s, were poor, with drafty mud-walled classrooms and few resources for either teachers or students.

Nonetheless, Mr. Wang fondly recalls teaching “Running for Governor” along with other stories deemed suitably critical of social injustice, such as Guy de Maupassant’s “My Uncle Jules” and Anton Chekhov’s “A Chameleon.” But for Mr. Wang, who is retired from teaching but still farms wheat and corn, “Running for Governor” is a favorite, not only because of its humor or its supposed vindication of the Chinese socialist system, but because Twain himself was someone who, as a self-taught, self-made man, knew what it was like to “live in the lower rungs of society.”

“Twain understood the happiness and unhappiness of the people, their pains and difficulties,” Mr. Wang said by telephone from his home in Shicao, a village about a one-hour drive from the city of Xi’an. “He lived in that environment. He was at that level.”

Even before “Running for Governor” became popular in China, Twain’s reputation in China as a social critic had been cemented. Though his colloquial humor did not always translate well into Chinese, his unaffected satires and consistent willingness to take on what he saw as the pervasive inequality and injustice in his own country endeared Twain to many of the most prominent writers and thinkers of early 20th-century China. A fervent anti-imperialist, he even famously once pronounced himself a Boxer in support of the violent nationalistic uprising against foreigners in China in 1900.

In a speech delivered in 1960 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Twain’s death, the eminent Chinese writer Lao She hailed Twain as an “outstanding writer of critical realism in the United States” and a bracing social critic who had been reduced by Americans to a figure who told jokes.

That Twain was until recently remembered more as a humorist than as a satirist or social critic in the United States is not inaccurate, said Shelley Fisher Fishkin, an English professor and expert on Twain at Stanford University.

“In a sense we threw out the baby with the bath water,” said Professor Fishkin, citing the imperatives of the Cold War as a major reason for the distortion of Twain’s more serious accomplishments. For much the same reasons that China played up Twain’s social commentary and critiques of imperialism, the United States, she said, played them down.

“Running for Governor” was moved to the optional reading list by the state-run People’s Education Press in 2003. That decision, said Professor Su of Fuzhou University, may be a reflection of the government’s realization that blunt, anti-Western propagandistic messages are no longer so effective in today’s China, which has itself increasingly come to exhibit the corruption and garish excess documented in “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today,” the novel Twain co-wrote with Charles Dudley Warner.

But it does not diminish the fact that today in the United States, more than a hundred years after Twain’s death, many of his critiques of hypocrisy, ignorance and greed — “Running for Governor” included — still ring true. “Twain the social critic who uses satire to skewer his society’s foibles is a Twain that is increasingly of value to us today,” Professor Fishkin said.

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发表于 2014-1-18 07:04 | 显示全部楼层
感谢楼主翻译精彩文章,有社会研究价值!
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发表于 2014-1-19 12:42 | 显示全部楼层
楼主辛苦
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发表于 2014-1-22 05:57 | 显示全部楼层
学习了!
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发表于 2014-1-25 07:37 | 显示全部楼层
谢谢楼主
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发表于 2014-1-29 11:31 | 显示全部楼层
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发表于 2014-1-29 12:48 | 显示全部楼层
马克吐温这类人在如今美国的知名度绝对比不上雷迪嘎嘎之类的文体娱乐明星,当然这是全球通病或者进步的体现,
尽管作者最后一段来了个坦率的转折,就好像忘了他前面给Fishkin贴的冷战语气的标签,这倒让人好奇究竟是谁才更冷战思维点。。。
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发表于 2014-1-29 16:51 | 显示全部楼层
wenzh楼主要表达什么
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发表于 2014-6-15 17:46 | 显示全部楼层
感谢
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发表于 2014-6-22 11:15 | 显示全部楼层
《竞选州长》是吐温用诙谐的语气讲述他虚拟参加1870年纽约州长选举的故事,这篇文章和毛泽东的著作,以及中国其他著名思想家、文学家的作品一起,在中国各地的中学里被教授了40年。几代、数百万中国人读过这篇文章,让马克•吐温成为中国最知名的外国作家,《竞选州长》也成为他最著名的作品。
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发表于 2014-10-21 14:09 | 显示全部楼层
楼主翻译了一篇好文章。
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发表于 2016-3-4 13:53 | 显示全部楼层
强烈支持,楼主万岁!
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现在的年轻人根本就不读这种书
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