毛姆:阅读是一所随身携带的小型避难所| 双语阅读

写在前面

「阅读是一所随身携带的小型避难所」是毛姆一句流传甚广的名言。最近在看原著,才发现原文是这样写的:

「To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. 

培养阅读的习惯能够为你筑造一座避难所,让你逃脱几乎人世间的所有悲哀。」

 

或许是先入为主的原因,总觉得那句中文更有意境一些。
最近工作特别忙碌,压力大到爆棚。白天忙着答疑、对接沟通各种工作细节,待到晚上手机终于彻底安静下来,才拥有了一整块时间,一个人坐在书房里一遍又一遍打磨文章,直到深夜。
虽然身体已经很疲惫了,但临睡前还是会习惯性地翻开一本小书,读上一两段,心才彻底沉静下来。这漫无目的地阅读的30分钟,是我一天中最宁静平和的时刻,也是唯一仅属于我一个人的时刻。
阅读的确像是一座小型避难所,把我从工作中短暂地抽离出来,全身心地沉浸在作者书写的故事里,所有的焦虑、疲惫、压力都被暂时抛诸脑后。
每当这样的夜晚,我总是想起开头毛姆的那句名言,于是下单买来了他的读书随笔集《阅读是一座随身携带的避难所》。读罢第一篇散文,就忍不住拍案叫绝,想着一定要分享给学生看一看。

这周终于整理好了双语版,分享给同学们,跟毛姆学一学如何阅读,如何享受阅读。
 

读书应该是一种享受

 

作者 毛姆

译者 罗长利

 

One isn't always as careful of what one says as one should be. When I stated in a book of mine called The Summing Up that young people often came to me for advice on the books they would do well to read, I did not reckon with the consequences. I received a multitude of letters from all manner of persons, asking me what the advice was that I gave. I answered them as best I could, but it is not possible to deal fully with such a matter in a private letter; and as many people seem to desire such guidance as I can offer, it has occurred to me that they might like to have a brief account of what suggestions I have to make from my own experience for pleasant and profitable reading.

一个人并不是总能像他应该做到的那样出语谨慎。我曾在《总结》一书中写道,一些年轻人经常询问我关于如何读书的意见,那时我并没有考虑到这一点的后果。后来我收到了各式各样读者的来信,他们都想知道我给出的建议究竟是什么。我倾尽所能地回复他们,然而想在私人信件中说清楚这件事,到底是不太现实的。鉴于有如此多的人想要这样一份引导,那么我根据自己对娱乐性阅读和普及知识类阅读的经验,简要地发表一下看法,也许他们是愿意听的。
  • reckon with sth to consider sth as a possible problem that you should be prepared for 料想到,考虑到
  • a multitude of sb / sth an extremely large number of things or people 大批的;众多的
  • all manner of sth many different types of people or things 各种各样的;形形色色的(人,东西等)
  • It occurs to sb that... 某人想起了某事
  • account [əˈkaʊnt] n. an explanation or a description of an idea, a theory or a process (思想、理论、过程的)解释,说明,叙述
The first thing I want to insist on is that reading should be enjoyable. Of course, there are many books that we all have to read, either to pass examinations or to acquire information, from which it is impossible to extract enjoyment. We are reading them for instruction, and the best we can hope is that our need for it will enable us to get through them without tedium. Such books we read with resignation rather than with alacrity. But that is not the sort of reading I have in mind. The books I shall mention in due course will help you neither to get a degree nor to earn your living, they will not teach you to sail a boat or get a stalled motor to run, but they will help you to live more fully. That, however, they cannot do unless you enjoy reading them.
我想要指明的第一件事就是阅读应当是享受的。当然,为了应对考试或学习知识,我们需要阅读许多书,这类阅读中是不存在什么享受的。我们只是为了获得知识而进行阅读。唯一能做的便是祈祷因为我们需要它,所以我们不至于在通读它的过程中觉得乏味。对于这类书,我们是不得已才会去阅读它们的,而不是乐意去读。这种阅读不是我心中所指的那种阅读。我接下来要提到的书籍既不会帮你拿到学位,也不会教你谋生的本事;不会教你如何航船,也不会教你如何修理停运的机器,但是这些书会让你活得更加丰满。当然,要让这些书籍起到这样的作用,你得享受地沉浸在阅读中。
  • extract [ˈekstrækt] v. to get a particular feeling or quality from a situation 获得,得到(某种感觉或品质)
  • tedium [ˈti:diəm] n. boring and frustrating 枯燥无聊
  • resignation [ˌrezɪɡˈneɪʃn] n. the acceptance of an unpleasant situation or fact because you realize that you cannot change it 无奈的顺从
  • alacrity [əˈlækrəti] n. great willingness and enthusiasm 欣然;乐意
  • in due course 在适当的时候
  • stall [stɔ:l] v.  The process stops but may continue at a later time. 使暂停; 暂停
  • live more fully 活得更加充
  
The "you" I address is the adult whose avocations give him a certain leisure and who would like to read the books which cannot without loss be left unread. I do not address the bookworm. He can find his own way. His curiosity leads him along many unfrequented paths and he gathers delight in the discovery of half-forgotten excellence. I wish to deal only with the masterpieces which the consensus of opinion for a long time has accepted as supreme. We are all supposed to have read them; it is a pity that so few of us have. But there are masterpieces which are acknowledged to be such by all the best critics and to which the historians of literature devote considerable space, yet which no ordinary person can now read with enjoyment. They are important to the student, but changing times and changing tastes have robbed them of their savour and it is hard to read them now without an effort of will. Let me give one instance: I have read George Eliot's Adam Bede, but I cannot put my hand on my heart and say that it was with pleasure. I read it from a sense of duty: I finished it with a sigh of relief.

这里的“你”是指工作之外有所闲暇并愿意阅读的成年人。对于这类人而言,不读某些书会有点太可惜了。我并非是指书虫,因为书虫自有自己的阅读方式。他的好奇心将会带他去往很多新奇的路径,在这趟阅读之旅中,他的乐趣是找到那些近乎被遗忘的优秀作品。我希望向大家介绍一些长时间被公认为佳作的作品。通常认为几乎所有人都读过这些作品,但是遗憾的是真正读过这些作品的人寥寥无几。

确实有一些作品,它们被所有优秀的批评家所称道,文史学家们也贡献出不少精力去研究它们,却没有普通人能够在享受中读这类作品。这类作品对于学者来说很重要,但是变换的时间和品味剥去了作品的味道,所以读者在阅读的时候也只好耐着性子。我来举一个例子,我读过乔治·艾略特的《亚当·比德》,但我不能摸着胸口说在阅读的过程中是享受的。我读完这部作品是出于责任感,当我读完最后一页的时候,心中长舒了一口气。
  • address [ə’dres] v. to say sth directly to sb 向…说话
  • avocation [,ævəkeɪʃn] n. a job or activity that you do because you are interested in 业余爱好; 嗜好
  • leisure [ˈli:ʒər] n. the time when you are not working and you can relax and do things that you enjoy 空闲时间
  • masterpiece [ˈmæstərpi:s] n. an extremely good painting, novel, film, or other work of art 杰作
  • consensus [kənˈsensəs] n. general agreement among a group of people 共识
  • supreme [su:ˈpri:m] adj. highest in rank or position (级别或地位)最高的,至高无上的
  • rob sb of sth to prevent sb having sth that they need or deserve 剥夺(某人所需或应得之物)
  • savourseɪvər] n. a taste or smell, especially a pleasant one (尤指美好的)味道,气味,滋味
  • an effort of will a determined effort to do something you do not want to do) 意志力
Now of such books as this I mean to say nothing. Every man is his own best critic. Whatever the learned say about a book, however unanimous they are in their praise of it, unless it interests you it is no business of yours. Don't forget that critics often make mistakes, the history of criticism is full of the blunders the most eminent of them have made, and you who read are the final judge of the value to you of the book you are reading. This, of course, applies to the books I am going to recommend to your attention. We are none of us exactly like everyone else, only rather like, and it would be unreasonable to suppose that the books that have meant a great deal to me should be precisely those that will mean a great deal to you. But they are books that I feel the richer for having read, and I think I should not be quite the man I am if I had not read them. And so I beg of you, if any of you who read these pages are tempted to read the books I suggest and cannot get on with them, just put them down; they will be of no service to you if you do not enjoy them. No one is under an obligation to read poetry or fiction or the miscellaneous literature which is classed as belles-lettres. (I wish I knew the English term for this, but I don't think there is one.) He must read them for pleasure, and who can claim that what pleases one man must necessarily please another?

这类让人在阅读中难以产生阅读兴趣的书我没什么可说的。每位读者自己都是最好的批判家。不管学者们对一本书的评价如何,不管他们是多么一致地对一本书盛赞,要是你对这本书不感兴趣的话,你就不必去理会这本书。不要忘了批评家们也经常犯错误,在过往的批判史里,那些知名的批判家所犯的愚蠢错误比比皆是。你才是对你手中所读书籍的价值的最终评判者,这一点当然也适用于接下来我将给你们推荐的书。

我们每一个人都不尽然相同,即便有所相似,我认为的那些于我而言很有价值的书籍对你而言却不一定如此有价值。但是我想提到的这些书籍的确让我在阅读之后知道了更多东西,如果不是阅读过它们,我想我也不会是今日的我。所以我请求你,如果你们其中的任何一个人是因为我的推荐才读这些书的,那么我建议你们合上这些书;如果你不享受着去阅读的话,它们只会对你毫无益处。没有人必须要去读些诗歌、小说,以及那些被列为“纯文学”的书籍(belles-lettres是法语中对纯文学统称的一个术语,我希望英语中也有这样一个术语,但就我所知并没有),必须带着愉悦去阅读才行。但谁又能保证能带给一个人愉悦的书籍就一定能让另一个人愉悦呢?
  • unanimous [juˈnænɪməs] adj. When a group of people are unanimous, they all agree about something or all vote for the same thing. 一致同意的
  • blunder [ˈblʌndər] n.  a stupid or careless mistake 愚蠢错误
  • eminent [ˈemɪnənt] adj. well-known and respected person especially with great profession. 卓越的; 有名望的
  • be tempted to do sth to be attracted to do sth, even if they know it is wrong被引诱去做,打算做
  • get on with sth to continue doing sth 继续做某事
  • be of no service to sb to not be useful or helpful 对某人毫无用处
  • be under an obligation to do sth to do something which you must do because you have promised, because of a law etc. 有义务做某事
  • miscellaneous [ˌmɪsəˈleɪniəs] adj. consisting of many different kinds of things or people that are difficult to put into a particular category 各式各样的
  • belles-lettres [ˌbel ˈletrə] n. literary works, esp essays and poetry, valued for their aesthetic rather than their informative or moral content 纯文学; 文学作品,尤指散文和诗歌,因其审美而非信息道德内容受重视
  • please [pli:z] v. to make you feel happy and satisfied 使高兴; 讨好
But let no one think that pleasure is immoral. Pleasure in itself is a great good, all pleasure, but its consequences may be such that the sensible person eschews certain varieties of it. Nor need pleasure be gross and sensual. They are wise in their generation who have discovered that intellectual pleasure is the most satisfying and the most enduring. It is well to acquire the habit of reading. There are few sports in which you can engage to your own satisfaction after you have passed the prime of life; there are no games except patience, chess problems and crossword puzzles that you can play without someone to play them with you. Reading suffers from no such disadvantages; there is no occupation—except perhaps needlework, but that leaves the restless spirit at liberty—which you can more easily take up at any moment, for any period, and more easily put aside when other calls press upon you; there is no other amusement that can be obtained in these happy days of public libraries and cheap editions at so small a cost. To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. Almost all, I say, for I would not go so far as to pretend that to read a book will assuage the pangs of hunger or still the pain of unrequited love; but half a dozen good detective stories and a hot-water bottle will enable anyone to snap his fingers at the worst cold in the head. But who is going to acquire the habit of reading for reading's sake, if he is bidden to read books that bore him?

请不要认为这种愉悦是不道德的。愉悦本身是好的,它就是纯粹的愉悦,但是某些愉悦有时会带来不好的后果,因而明智的人会主动避开某些愉悦。愉悦不一定就是肤浅的和满足感官的。各个时代的智者都已发现,获取知识的快乐是最让人满意的,也是最为持久的。所以保持阅读习惯是非常好的。在度过了生命的黄金年华之后,你会发现你能欣然参与的活动已为数不多。除了象棋、填字游戏,几乎没有一种你一个人就能玩起来的游戏。

但是阅读就不一样了,它丝毫不会让你有这种困扰。没有哪一项活动可以像读书一样——除了针线活,但它并不能平复你焦躁的心情——能随时开始,随便读多久,当有人找你时也可以随时搁下。没有其他娱乐项目比阅读更省钱了,你在公共图书馆的那些愉快日子和阅读廉价版图书时的愉快体验正好说明了这一点。培养阅读的习惯能够为你筑造一座避难所,让你逃脱几乎人世间的所有悲哀。我说“几乎”,是因为我不想夸张到说阅读能缓解饥饿的痛苦,或者平复你单相思的愁闷。但是一些好的侦探小说和一个热水袋,便能让你不在乎最严重的感冒的不适。相反,如果有人必须读那些使他觉得无味的书,谁会养成为了阅读而阅读的习惯呢?

  • eschew [ɪsˈtʃu:] v. to deliberately avoid doing sth or becoming involved in sth 避免
  • gross [ɡroʊs] adj. very unpleasant 不雅的
  • sensual [ˈsenʃuəl] adj. giving pleasure to your physical senses rather than to your mind 愉悦感官的
  • enduring [ɪnˈdʊrɪŋ] adj. lasting for a long time 持久的
  • acquire the habit of sth/doing sth 养成…的习惯
  • engage [ɪnˈɡeɪdʒ] v. to do an activity or are actively involved with it 从事
  • prime [praɪm] n. the time in your life when you are strongest or most successful 盛年;鼎盛时期
  • crossword puzzles 填字游戏
  • occupation [ˌɑ:kjuˈpeɪʃn] n. something that you spend time doing, either for pleasure or because it needs to be done 消遣
  • press upon sth 压迫
  • construct [kənˈstrʌkt] v. to form sth by putting different things together 组成;构建
  • go so far as to do sth  to be willing to go to extreme or surprising limits in dealing with something 至于;甚至
  • assuage [əˈsweɪdʒ] v. to make an unpleasant feeling less severe 缓和;减轻
  • pang [pæŋ] n. a sudden strong feeling or emotion突然的痛苦; 突然的剧痛
  • unrequited love  love not returned by the person that you love 暗恋;单恋
  • detective [dɪˈtektɪv] adj.  A detective novel or story is one in which a detective tries to solve a crime. 侦探的
  • bid [bɪd] v. to tell sb to do sth 告诉(某人做某事);吩咐
  • bore [bɔ:r] v. to make sb feel bored, especially by talking too much 使厌烦
It is more convenient to take the books of which I am now going to speak in chronological order, but I can see no reason why, if you make up your mind to read them, you should do so in that order. I think you would be much better advised to read them according to your fancy; nor do I see even why you should read them one by one. For my own part, I find it more agreeable to read four or five books together. After all, you aren't in the same mood on one day as on another, nor have you the same eagerness to read a certain book at all hours of the day. We must suit ourselves in these matters, and I have naturally adopted the plan that best suits me. In the morning before I start work I read for a while a book, either of science or philosophy, that requires a fresh and attentive brain. It sets me off for the day. Later on, when my work is done and I feel at ease, but not inclined for mental exercise of a strenuous character, I read history, essays, criticism or biography; and in the evening I read a novel. Besides these, I keep on hand a volume of poetry in case I feel in the mood for that, and by my bedside I have one of those books, too rarely to be found, alas, which you can dip into at any place and stop reading with equanimity at the end of any paragraph.

下面我将按照年代顺序来谈我想要提到的书,这样更便利些。当然,如果你决心要读这些书籍,也没有必要一定按照这个次序。在我看来,最好是按照你个人的喜好来阅读这些书,甚至不一定要读完一本再读一本。就我而言,同时阅读四到五本书会更符合我的阅读习惯。毕竟,你每天的情绪都不同,就算在一天内,你也不会每时每刻都想要去阅读某本书。我们必须让自己适应这些问题,而我逐渐养成了最适合自己的读书习惯。

在早上,当我工作之前,我会先看一会儿哲学类或科普类的书籍,阅读这类书籍需要一个清醒和专注的头脑,这样做能激起我一整天的活力。当我的工作完成之后,我便想要放松。此时我倾向读一些历史、散文、批判性文章和一些传记类作品,以使我的大脑放松。除了这些,我还在手头放着一些诗集,以便我随时兴起想要翻一翻。我的床边也放着一些书,可以随时开始翻阅,也可以随时在读完哪一段后放下,不过,这样的书太少见了。

  • chronological [ˌkrɑ:nəˈlɑ:dʒɪkl] adj.  described or shown in the order in which sth happened 按时间顺序排列的
  • you would be well advised to do sth 强烈建议你做某事
  • fancy [ˈfænsi] n. a feeling that you would like to have or to do sth 喜好
  • for my own part as far as I am concerned 拿我自己来说
  • agreeable [əˈɡri:əbl] adj. pleasant and try to please people 讨人喜欢的
  • eagerness [ˈi:ɡərnəs] n. a positive feeling of wanting to push ahead with something 渴望;热心
  • set sb off to make somebody start doing something使某人开始做某事
  • at ease relaxed and confident and not nervous or embarrassed 安逸,自由自在;舒适
  • strenuous [ˈstrenjuəs] adj. needing great effort and energy 费力的;繁重的
  • alas [əˈlæs] used to show you are sad or sorry (表示悲伤或遗憾)哎呀,唉
  • dip into sth to read or watch only parts of something 翻看
  • equanimity [ˌekwəˈnɪməti] n. a calm state of mind and attitude to life that you never lose your temper or become upset 平静; 坦然
 

原文始发于(独霸上海的妖怪):毛姆:阅读是一所随身携带的小型避难所| 双语阅读