論仙境奇譚

鄧嘉宛 2020-06-11 17:44:48

整整一個月過去,我都在和托老的〈論仙境奇譚〉(On Fairy-stories)奮戰。每天進度勉強達到1400字,真是苦不堪言。目前有三個朋友是我求助的對象:一位專職翻譯的哲學博士,一位高校英語教師,一位美國某大學教翻譯的教授(研究托爾金多年)。我在他們的幫助下龜速前進,希望能順利將托老這篇曠世傑作完整呈現給中文讀者。

先貼一段給大家欣賞。

语文学已经从学术殿堂的王位上被赶下台了。我们可以毫无遗憾地抛弃马克斯·穆勒(Max Müller)将神话视为“语言之疾病”的看法。神话绝不是疾病,尽管它可能像人类所有的文明创造一样都患了病。按这逻辑,你也可以说思考是一种心灵的疾病。若说语言,尤其是现代欧洲语言,是神话之疾病,可能更接近事实。但是,语言仍然不能被等闲视之。在我们这个世界,有血有肉的心思、言语和传说,都是同时存在的。人心天生具有概括和抽象的能力,它不仅看见绿草,将它与其他东西区分开来(并发现它看起来很漂亮),同时还看见绿的。这种形容词的发明何等强大,何等鼓舞了创造它的心灵——仙境中没有任何咒语能比它更强而有力。假使有一天我们发现这些咒语都不过是另一种形式的形容词,是神话语法中的一个词类,我也不会感到惊讶。那个想出轻盈、沉重、灰黯、金黄、静止、迅捷等形容词的心灵,同样也构想出了能使重物轻盈飞翔、让灰铅化成黄金,把静止的岩石变成湍急流水的魔法。人心能知其一,必能知其二;而它也确实两者都做到了。当我们能将翠绿从草抽离,将蔚蓝从天空抽离,将殷红从鲜血中抽离时,我们在某个层面上就已经拥有了一种幻术师的法力;而在我们心灵之外的世界中运用这种力量的欲望也会被唤醒。但这不意味我们能在任何层面上将这种法力运用自如。在故事里,我们可以让一张人脸透出骇人的死绿;让罕见可畏的蓝月发光;或使树林中银叶飞舞,让羊群长出金羊毛,并在冷血的龙腹中装满炽热的烈火。然而,就在这所谓的“幻想”里,新的艺术形式诞生了;仙境开始了;人类就此成为次创造者。

Philology has been dethroned from the high place it once had in this court of inquiry. Max Müller’s view of mythology as a ‘disease of language’ can be abandoned without regret. Mythology is not a disease at all, though it may like all human things become diseased. You might as well say that thinking is a disease of the mind. It would be more near the truth to say that languages, especially modern European languages, are a disease of mythology. But Language cannot, all the same, be dismissed. The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval. The human mind, endowed with the powers of generalisation and abstraction, sees not only green-grass, discriminating it from other things (and finding it fair to look upon), but sees that it is green as well as being grass. But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective: no spell or incantation in Faërie is more potent. And that is not surprising: such incantations might indeed be said to be only another view of adjectives, a part of speech in a mythical grammar. The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and able to fly, turn grey lead into yellow gold, and the still rock into a swift water. If it could do the one, it could do the other; it inevitably did both. When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven, and red from blood, we have already an enchanter’s power – upon one plane; and the desire to wield that power in the world external to our minds awakes. It does not follow that we shall use that power well upon any plane. We may put a deadly green upon a man’s face and produce a horror; we may make the rare and terrible blue moon to shine; or we may cause woods to spring with silver leaves and rams to wear fleeces of gold, and put hot fire into the belly of the cold worm. But in such ‘fantasy’, as it is called, new form is made; Faërie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator.

留言鼓勵我一下唄。

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