来自: Jacob(The joy of art has no limit.) 2016-07-31 21:06:13

  • Jacob

    Jacob (The joy of art has no limit.) 2016-08-08 20:06:58

    [ZT] From: Epiphany

    关于美国作家Gore Vidal, 陆谷孙教授来信回忆70年代初因为尼克松访华, 他奉命翻译Vidal's play "An Evening with Richard Nixon":

    i made my first acquaintance with V in the early 1970s when i was called upon to translate his screenplay "an evening with Nixon". (the bigwigs here were prepared to receive Nixon.) and i've since grown interested in him, especially his little read suspense novels and, above all, of course his essays. you said you do not care for V's political writings much. but i think to study him in any seriousness one has to take his politics, his rooting for homosexuality, etc into account. language-wise, teaching him, sometimes i used the following quote by way of comment:

    "A complete, pretzel-shaped sentence by M.F.K. Fisher, Gore Vidal, or Mary McCarthy shows that the writer is still hearing whispers of Latin and has had an old-fashioned 'good education.' Indeed, now that the dictional distinction between the formal and the informal essay has been somewhat eroded, we are as likely to encounter a slightly mannered, baroque, 'dressed up' language in contemporary personal essayists (See Baldwin, Vidal, McCarthy) as in their formal counterparts."

    hopefully the quote is useful.

    我写信问陆教授, 他翻译的作品在何处发表。他回信说他的译作一开始就不以发表为目的, 而只是给"top leaders"作参考。那时候脑力劳动的巨大浪费, 令人惊讶。

    "no, my translation was not for publication in the first place. only the top leaders wanted to know about how Nixon flipflopped. Vidal was being funny using N's own words which are often at odds with each other as circumstances vary. a political satire."

    陆教授来信的引文中提到Gore Vidal(还有Mary McCarthy)写的句子是pretzel-shaped, 我并不赞同。其实Henry James的句子倒是pretzel-shaped。虽然Vidal认为James是美国最好的三位小说家("our three finest novelists")之一(另外两位是Edith Wharton和Vladimir Nabokov), 但他的风格和James的风格相差很大。所以我写信给陆教授, 提出"抗议"。


    I don't think Gore Vidal's sentences in his essays can be called pretzel-shaped, if this means that his sentences are convoluted, like pretzels, with links and loops. A Proust's sentence, yes, but Vidal's, I have some doubts. Ditto for Mary McCarthy's. Actually, her sentences in her essays are limpid (but not simple-minded), when they are put beside some turbid ones by her friend Hannah Arendt.

    My impression is that Gore Vidal aspires, in his essays, after the examples of Edmund Wilson and V. S. Pritchett in their literary journalism, not after the academic critics whose writings he has found to be unintelligent and unintelligible. Normally his sentences in print are straightforward, even if he is gay in his private life. For the sake of parody he may sound Jamesian occasionally, but Henry James is not the model upon whom to fit the dress of his prose.

    I remain grateful to Vidal for his splendid resurrection of the long-forgotten American author Dawn Powell, the best comic writer, in his opinion, of the last century in the United States. Here I am referring to his long essay entitled "Dawn Powell: The American Writer," originally published in The New York Review of Books on November 5, 1987. Powell died in 1965, but in the interval of mere 22 years, her name had been so completely erased from literary history that hardly any one suspected that she had ever lived and penned a number of wonderful novels. Vidal's essay on her behalf has restored her to the permanent shelf in the Library of America.

    I don't know if Vidal has been in China before for a visit. Perhaps Fudan's Foreign Languages School can invite him over to give a talk or two on campus.

  • Jacob

    Jacob (The joy of art has no limit.) 2016-09-17 09:09:28

    [ZT] From: Epiphany



    “依照莎士比亚戏里王子汉姆雷德(Hamlet)骂他未婚妻的话,女子化妆打扮,也是爱面子而不要脸(God has given thou one face,but you make yourself another)。”


    End of quote. 关于钱钟书这个原创性见解(Ophelia是Hamlet的"未婚妻"), 我写信请教陆教授。他来信明确否认:




    Thank you so much for your kind clarification. Ophelia's father Polonius objects strongly to her association with Hamlet; he does not even want her to "give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet" (Act 1, Scene 3).

    It's well-nigh impossible for Ophelia to be formally engaged to Hamlet without her father's approval, for she is such an obedient daughter and she "did repel his letters and denied [h]is access to [her]" (Act 2, Scene 1).

    When Gertrude says, "I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife" (Act 5, Scene 1), it's just her wishful thinking and does not indicate that Ophelia was officially Hamlet's fiancée.


    your quotes are exactly what i meant in the last email message. and you may want to throw in Laertes's "his will is not his own" and so forth.

  • Jacob

    Jacob (The joy of art has no limit.) 2016-09-17 09:21:52

    [ZT] From: Epiphany

    陆教授阅读广泛。2013年, 擅长短篇小说的加拿大女作家Alice Munro获得诺贝尔文学奖, 不过加拿大还有一位擅长短篇小说的女作家Mavis Gallant。我问陆教授更喜欢哪一位, 他来信说他更喜欢Gallant:

    little as i've read the Grandmother's short stories, i've never liked her as the professional aficionados at a research institute or a publishing house have. detail may be her long suit but it, or rather too much of it, can hardly appeal to a taste more or less macho (an ungallant word perhaps). i remember reading the Mavis stories from different cities and about exile, which dovetail with my inner wanderlust perhaps. Bottomline: i personally like Ms Gallant. is it because she is a reporter-turned writer?

    在讨论美国作家Richard Yates的时候, 陆教授说他的亲家(his son-in-law's father)和Yates二战时期是战友:

    i have heard my son-in-law's father mentioning him as both were GIs at the European theatre during World War II, where and when they became friends.

  • Jacob

    Jacob (The joy of art has no limit.) 2017-09-12 11:16:45

    96岁翻译家许渊冲被指英文水平不过关 有抄袭嫌疑

    This conclusion from the above article draws blood and throws it in 许渊冲's face:


    One prays that 许渊冲's face is thick enough not to be messed up by the gory details.

  • 霽

    (我的道德功能) 2018-03-19 20:15:42


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