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文学:卡夫卡

LITERATURE: Franz Kafka

文学
弗朗茨·卡夫卡
Franz kafka was a great Czech writer
弗朗茨·卡夫卡是一位伟大的捷克作家
who has come to own a part of human emotional spectrum,
人类情感光谱中的一部分是属于他的
which we can now call the KAFKAESQUE ,
即现在所说的“卡夫卡式的”情感
and which thanks to him,
因为他
we are able better to recognise, and gain a measure of perspective over
我们才能够更好地认识和看待这种情感
and relief from.
并从中获得慰藉
Kafka’s world isn’t pleasant.
卡夫卡的世界并不会使人愉快
It feels in many ways like a nightmare
从很多方面来看都像是一场噩梦
and yet it’s a place where many of us will, even if only for a time,
在生活的灰暗时刻 大部分人终究会身处那个世界
in the dark periods of our lives, end up.
哪怕我们只有一段时间身处其中
We are in the world defined by Kafka when we feel powerless in front of authority,
当我们在当权者 法官们 贵族们 实业家们
judges, aristocrats, industrialists, politicians
政客们 以及最具威慑力的人--父亲--面前
and most of all: fathers.
感到无力时 我们就身处他的世界
When we feel that our destiny is out of our control,
当我们感到命运不受自己控制时
when we are bullied, humiliated and mocked by society
当我们被社会成员特别是家人欺凌 羞辱和嘲弄时
and especially by our own families.
我们就身处卡夫卡的世界
We are in Kafka’s orbit when we’re ashamed of our bodies, of our sexual urges
当我们为自己的身体和性冲动感到羞耻
and feel that the best thing for us might be to be killed
并觉得最好的归宿也许就是像惹人厌的床虱那样
or squashed without mercy
被杀死或者无情地拍死时
as if we are inconvenient and rather disgusting bed bug.
我们就处在卡夫卡的境地
Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883,
弗朗茨·卡夫卡1883年生于布拉格
the eldest child of a terrifyingly, psychologically abusive father
身为家中长子 他那可怕的父亲有心理施虐的倾向
and a mother who was too weak
而母亲的个性过分软弱
and in all of her husband to protect her boy as she should have done.
总是迁就丈夫 连保护自己儿子这一她本应做到的事都做不到
Kafka grew up timid, bookish, meek
卡夫卡生来腼腆 喜爱读书 性格温和
and full of self-hatred.
并且内心充满自我仇恨
He wanted to become a writer
他想成为一名作家
but it was out of the question in his father’s eyes,
但在他父亲眼里 这是不可能的
so one of the greatest German literary geniuses since Goethe
所以继歌德后最伟大的德语文学天才之一卡夫卡
was forced to spend his brief life
不得不在短暂的生命中
on Earth working in a series of jobs utterly beneath him:
从事着许多完全不合他身份的工作
in a lawyer office and then an insurance company.
先是在律师事务所 然后是在保险公司
He had a number of unsuccessful relationships with women,
他有过几段失败的情感经历
he couldn’t marry or raise a family
他无法结婚或者组建家庭
and was tormented by the strength of his sex drive,
并且受到强烈性欲的折磨
which made him constantly turn to brothels and pornography.
这致使他经常流连于妓院和色情场所
Kafka published very little in his lifetime:
卡夫卡生前发表的作品极少:
just three collections of short stories
只有三本短篇小说集
including his best-known work, The Metamorphosis,
包括他最著名的作品《变形记》
and he was entirely obscured and unnoticed.
此后 他就被完全忽视和遗忘了
His gigantic posthumous reputation is based on three novels:
他死后的巨大声誉是建立在三部小说上的:
The Trial, The Castle and America,
《审判》《城堡》和《失踪者》
which were all unfinished because Kafka was so dissatisfied with them.
但卡夫卡对这些作品极不满意 所以它们都是未完之作
He gave orders that they be destroyed after his death.
他说 他死后它们应当被销毁
Fortunately for Humanity, these were disobeyed.
对人类文明来说 幸运的是 他的遗嘱并未被执行
It shouldn’t sound prurient or reductive to suggest that
我们理解他的关键在于探寻
one of the major keys to understanding Kafka
他与父亲之间关系的本质
is to fathom the nature of his relationship with his father.
这么说一点也不轻狂或武断
Kafka never wrote directly about this man in any of his works
卡夫卡从未在任何作品中直接描述他的父亲
but the psychology of the novels
但小说的心理学层面
is directly related to the dynamicshe endured
与他作为赫尔曼·卡夫卡极不幸的儿子
as the very unfortunate son of Hermann Kafka
所忍受的压抑直接相关
Any boy who has ever felt inadequate in front of,
任何在强大的父亲面前感到自惭形秽
or unloved by a powerful father,
或缺乏那位强大父亲足够的爱的男孩
will at once relate to what Kafka went through in his childhood.
都会对卡夫卡童年的经历深有体会
In November 1919,
1919年11月
at the age of 36, five years before his death,
36岁的卡夫卡在他去世前五年
Kafka wrote a forty-seven page letter to Hermann
给赫尔曼写了一封47页的长信
in which he tried to explain
信中 卡夫卡试图解释
how his childhood had deformed him.
他的童年是如何使他变得畸形的
Like many victims of abuse,
像许多受虐者一样
Kafka never stopped hoping for some kind of forgiveness
得到深深误解他的父亲的某种原谅
from the person who had so wronged him.
是卡夫卡从未停止过的幻想
“Dearest father”, went the letter.
信是这么写的:“最亲爱的父亲
“You asked me recently why I maintain that I’m so afraid of you.
“你最近曾问我 为什么我声称自己这么怕你
As usual I was unable to think of any answer to your question
一如既往 我无法对你提出的问题进行任何思考
partly for the very reason that I am afraid of you
一部分原因正是出于我对你的畏惧
and partly because an explanation of the grounds for this fear
一部分是因为 要阐明这种畏惧的根源所在
would mean going into far more details
需要历数的细节数目之庞大
than I could ever keep in mind while talking”.
谈话时我的大脑根本无法容纳”
The grown Kafka abased himself before this father.
成年的卡夫卡在他父亲面前依然卑微
“What I would have needed was a little encouragement, a little friendliness
“我需要的只是一点点鼓励 一点点友善
but I wasn’t fit for that.
但是我不配拥有它们
What was always incomprehensible to me
我一直无法理解
was your total lack of feeling for the suffering and shame
你为什么完全没有感受到
you could inflict on me with your words and judgments.
你的话语与评判是那样的令我痛苦和羞耻
It was that you have no notion of your power”.
事实上 你对自己的力量一无所知”
Kafka complained of one particularly traumatic incident
卡夫卡控诉了一件令他深受伤害的小事
when as a young boy he called out for a glass of water
当他还是个小男孩时 喊着要一杯水喝
and his irritable father pulled the boy out of his bed,
暴躁的父亲一把从床上拽起他
carried him out onto the balcony
把仅穿着睡衣的他
and left him there to freeze in nothing but his nightshirt.
丢到阳台上受冻
Kafka writes: “I was quite obedient after that period
卡夫卡写道:“从这以后 我确实变乖了
but it did me so much incalculable inner harm.
但这在我的内心留下了无法估量的创伤
Even years afterwards
即使在多年之后
I suffered from the tormenting fancy that
我也依然遭受着想象的折磨
the huge man, my father, the ultimate authority,
总觉得这个巨人 我的父亲 这个最高权威
would come almost for no reason at all
会几乎毫无理由地走来
and take me out of bed in the night and carry me out onto the balcony
半夜三更一把将我拽出被窝 抱到阳台上
and that meant I was a mere nothing for him”.
这说明 对他来说我就是这么无足轻重”
Boys need their father’s permission to become men
男孩需要得到父亲的认可才能成为男人
and Hermann Kafka didn’t give Franz a chance. “
而赫尔曼·卡夫卡并没有给弗朗茨这样的机会
At a very early stage you forbade me to speak.
“你很早就禁止了我说话
Your threat: “not a word of contradiction”
你警告我说:不许顶嘴
and the raised hand that accompanied it have been with me ever since”.
边说还边举起手 这些都一直伴随着我的成长”
Franz’s sense of inadequacy was total.
弗朗兹强烈地意识到了自己的缺陷
“I was weighed down by your mere physical presence,
“单单你的体魄就足已把我压倒了
I remember for instance how often we undressed in the same bathing hut.
比如 我还记得我们常在同一个更衣室脱衣服的场景
There was I: skinny, weekly, slight.
我瘦削 羸弱 窄肩膀
You: strong, tall, broad.
你强壮 高大 宽肩膀
I felt a miserable specimen.
我感到自惭形秽
When we stepped out, you holding me by my hand,
我们走出更衣室 你抓着我的手
a little skeleton, unsteady, frightened of the water
我那一副小骨头架子连站也站不稳 还怕水
incapable of copying your swimming strokes;
不会模仿你的游泳动作
I was frantic with desperation.
我绝望得发狂
It could hardly have been worse, except it was.
当时的感受简直不能更糟糕了
Kafka finished the letter, gave it to his mother Julie to pass to Hermann
卡夫卡写完这封信后 托母亲朱莉转交给赫尔曼
but, typical of her weakness and cowardice, she didn’t.
然而 由于她的个性软弱怯懦 她并没有照做
She held onto it for a few days,
信在她那里放了几天之后
then returned it to Franz and advised that it would be better
她就把它还给了弗朗茨 并劝告他说
if her busy, hard working husband never had to read such a thing.
她那忙碌而辛苦的丈夫还是不要读到这类东西为好
The poor son lacked the courage ever to try again.
但是可怜的儿子没有再次尝试的勇气
In The Judgment, Kafka’s great short story, written in 1912;
在卡夫卡1912年创作的伟大短篇小说《判决》中
a young businessman, Georg, is engaged to be married
一位刚订婚的年轻商人格奥尔格准备结婚
and lives in a flat with his widowed father.
他和鳏父一起住在一套公寓里
He’s about to get away from home.
当时 他正准备离开家
The father is old and frail.
他的父亲又老又虚弱
Georg tucks him up in bed
格奥尔格给他裹好被子
but then the father mysteriously regains his strength,
但他的父亲神奇地恢复了体力
springs upright, towers over Georg
焕发了新生 气焰盖过了格奥尔格
and denounces him for betraying everyone,
还谴责他背叛了所有人
his friend, his father and the memory of his mother.
包括他的朋友 父亲和过世的母亲
Georg can make only feeble protests.
格奥尔格只能作出无力的辩解
Eventually the father condemns Georg to death by drowning
最后 父亲判决他去投河自尽
and Georg obediently rushes out and plunges into the nearby river.
格奥尔格顺从地冲了出去 跳进了附近的河中
After passing sentence, the father cries out:
作出判决后 父亲大声喊道:
“You were an innocent child, really,
“你原本是一个无辜的孩子
but at heart you were a diabolical human being”.
但在内心深处 你更是个恶魔似的人物”
The idea of horrific, arbitrary judgment
在卡夫卡的小说中
was to be a constant in Kafka’s fiction:
可怕而专断的审判是一个永恒主题
it reappears in the unfinished novel
两年后这个主题再次出现在
The Trial, written two years later.
卡夫卡未完成的小说《审判》中
But now Kafka had developed it away from a father
但是卡夫卡把执行者从一位父亲
to a vast legal apparatus
变成了一个庞大的法律机构
with judges, lawyers, guards and extensive bureaucratic procedures.
包括了法官 律师 警卫和一系列官僚程序
When Joseph K is arrested on the morning of his 30th birthday,
当Joseph K在30岁生日那天的早晨被逮捕时
he isn’t told what he is charged with.
他并没有被告知犯了什么罪
He barely makes any attempt to find out.
他也没怎么尝试去弄清罪名
He feel so guilty inside,
他内心感觉很愧疚
he just knows that he deserves punishment.
他只知道 他应该得到惩罚
He does try to declare in court that he’s innocent,
在法庭上他试图证明自己的清白
still without knowing what the charge is
此时他仍然不知道自己的罪名
and hires a lawyer
他请了一名律师替他辩护
but the court gradually grinds him down.
但法庭还是一点点地将其驳倒了
He becomes unable to think of anything.
他开始什么都不能思考了
Words fail him,
他说不出话来
he can no longer do his job properly
他再也不能做好自己的工作了
and is defeated in the game of office politics.
在办公室政治的较量中败下阵来
Finally, a year after his arrest,
最终 在他被捕一年后
two grotesque looking officials come to Joseph case flat,
两个长相怪异的警员来到Joseph K的牢房
they lead him to a quarry outside the city
把他带到城外的采石场
and execute him by plunging a knife into his heart.
一刀刺入心脏 处决了他
Between The Judgment and The Trial,
在写作《审判》和《处决》的间隙
Kafka wrote The Metamorphosis,
他创作了短篇小说《变形记》
a short story in which a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa,
讲述了旅行推销员格雷戈尔·萨姆沙
wakes up one morning transformed into an insect akin to a beetle or a bed bug.
清早醒来 发现自己变成了一只甲虫或臭虫之类的昆虫的故事
It’s a story of self-disgust, about the treachery of family
它是一篇关于自我厌恶与被家庭背叛的小说
and like The Trial, about terrifying arbitrary power.
就像《审判》一样 与可怕的专断权力有关
When Gregor crawls across the floor,
当格雷戈尔爬过地板时
he is in danger of being stamped on by his own father.
他面临着被自己父亲踩死的危险
Gregor’s family find they manage quite well without him.
格雷戈尔的家人发现 没有他的生活过得很好
They can fine him to his room and chuck rubbish at him.
他们把他关在房间里 朝他扔垃圾
The family hold a council
家人召开了一次会议
and decide that the insect in the bedroom can’t really be Gregor.
并达成共识:房间里的昆虫绝不可能是格雷戈尔
They start to refer to the insect as “it” instead of “him”.
他们开始用“它”而不是“他”来称呼甲虫
They decide that somehow the insect has to go.
他们决定 无论如何都要让那只甲虫离开
Gregor, listening, agrees and dies quietly.
格雷戈尔听着 默认了 选择了静静地死去
After Gregor’s death,
格雷戈尔死后
the family are slightly ashamed of their behavior,
家人们因自己的所作所为而感到有些愧疚
but only slightly.
但也只是有点而已
Kafka suffered from ill health for a lot of his life.
他一生中大部分时间都饱受疾病折磨
In 1924 when he was forty-one,
1924年 他41岁的时候
he developed laryngeal tuberculosis,
患上了喉结核
which prevented him from eating almost anything without huge pain.
他几乎在吃任何东西时都会感受到剧烈的疼痛
He wrote a short story, his last, called The Hunger Artist.
他写了最后一篇短篇小说《饥饿艺术家》
It tells the story of a public performer
它讲述了一个公众艺术家
who makes his living undertaking fasts for the pleasure of the public.
通过绝食愉悦大众来谋生的故事
One time he manages to fast for forty days
有一次 他成功地绝食了40天
but gradually the hunger artist’s audience gets bored of his work.
但是 观众渐渐地厌倦了他的表演
However hard he fasts,
不管他多么努力地绝食
they’re no longer impressed.
他们都提不起兴趣
He gets put in a dirty old cage and weakens terribly.
他被安置在一个破旧肮脏的笼子里 很快虚弱
Before he dies he asks forgiveness and confesses
临死时 他请求宽恕 并忏悔说
that he should never have been admired
他自始至终都不该被崇拜
since the reason he was simply
因为 他绝食的原因只是
that he couldn’t find any food he enjoyed.
他找不到喜欢的食物而已
Shortly after he dies,
在他死后不久
he’s replaced in his cage by a panther,
一只黑豹取代了他 出现在笼子里
an animal full of vigor whom the crowd love
人们喜爱这只充满活力的动物
and who has a voracious appetite.
它有着一副好胃口
A few days after finishing The Hunger Artist,
《饥饿艺术家》完成后没几天
Kafka died
卡夫卡就去世了
and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Prague.
他被安葬在布拉格的犹太人公墓
Within a few years of his death,
卡夫卡辞世后的几年里
his reputation began.
他的声名渐起
By the Second World War,
直到二战
he was recognized as one of the greatest writers of The Age.
他都被认为是那个时代最伟大的作家之一
Notwithstanding, all his close family
然而 他所有的至亲
were gassed by the Germans in the Holocaust.
都在大屠杀中被德国人用毒气杀害了
He is a monument in German literary history
他是德语文学史上的一座丰碑
and at the same time
与此同时
he is a sad, ashamed, part of us all.
他也是一个悲哀的 怀有羞耻感的 和我们一样的人
Kafka once wrote
卡夫卡曾写道
the task of literature is to reconnect us with feelings
文学的任务就是将我们与某些情感重新联系起来
that might otherwise be unbearable to study
否则 对这些迫切需要我们关注的情感的了解
but which desperately need our attention.
将会变得令人无法忍受
“A book must”, he wrote,
“一本书 ”他写道
“be the axe for the frozen sea within us”.
“必须成为破除人际间坚冰的斧。”
His books were among the most touching, frightening
他的书就是世上最锋利的斧头之一
and accurate axes ever written.
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