[翻译交流]Death of a Moth( by Annie Dillard)

楼主:一辈子 时间:2003-04-05 20:05:00 广东 点击:3266 回复:5
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  I live alone with two cats, who sleep on my legs. There is a yellow one, and a black one whose name is Small. In the morning I joke to the black one. Do you remember last night? So you remember? I throw them both out before breakfast, so I can eat.
  There is a spider, too, in the bathroom, of uncertain lineage, bulbous at the abdomen and drab, whose six-inch mess of web works, works somehow, works miraculously, to keep her alive and me amazed. The web is in a corner behind the toilet, connecting tile wall to tile wall. The house is new, the bathroom immaculate, save for the spider, her web, and the sixteen or so corpses she’s tossed to the floor.在洗手间里也有一只浅褐色的蜘蛛,不知道什么血统的,圆圆的肚子。它结的六英寸大的不可思议蜘蛛网在某种程度上让她活了下来,同时也让我感到惊讶。网是结在洗手间后边的一个角落上,在瓷砖之间连着。这房子是新落成的,浴室也很完美,除了这只蜘蛛,以及它抛在地面的十六具尸体外。
   The corpses appear to be mostly sow bugs, those little armadillo creatures who live to travel flat out in houses, and die round. In addition to sow-bug husks, hollow and sipped empty of color, there are what seem to be two or three wingless moth bodies, one new flake of earwig, and three spider carcasses crinkled and clenched.
   I wonder on what fool’s errand an earwig, or a moth, or a sow bug, would visit that clean corner of the house behind the toilet; I have not noticed any blind parades of sow bugs blundering into corners. Yet they do hazard there, at a rate of more than one a week, and the spider thrives. Yesterday she was working on the earwig, mouth on gut; today he’s on the floor. It must take a certain genius to throw things away from there, to find a straight line through that sticky tangle to the floor.我在想为什么这些小飞虫和蠼螋以及飞蛾会那么愚蠢飞到洗手间旁那个干净的角落。我没看过成队瞎眼的飞虫会莽撞地飞进那个角落。但它们仍会以每周一次的频率在那里冒险,所以蜘蛛的生意特别好做。昨天她还在弄那只蠼螋,今天那蠼螋就成了地上的一具空壳了。把东西从那里扔出去是需要一点技巧的,技巧在于能找条路线穿过粘稠的网到达地板上。
   Today the earwig shines darkly, and gleams, what there is of him; a dorsal curve of thorax and a smooth pair of pincers by which I knew his name. Next week, if the other bodies are any indication, he’ll be shrunk and gray, webbed to the floor with dust. The sow bugs beside him are curled and empty, fragile, a breath away from brittle fluff. The spiders lie on their sides, translucent and ragged, their legs drying in knots. The moths stagger against each other, like a jumble of buttresses for cathedral vaults, like nothing resembling moths, so I would hesitate to call them moths, except that I have had some experience with the figure Moth reduced to a nub.
   Two summers ago I was camped alone in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I had hauled myself and gear up there to read, among other things, The Day on Fire, by James Ullman, a novel about Rimbaud that had made me to be a writer when I was sixteen; I was hoping it would do it again. So I read every day sitting under a tree by my tent, while warblers sang in the leaves overhead and beside worms trailed their inches over the twiggy dirt at my feet, and I read every night by candlelight, while barred owls called in the forest and pale moths seeking mates massed round my head in the clearing, where my light made a ring.
  两年前的夏天我维吉尼亚的蓝色山脊上独自露营。我把自己沉浸在那里看书。其中一本是詹姆士的关于里姆保(Rimbaud)的小说《起火之日(THE DAY ON FIRE)》,它让我在十六岁时就立志当一个作家,我希望它能在次激励我。所以我每天坐在帐篷边的树阴下读,小鸟在头顶上的叶子里唱歌,旁边的小虫在脚旁的松土上爬行。每晚当猫头鹰在树林里鸣叫的时候我挑灯夜读,苍白色的飞蛾就会聚集在我头顶上的由烛光形成的光圈处寻找配偶。
   Moths kept flying into the candle. They would hiss and recoil, reeling upside down in the shadows among my cooking pans. Or they would singe their wings and fall, and their hot wings, as if melted, would stick to the first thing they touched- a pan, a lid, a spoon-so that the snagged moths could struggle only in tiny arcs, unable to flutter free. These I could realize by a quick flip with a stick; in the morning I would find my cooking stuff decorated with torn flecks of moth wings, ghostly triangles of shiny dust here and there on the aluminum. So I read the, and boiled water, and replenished candles, and read on.
   One night a moth flew into the candle, was caught, burnt dry, and held. I must have been staring at the candle, or maybe I looked up when the shadow crossed my page; at any rate, I saw it all. A golden female moth, a biggish one with a two-inch wingspread, flapped into the fire, drooped abdomen into the wet wax, stuck, flamed, and frazzled in a second.Her moving wings ignited like tissue paper, like angels’ wings, enlarging the circle of the darkness the sudden blue sleeves of my sweater, the green leaves of jewelweed by my side, the ragged red trunk of a pine; at once the light contracted again and the moth’s wings vanished in a fine, foul smoke.
  At the same time, her six legs clawed, curled, blackened, and ceased, disappearing utterly. And her head jerked in spasms, making a spattering noise; her antennae crisped and burnt away and her heaving mouthparts cracked like pistol fire. When it was all over, her head was, so far as I could determine, gone, gone the long way of her wings and legs. Her head was a hole lost to time. All that was left was the glowing horn shell of her abdomen and thorax-a fraying, partially collapsed gold tube jammed upright in the candle’s round pool.
   And then this moth-essence, this spectacular skeleton, began to act as a wick. She kept burning. The wax rose in the moth’s body from her soaking abdomen to her thorax to the shattered hole where her head should have been, and widened into a flame, a saffron-yellow flame that robed her to the ground like an immolating monk. That candle had two wicks, two winding flames of identical light, side by side. The moth’s head was fire. She burned for two hours, until I blew her out.
  She burned for two hours without changing, without swaying or kneeling-only glowing within, like a boiling fire glimpsed through silhouetted walls, like a hollow saint, like a flame-faced virgin gone to God, while I read by her light, kindled while Rimbaud in Paris burnt out his brain in a thousand poems, while night pooled wetly at my feet.
  她毫无变化地烧了两个小时,没有剧烈晃动过或者 低头闷烧,像个沸腾的火焰向墙的轮廓短暂地闪光,像个空洞的圣徒,或者像个有火焰般的脸孔的处子飞向神。我借着她的光读着里姆保(Rimbaud),她烧着的时候里姆保(Rimbaud)在巴黎殚精竭虑地写了一千多首诗,夜晚的聚集的湿气湿了我的脚。
   So. That is why I think those hollow shreds on the bathroom floor are moths. I believe I know what moths look like, in any state.
   I have three candles here on the table which I disentangle from the plants and light when visitors come. The cats avoid them, though Small’s tail caught fire once. I rubbed it out before she noticed. I don’t mind living alone. I like eating alone and reading, I don’t mind sleeping alone. The only time I mind being alone is when something is funny, when I am laughing at something funny, I wish someone were around. Sometimes I think it is pretty funny that I sleep alone. 在这里我有三根蜡烛放在桌子上,有来客访问的时候我就拿出来用。猫们都避免碰到它们,虽然小不点有次尾巴着了火。我在它意识到之前把火给擦灭了。我不在乎一个人独居。我喜欢一个人独自吃独自一个人读书,我也不在乎一个人睡。唯一让我感到孤独的是当某些事非常有趣的时候,当我为某事开怀大笑的时候,我希望有人在身旁。有时我觉得我一个人睡是件非常好笑的事。


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作者:bluesea 时间:2003-04-06 00:27:06
  Not bad at all.
作者:bluesea 时间:2003-04-06 00:39:27
  Rimbaud: 就是现在国内很流行的法国诗人兰波。就是他说了那句: life is elsewhere (生活在别处)。
作者:袁爱国 时间:2003-04-06 00:42:17
楼主一辈子 时间:2003-04-06 11:15:53
楼主一辈子 时间:2003-04-06 11:29:04
  找到一篇评论,正如下面的作者所说,“The essay is odd and hard to comprehend. What is Dillard trying to say? ”
  Authors‘ Use of Figurative Language
  For centuries men have used words to describe feelings and emotions. Poets have compared women to flowers and stars. Men have been described as fierce animals or cowardly ones. Poems are sometimes blunt and forward. They make comparisons that give the reader an easy opportunity to derive the meaning. However, some poems are obscure and open to interpretation, The reader is open to making whatever connections he desires. There are two writers, Virginia Woolf and Annie Dillard, who talk about the same subject and use the same example to describe it, but both arrive at their destination using completely different routes. The more effective essay delivers more of an impact and stronger image. The other leaves the reader searching for his own interpretation.
  Annie Dillard wrote an essay entitled, "Death of A Moth." In her essay she speaks of her bathroom and the spider that lives there. She describes its victims and describes how she can recognize one of the husks. This husk is a moth. Dillard recalls a camping trip in which she saw the death of a moth. Moths would frequently fly into her candle‘s flame and fizzle. One particular moth flies in and lights like a torch. It takes up residence on the candle and bums. She briefly describes the moth‘s state and then goes about ta1king of her life. So how does one interpret the essay?
  Dillard‘s essay is not very clear. She does not use effective examples or make comparisons that lead to clear conclusions. If the reader did not have some clue about the subject being death, the reader would just assume Dillard wrote about seeing a moth bum. The moth ignites like a second wick and bums for a good two hours before she blows it out. Is the reader supposed to think that even after death the impact of a life can still be felt? She describes the moth‘s beauty as it bums like a fire cracker. It is encased in an orange -flame "like an immolating monk. " She compares the moth to "a hollowed out building and a flame faced virgin gone to God." So is death more beautiful than life? The essay is odd and hard to comprehend. What is Dillard trying to say? What is her point? Her essay is not nearly as persuasive or moving as Virginia Woolf s.
  In Virginia Woolf‘s short essay, "The Death of The Moth", she tackles the same issue of death using a moth as support. Virginia begins her essay by explaining how moths are not the most beautiful of creatures, how they do not compare to the beauty of butterflies. But a particular moth that she is watching seems to be content with life as he is. She describes an energy that is just outside her window. This energy comes from the work that is going on outside. There are ploughs churning soil, horses, workers, birds and a river in the distance. The energy feeds the moth. That moth flutters around a window pane. Woolf pities the moth. She is saddened by the fact that its existence is so worthless. The endless possibilities that lie just outside a pane of glass for other creatures is closed to the moth because it is a dying moth. Not only a moth, it is a particularly unattractive species of moth. She even finds it pathetic that the moth appears to move about the pane of glass with enthusiasm. The moth eventually dies. He desperately tries to right himself and fight against his impending doom. He does die however. So what can one decipher from Woolf s essay?
  "The Death of The Moth" is a microcosm of life. If one substitutes the moth for human, the essay takes on a new light. The moth is not the most beautiful creature. Even among its species it is regarded as unattractive. We can apply this to ourselves. We aren‘t the most beautiful creatures and even amongst ourselves, some of us are unattractive. But we should take a lesson from the moth and be happy with ourselves. The moth is content with his being. He cannot go outside and enjoy a the possibilities that await. But be does what he can. Applying this to humans, we may not be able to accomplish all that we wish to. But to accomplish what we can and be content is enough. Woolf brings up the fact that the moth is to be pitied. She calls the moth‘s existence worthless because it does not have the opportunities that, say, a human has. But the moth lives its life to the fullest of its potential. And then the moth takes a very humanistic quality. It begins to die. Something we must all do. But this tiny creature, a creature Woolf has called insignificant, fights against his fate. His foe is one that always wins. Yet still the moth fights. We can compare that to ourselves. Here this moth, which to Woolf has no importance, tries to continue its meager life. We humans are supposed to have vast potential. We are supposed to be the dominant beings on this earth. Yet some of us do not live our lives to their fullest. We complain about our lot in life and gripe instead of trying to better our situation. Some of us do not fight against our foe to continue on in our existence. This moth, this insect, this being of no value, has become a more noble entity than many humans.
  In comparing these two essays, Woolf‘s is clearly the better of the two. Woolf‘s essay rouses thoughts of life and its importance. It inspires us to be like the moth and live to our fullest potential without complaint. Annie Dillard‘s essay is not nearly as thought provoking as Woolf s. It is obscure and very likely only the writer knows what the essay‘s goal was. Woolf‘s use of figurative language was more powerful and in being so it achieved a higher impact that Dillard‘s. In using figurative language the writer should strive to be as straight forward as possible, unless it is the writer‘s desire to be misinterpreted and misunderstood. The use of figurative language is very powerful if used correctly and Woolf does a much better job wielding this skill than does Dillard.