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散文佳作108篇 第70期:Genius Sacrificed for Failure 牺牲英才得庸才

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Genius Sacrificed for Failure

牺牲英才得庸才

Wliilam N. Brown

威廉·N.布朗
牺牲英才得庸才

During my youth in America’s Appalachian mountains, I learned that farmers preferred sonsover daughters,largely because boys were better at heavy farm labor (though what boysanywhere could best the tireless Hui’an girls in the fields of Fujian!)

我在美国的阿巴拉契亚山区度过青少年时代时,发现那里的农民重男轻女,多半因为男子更能胜任重体力农活。当然,如果要同福建省惠安县农田里的妇女相比,她们那份不歇不竭的能耐是任何地方的男子都自叹弗如的!

With only 3% of Americans in agriculture today,brain has supplanted brawn, yet culturalpreferences, like bad habits,are easier to make than break. But history warns repeatedly of thetragic cost of dismissing too casually the gifts of the so-called weaker sex.

今天在美国,脑力已经取代了体力,只有3%的美国人在从事农业。但文化上的习俗正如陋规,形成容易冲破难。面对所谓“阴柔”性别,历史再三告诫我们,若对她们的禀赋过于轻率地否定,其代价将会何等惨重!

About 150 years ago,a village church vicar in Yorkshire, England,had threelovely,intelligent daughters but his hopes hinged entirely on the sole male heir, Branwell, ayouth with remarkable talent in both art and literature.

约150年前在英国的约克郡有一个乡村教区的牧师,他有三个聪慧可爱的女儿,但是他的希望却独独钉在唯一的继承者儿子布朗维尔身上。这个年轻人在艺术和文学上都有出众的天赋。

Branweir s father and sister hoarded their pennies to pack him off to London' s Royal Academyof Arts, but if art was his calling, he dialed a wrong number. Within weeks he hightailed it home,a penniless failure.

父亲和姐妹都省吃俭用,帮兄弟打点完备,送他上了伦敦皇家艺术学院。可是尽管他要以艺术为业,但拨错了号。不到几个礼拜,就不名一文,弃甲归家。

Hopes still high, the family landed Branwell a job as a private tutor, hoping this would free himto develop his literary skills and achieve the success and fame that he deserved. Failureagain.

然而家人并不就此罢休,他们又想方设法帮布朗维尔捞到一份私人教师的活儿,希望这份差事能够使他自由发展文学才能,走上应得的功成名就的大道:这次又失败了。

For years the selfless sisters squelched their own goals, farming themselves out as teachersand governesses in support of their increasingly indebted brother, convinced the world musteventually recognize his genius. As failures multiplied, Branwell turned to alcohol,thenopium,and eventually died as he had lived: a failure. So died hope in the one male8 _ butwhat of the three anonymous sisters?

几年来,无私的姐妹们压抑着她们自己的目标和志向,受雇于人做管家或家庭教师以支持她们那日益债台高筑的兄弟,她们深信世界总有一天会认识到他的天才。随着接踵而至的失败,布兰维尔开始酗酒,后来又吸上鸦片,最后死时与生前一样,一无所成,于是寄托在这唯一男性身上的指望也随之死去。但是,那三位默默无闻的姐妹们又如何了呢?

During Branwell ’ s last years,the girls published a book of poetry at their own expense (undera pseudonym,for fear of reviewer’ s bias against females). Even Branwell might havesnickered: they sold only 2 copies.

在布兰维尔生前最后几年,姑娘们自己出资出版了一本诗集(用的是假名,以防编辑们对女性的成见)。只卖出两本,就连布兰维尔也哂笑她们。

Undaunted, they continued in their spare time, late at night by candlelight, to pour out theirpent-up emotion,writing of 9 what they knew best, of women in conflict with their naturaldesires and social condition — in reality, less fiction than autobiography! And 19th centuryliterature was transformed by Anne ’ s Agnes Grey, Emily, s Wuthering Heights, andCharlotte ’ s Jane Eyre.

然而她们并不气馁。姐妹们继续利用她们的空余时间,夜深人静时秉烛而书,倾吐她们幽禁的情怀,抒写她们最熟悉的一切。她们描写了那种女性自发的意愿与社会环境之间的冲突。实际上她们所写的与其说是小说不如说是自传!于是,19世纪文学就因安妮的《安格尼斯·格雷》、艾米丽的《呼啸山庄》和夏洛特的《简·爱》而改观了。

But years of sacrifice for Banwell had taken their toll. Emily took ill at her brother’s funeral anddied within 3 months, aged 29; Anne died 5 months later, aged 30; Charlotte lived only to age39. If only they had been nurtured instead of sacrificed.

然而,三姐妹为了布兰维尔的多年牺牲,付出了沉重的代价。艾米丽在她兄弟葬礼的那一天便得了病,三个月后便离世了,年方29岁;五个月后安妮也以30芳龄长逝;夏洛特则只活到39岁。假若她们能早日得到培养而不做牺牲,那该多好啊!

No one remembers Branwell ’ s name, much less his art or literature,but Bronte sister' stragically shot lives teach us even more of life than of literature. Their sacrificed genius cries outto us that in modem society we must value children not by their physical strength or sexualgender, as we would any mere beast of burden, but by their integrity, strength, commitment,courage—spiritual qualities abundant in both boys and girls. China,a nation blessed by moreboys and girls than any nation,ignores at her own peril 10 the lesson of the Bronte tragedy.

无人再记得布兰维尔的名字,更不用说他的艺术或文学了。然而,从勃朗特三姐妹悲剧性的夭折中,我们学到的不仅是文学,更重要的是生命之谛,她们牺牲了的天分向我们大声疾呼:现在社会再不能以体力或性别,把子女当牛马来评估了。它必须就忠诚、能力、责任心、勇敢等等男女孩子都富有的精神品质来对他们评价。中国,这个有幸拥有世界上最多的男孩女孩的国家应从勃朗特悲剧中获得认识,勿蹈覆辙。

Patrick Bronte fathered Branwell,but more importantly, he fathered Anne, Emily and Charlotte.Were he alive today he would surely urge us to put away our passe 11 prejudices and avoidhis own tragic and irrevocable error of putting all of his eggs in one male basket!

帕特里克·勃朗特养育了布兰维尔,但更重要的,他是安妮、艾米丽和夏洛特的父亲。倘若此人今日仍活着的话,他一定会迫切敦促我们放下我们的古旧偏见,避免他自己的悲剧和抱憾终身的过失—将一切都押在一个男性后裔身上。


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