阿兰·德波顿: 《旅行的艺术》1-4

 admin   2022-01-24 22:53   159 人阅读  0 条评论
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TB英语咀嚼阿兰·德波顿的《旅行的艺术》(The Art of Travel) 英语用词。阿兰·德波顿(Alain de Botton)是一位出生于瑞士的英国哲学家和作家。他写的散文式的书被称为“日常生活哲学”。他的作品涉及爱情、旅行、建筑和文学,包括小说《爱情笔记》(1993)、《爱上浪漫》(1994)、《亲吻与诉说》(1995)及散文作品《拥抱逝水年华》(1997 )、《哲学的慰藉》(2000)、《旅行的艺术》(2002)、《写给无神论者》(2012)。他的书在30个国家畅销。

Departure : I Anticipation (Places: Hammersmith, London, Barbados ) 4
出发:第1章: 对旅行的期待 (伦敦,哈默史密斯,巴巴多斯)

第4节

We are familiar with the notion that the reality of travel is not what we anticipate. The pessimistic school, of which Des Esseintes might be an honorary patron, therefore argues that reality must always be disappointing. It may be truer and more rewarding to suggest that it is primarily different.

After two months of anticipation, on a cloudless February mid-afternoon, I touched down, along with my travelling companion, M, at Barbados’s Grantley Adams Airport. It was a short walk from the plane to the low airport buildings, but long enough to register a revolution in the climate. In only a few hours, I had travelled to a heat and a humidity that at home would not have occurred for another five months, and even then would never have achieved such intensity.

Nothing was as I had imagined – surprising only if one considers what I had imagined. In the preceding weeks, the thought of the island had circled exclusively around three immobile mental images, assembled during the reading of a brochure and an airline timetable. The first was of a beach with a palm tree against the setting sun. The second was of a hotel bungalow with a view through French doors into a room decorated with wooden floors and white bedlinen. And the third was of an azure sky.

If pressed, I would naturally have recognized that the island had to include other elements, but I had not needed them in order to build an impression of it. My behaviour was like that of theatre-goers who imagine without difficulty that the actions on stage are unfolding in Sherwood Forest or ancient Rome because the backdrop has been painted with a single branch of an oak or one Doric pillar.

But on arrival, a range of things insisted that they too deserved to be included within the fold of the word Barbados. For example, a large petrol storage facility, decorated with the yellow and green logo of British Petroleum, and a small plywood box where an immigration official sat in an immaculate brown suit and gazed with an air of curiosity and unhurried wonder (like a scholar scanning the pages of a manuscript in the stacks of a library) at the passports of a line of tourists that began to stretch out of the terminal and on to the edge of the airfield. There was an advertisement for rum above the baggage carousel, a picture of the Prime Minister in the customs corridor, a bureau de change in the arrivals hall and a confusion of taxi drivers and tour guides outside the terminal building. And if there was a problem with this profusion of images, it was that they made it strangely harder to see the Barbados I had come to find.

In anticipation, there had simply been a vacuum between the airport and my hotel. Nothing had existed in my mind between the last line on the itinerary (the beautifully rhythmic (‘Arrival BA 2155 at 15.35’) and the hotel room. I had had no thought of, and now protested inwardly at the appearance of, a luggage carousel with a frayed rubber mat, two flies dancing above an overflowing ashtray, a giant fan turning inside the arrivals hall, a white taxi with a fake leopard-skin-lined dashboard, a stray dog in a stretch of waste ground beyond the airport, an advertisement for ‘Luxury condos’ at a roundabout, a factory called ‘Bardak Electronics’, a row of buildings with red and green tin roofs, a rubber strap in the central pillar of the car upon which was written in very small print ‘Volkswagen, Wolfsburg’, a brightly coloured bush whose name I didn’t know, a hotel reception area which showed the time in six different locations and a card pinned on the wall nearby that read, with two months’ delay, ‘Merry Christmas’. Only several hours after my arrival did I find myself united with my imagined room, though I had had no prior mental image of its vast air-conditioning unit nor, even if it was welcome, its bathroom, which was made of Formica panels and sternly advised residents not to waste water.

If we are inclined to forget how much there is in the world besides that which we anticipate, then works of art are perhaps a little to blame, for in them we find the same process of simplification or selection at work as in the imagination. Artistic accounts involve severe abbreviations of what reality will force upon us. A travel book may tell us, for example, that a narrator journeyed through the afternoon to reach the hill town of X and, after a night in its medieval monastery, awoke to a misty dawn. But we never simply journey through an afternoon. We sit in a train. Lunch digests awkwardly within us. The seat cloth is grey. We look out of the window at a field. We look back inside. A drum of anxieties revolves in consciousness. We notice a luggage label affixed to a suitcase in a rack above the opposing seats. We tap a finger on the window-ledge. A broken nail on an index finger catches a thread. It starts to rain. A drop wends a muddy path down the dust-coated window. We wonder where the ticket might be. We look back out at the field. It continues to rain. At last the train starts to move. It passes an iron bridge, after which it stops inexplicably. A fly lands on the window. And still we might only have reached the end of the first minute of a comprehensive account of the events lurking within the deceptive sentence ‘he journeyed through the afternoon’.

A story-teller who provided us with such a profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortunately, life itself often subscribes to this mode of story-telling, wearing us with repetitions, misleading emphases and inconsequential plot-lines. It insists on showing us Bardak Electronics, the safety handle in the car, a stray dog, a Christmas card and a fly that lands first on the rim and then in the centre of a laden ashtray.

Which explains the curious phenomenon whereby valuable elements may be easier to experience in art and in anticipation than in reality. The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress, they cut away the periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments and, without either lying or embellishing, thus lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present.

As I lay awake in bed on my first Caribbean night looking back on my journey (there were crickets and shufflings in the bushes outside), already the confusion of the present moment began to recede and certain events to assume prominence, for memory was in this respect similar to anticipation: an instrument of simplification and selection.

The present might be compared to a long-winded film from which memory and anticipation select photographic highlights. Of my nine-and-a-half-hour flight to the island, active memory retained only six or seven static images. Just one survives today: the in-flight tray. Of my experience at the airport, only an image of the passport line remained accessible. My layers of experience settled into a compact and well-defined narrative: I became a man who had flown in from London and checked into his hotel.

I fell asleep early and the next morning awoke to my first Caribbean dawn – though there was, inevitably, a lot more beneath these brisk words than that.

重点用词注解

patron: noun [ C ] /ˈpeɪ.trən/ a person who gives money and support to an artist, organization, etc.; the proprietor of an establishment (such as an inn) especially in France 赞助者; ( 尤指在法国 ) 所有者
primarily : for the most part ; in the first place, originally. 在大多数情况下;首先,最初
register: verb (SHOW), to record, show, or express something 显示;指示;表达
French doors: a door with glass panes throughout its length. 落地玻璃门; French window 落地窗
Doric pillar : 陶立克柱式 (或多利克柱式): 是一种没有柱础的圆柱,直接置于阶座上,由一系列鼓形石料一个挨一个垒起来的,较粗壮宏伟。
immaculate: adjective /ɪˈmæk.jə.lət/perfectly clean or tidy 洁净的,整洁的
profusion: noun, /prəˈfjuː.ʒən/ an extremely large amount of something 丰富,充沛,大量
frayed: adjective /freɪd/ with the threads at the edge coming loose 磨损的,脱线的
wend: verb to move slowly and not directly 缓慢迂回地行进
subscribe to : to agree with or support an opinion, belief, or theory 赞同,支持(观点、信仰、理论等)
woolliness: lacking in clearness or sharpness of outline 缺乏清晰晰度; 混乱的或不清楚;轮廓不清晰
long-winded: Continuing at length and in a tedious way ; 冗长的,长篇大论的


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