阿兰·德波顿: 《旅行的艺术》1-(5-6)

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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 ) 5-6
出发:第1章: 对旅行的期待 (伦敦,哈默史密斯,巴巴多斯) 第5-6节


There was one other country that, many years before his intended trip to England, Des Esseintes had wanted to see: Holland. He had imagined the place to resemble the paintings of Teniers and Jan Steen, Rembrandt and Ostade; he had anticipated patriarchal simplicity and riotous joviality; quiet small brick courtyards and pale-faced maids pouring milk. And so he had journeyed to Haarlem and Amsterdam – and been greatly disappointed. It was not that the paintings had lied, there had been some simplicity and joviality, some nice brick courtyards and a few serving women pouring milk, but these gems were blended in a stew of ordinary images (restaurants, offices, uniform houses and featureless fields) which these Dutch artists had never painted and which made the experience of travelling in the country strangely diluted compared with an afternoon in the Dutch galleries of the Louvre, where the essence of Dutch beauty found itself collected in just a few rooms.

Des Esseintes ended up in the paradoxical position of feeling more in Holland – that is, more intensely in contact with the elements he loved in Dutch culture – when looking at selected images of Holland in a museum than when travelling with sixteen pieces of luggage and two servants through the country itself.


Teniers: 比利时佛兰德巴洛克画家:戴维·特尼尔斯(又译:大卫·特尼尔斯,David Teniers the Younger)
Jan Steen: 扬·斯丁(Jan Steen ,1626-1679年)荷兰黄金时代画家
Rembrandt: 伦勃朗(1606 - 1669)是欧洲17世纪最伟大的画家之一,也是荷兰历史上最伟大的画家
Ostade:奥斯塔德(1610-1685),奥斯塔德(Adriaen vanOstade,1610-1685年)荷兰黄金时代画家
riotous: adjective, /ˈraɪ.ə.t̬əs/ very loud and uncontrolled, and full of energy 热闹的;喧闹的;放纵的
patriarchal simplicity: 淳朴的家长制
joviality:noun [ U ] formal /ˌdʒoʊ.viˈæl.ə.t̬i/ characterized by good-humored cheerfulness and conviviality 愉悦
Haarlem:哈勒姆位于荷兰西部, 是荷兰最古老的小城之一,多个世纪以来以盛产郁金香而闻名。


Awakening early on that first morning, I slipped on a dressing gown provided by the hotel and went out on to the veranda. In the dawn light the sky was a pale grey-blue and, after the rustlings of the night before, all the creatures and even the wind seemed in deep sleep. It was as quiet as a library. Beyond the hotel room stretched a wide beach which was covered at first with coconut trees and then sloped unhindered towards the sea. I climbed over the veranda’s low railing and walked across the sand. Nature was at her most benevolent. It was as if, in creating this small horseshoe bay, she had chosen to atone for her ill-temper in other regions and decided for once to display only her munificence. The trees provided shade and milk, the floor of the sea was lined with shells, the sand was powdery and the colour of sun-ripened wheat, and the air – even in the shade – had an enveloping, profound warmth to it so unlike the fragility of northern European heat, always prone to cede, even in midsummer, to a more assertive, proprietary chill.

I found a deck chair at the edge of the sea. I could hear small lapping sounds beside me, as if a kindly monster was taking discreet sips of water from a large goblet. A few birds were waking up and beginning to career through the air in matinal excitement. Behind me, the raffia roofs of the hotel bungalows were visible through gaps in the trees. Before me was a view that I recognized from the brochure: the beach stretched away in a gentle curve towards the tip of the bay, behind it were jungle-covered hills, and the first row of coconut trees inclined irregularly towards the turquoise sea, as though some of them were craning their necks to catch a better angle of the sun.

Yet this description only imperfectly reflects what occurred within me that morning, for my attention was in truth far more fractured and confused than the foregoing paragraphs suggest. I may have noticed a few birds careering through the air in matinal excitement, but my awareness of them was weakened by a number of other, incongruous and unrelated elements, among these, a sore throat that I had developed during the flight, a worry at not having informed a colleague that I would be away, a pressure across both temples and a rising need to visit the bathroom. A momentous but until then overlooked fact was making its first appearance: that I had inadvertently brought myself with me to the island.

It is easy to forget ourselves when we contemplate pictorial and verbal descriptions of places. At home, as my eyes had panned over photographs of Barbados, there were no reminders that those eyes were intimately tied to a body and mind which would travel with me wherever I went and that might, over time, assert their presence in ways that would threaten or even negate the purpose of what the eyes had come there to see. At home, I could concentrate on pictures of a hotel room, a beach or a sky and ignore the complex creature in which this observation was taking place and for whom this was only a small part of a larger, more multifaceted task of living.

My body and mind were to prove temperamental accomplices in the mission of appreciating my destination. The body found it hard to sleep, it complained of heat, flies and difficulties digesting hotel meals. The mind meanwhile revealed a commitment to anxiety, boredom, free-floating sadness and financial alarm.

It seems that, unlike the continuous, enduring contentment that we anticipate, happiness with, and in, a place must be a brief and, at least to the conscious mind, apparently haphazard phenomenon: an interval in which we achieve receptivity to the world around us, in which positive thoughts of past and future coagulate and anxieties are allayed. But the condition rarely endures for longer than ten minutes. New patterns of anxiety inevitably form on the horizon of consciousness, like the weather fronts that mass themselves every few days off the western coast of Ireland. The past victory no longer seems so impressive, the future acquires complications and the beautiful view becomes as invisible as anything which is always around.

I was to discover an unexpected continuity between the melancholic self I had been at home and the person I was to be on the island, a continuity quite at odds with the radical discontinuity in the landscape and climate, where the very air seemed to be made of a different and sweeter substance.

At mid-morning on that first day, M and I sat on deck chairs outside our beach hut. A single cloud hung shyly above the bay. M put on her headphones and began annotating Emile Durkheim’s On Suicide. I looked around me. It would have seemed to observers that I was where I lay. But ‘I’ – that is, the conscious part of my self – had in truth abandoned the physical envelope in which it dwelt in order to worry about the future, or more specifically about the issue of whether lunches would be included in the price of the room. Two hours later, seated at a corner table in the hotel restaurant with a papaya (lunch and local taxes included), the I that had left my body on the deck chair now made another migration, quitting the island altogether, to visit a troubling project scheduled for the following year.

It was as if a vital evolutionary advantage had been bestowed centuries ago on those members of the species who lived in a state of concern about what was to happen next. These ancestors might have failed to savour their experiences appropriately, but they had at least survived and shaped the character of their descendants; while their more focused siblings, at one with the moment and with the place where they stood in, had met violent ends on the horns of unforeseen bison.

It is unfortunately hard to recall our quasi-permanent concern with the future, for on our return from a place, perhaps the first thing to disappear from memory is just how much of the past we spent dwelling on what was to come; how much of it, that is, we spent somewhere other than where we were. There is a purity both in the remembered and in the anticipated anticipated visions of a place: it is the place itself that is allowed to stand out.

If fidelity to a place had seemed possible from home, it was perhaps because I had never tried to stare at a picture of Barbados for any length of time. Had I laid one on a table and forced myself to look at it exclusively for twenty-five minutes, my mind and body would naturally have migrated towards a range of extrinsic concerns, and I might thereby have gained a more accurate sense of how little the place in which I stood had the power to influence what travelled through my mind.

In another paradox that Des Esseintes would have appreciated, it seems we may best be able to inhabit a place when we are not faced with the additional challenge of having to be there.


veranda: noun [ C ] /vəˈræn.də/ 露台, 阳台
rustling: noun,[ C or U ] /ˈrʌs.əl.ɪŋ/ the sound that paper or leaves make when they move;make or cause a rustle
atone for sth: to do something that shows that you are sorry for something bad that you did 赎(罪);弥补,补偿(过错)
munificence; (munificent: adjective), very liberal in giving or bestowing; lavish 非常慷慨
proprietary chill: 特有的凉意
goblet: /ˈɡɑː.blət/(尤指盛酒的,通常用玻璃或金属做的)无柄高脚杯
career: verb [ I usually + adv/prep ]/kəˈrɪr/to move fast and in a way that is out of control 猛冲,飞奔
matinal : /ˈmat(ə)nl/ adjective, relating to or taking place in the morning. 早上的
raffia: noun [ U ]/ˈræf.i.ə/酒椰叶纤维(由酒椰棕榈树叶制成,用于编篮子、垫子或捆扎东西等);
fractured and confused:支离破碎和混乱
incongruous and unrelated elements :不协调的和不相关因素
pan: verb /pæn/ move slowly from one side to another or up and down 缓慢移动
negate: verb [ T ]/nɪˈɡeɪt/ to cause something to have no effect 使无效,取消
temperamental accomplices: 喜怒无常的同谋
coagulate:verb [ I or T ] /koʊˈæɡ.jə.leɪt/ to cause to become viscous or thickened into a coherent mass;to gather together or form into a mass or group(使)凝结,(使)凝固
melancholic: adjective /ˌmel.əŋˈkɑː.lɪk/ expressing feelings of sadness 忧郁的
annotate: verb [ T ] /ˈæn.ə.teɪt/ to add a short explanation or opinion to a text or drawing 给…作注解;给…加评注
a range of extrinsic concerns:一系列外在的问题




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