阿兰·德波顿: 《旅行的艺术》2-5

 admin   2022-02-01 23:47   431 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 : II On Travelling Places 5
出发:第2章: 旅行中的特定场所 第5节


There was, apart from the motorway, no road linking the service station to other places, no footpath even; it seemed not to belong to the city, nor to the country either, but rather to some third, travellers’ realm, like a lighthouse at the edge of the ocean.

This geographical isolation enforced the atmosphere of solitude in the dining area. The lighting was unforgiving, bringing out pallor and blemishes. The chairs and seats, painted in childishly bright colours, had the strained jollity of a fake smile. No one was talking, no one admitting to curiosity or fellow feeling. We gazed blankly past one another at the serving counter or out into the darkness. We might have been seated among rocks.

I remained in one corner, eating fingers of chocolate and taking occasional sips of orange juice. I felt lonely but, for once, this was a gentle, even pleasant kind of loneliness because, rather than unfolding against a backdrop of laughter and fellowship, in which I would suffer from a contrast between my mood and the environment, it had its locus in a place where everyone was a stranger, where the difficulties of communication and the frustrated longing for love seemed to be acknowledged and brutally celebrated by the architecture and lighting.

The collective loneliness brought to mind certain canvases by Edward Hopper which, despite the bleakness they depicted, were not themselves bleak to look at, but rather allowed their viewers to witness an echo of their own grief and thereby feel less personally persecuted and beset by it. It is perhaps sad books that best console us when we are sad, and to lonely service stations that we should drive when there is no one for us to hold or love.

In 1906, at the age of twenty-four, Hopper went to Paris and discovered the poetry of Baudelaire, whose work he was to read and recite throughout his life. The attraction is not hard to understand: there was a shared interest in solitude, in city life, in modernity, in the solace of the night and in the places of travel. In 1925, Hopper bought his first car, a second-hand Dodge, and drove from his home in New York to New Mexico, and from then on spent several months on the road every year, sketching and painting on the way, in motel rooms, in the backs of cars, outdoors and in diners. Between 1941 and 1955, he crossed America five times. He stayed in Best Western motels, Del Haven Cabins, Alamo Plaza Courts and Blue Top Lodges. He was drawn to the neon signs that blink ‘Vacancy, TV, Bath’ from the side of the road, to the beds with their thin mattresses and crisp sheets, to the large windows that give out on to car parks or small patches of manicured lawn, to the mystery of the guests who arrive late and set off at dawn, the brochures for local attractions in the reception area and the laden housekeeping trolleys parked in silent corridors. For meals Hopper would stop at diners, at Hot Shoppe Mighty Mo Drive-ins, Steak ‘N’ Shakes or Dog ‘N’ Sudds – and he would fill up his car at petrol stations displaying the logos of Mobil, Standard Oil, Gulf and Blue Sunoco.

And in these ignored, often derided landscapes, Hopper found poetry: the poésie des motels, the poésie des petits restaurants au bord d’une route. His paintings (and their resonant titles) suggest a consistent interest in five different kinds of travelling place:

hotel Room, 1931
Hotel Lobby 1943
Rooms for Tourists,1945
Hotel by a Railroad, 1952
Hotel Window, 19
Western Motel, 1957

2. Road and Petrol Stations
Road in Maine, 1914
Gas, 1940
Route 6, Eastham, 1941
Solitude, 1944
Four Lane Road, 1956

3. Dinners and Cafeterias
Autumat, 1927
Sunlight in a Cafeteria, 1958

4. Views from Trains
House by the Railroad, 1925
New York, Nero Haven and Hartford, 1931
Railroad Embankment, 1932
Toward Boston, 1936
Approaching a City, 1946
Road and Trees, 1962

5. Views inside trains and of Rolling stock
Night on the El Train, 1920
Locomotive, 1925
Compartment C, Car 293, 1938
Down in Pennsylvania, 1942
Chair Car, 1965

Loneliness is the dominant theme. Hopper's figures seem far from home; they sit or stand alone, looking at a letter on the edge of a hotel bed or drinking in a bar, they gaze out of the window of a moving train or read a book in a hotel lobby. Their faces are vulnerable and introspective. They have perhaps just left someone or been left; they are in search of work, sex or company, adrift in transient places. It is often night and through the window lie the darkness and threat of the open country or of a strange city.

In Automat (1927), a woman sits alone drinking a cup of coffee. It is late and, to judge by her hat and coat, cold outside. The room seems large, brightly lit empty. The decor is functional, with a stone-topped table, hard-wearing black wooden chairs and white walls. The woman looks self-conscious and slightly afraid, unused to sitting alone in a public place. Something appears to have gone wrong. She unwittingly invites the viewers to imagine stories for her, stories of betrayal or loss. She is trying not to let her hand shake as she moves the coffee cup to her lips. It may be eleven at night in February in a large North American city.

Automatic a picture of sadness- and yet it is not a sad picture. It has the power of a great melancholy piece of music. Despite the starkness of the furnishings, the location itself does not seems wretched. Others in the room may be on their own as well, men and women drinking coffee by themselves, similarly lost in thought, similarly distanced from society: a common isolation with the beneficial effect of lessening the oppressive sense within any one person that they are alone in being alone. In roadside dinners and late-night cafeterias, hotel lobbies and station cafes, we may dilute a feeling isolation in a lonely public place and hence rediscover a distinctive sense of community. The lack of domesticity, the bright lights and anonymous furniture may come as a relief from what are often the false comforts of home. It may be easier to give way to sadness here than in a living room with wallpaper and framed photos, the decor of a refuge that has let us down.

Hopper invites us to feel empathy with the woman in her isolation. She seems dignified and generous, only perhaps a little too trusting, a little naive - as if she has knocked against a hard corner of the world. Hopper puts us on her side, the side of the outsider against the insiders. The figures in Hopper's art are not opponents of home per se, it is simply that, in a variety of undefined ways, home appears to have betrayed them, forcing them out into the night or on to the road. Twenty-four-hour dinner, the station waiting room and the motel are sanctuaries for those who have, for noble reasons, failed to find a home in the ordinary world, sanctuaries for those whom Baudelaire might have dignified with the honorific "Poets".


pallor : noun [ U ] /ˈpæl.ɚ/ the state of being very pale 苍白,灰白
fellow feeling: sympathy and fellowship existing between people based on shared experiences or feelings .同感;同病相怜;同情
gaze blankly: 茫然地望着
locus: noun [ C ]/ˈloʊ.kəs/ plural loci the place where something happens or the central area of interest in something being discussed 发生地;关注的焦点;讨论的中心
bring/call sth to mind: to remember something 想起,记起
introspective: adjective /ˌɪn.trəˈspek.tɪv/ examining and considering your own ideas, thoughts, and feelings, instead of talking to other people about them 自省的,反省的;深思的
hard-wearing: adjective,If something, especially clothing or material, is hard-wearing it lasts for a long time and looks good even if it is used a lot. (尤指衣服、材料等)禁穿的,耐磨的
unwittingly:adverb /ʌnˈwɪt̬.ɪŋ.li/ without being aware; unintentionally.没有意识到地; 无意地。
melancholy: adjective /ˈmel.əŋ.kɑː.li/ 忧郁的,忧伤的 a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.
wretched: adjective /ˈretʃ.ɪd/ wretched adjective (BAD QUALITY) unpleasant or of low quality
domesticity: noun [ U ] /ˌdoʊ.mesˈtɪs.ə.t̬i/
life at home taking care of your house and family 持家,家庭生活




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