阿兰·德波顿: 《旅行的艺术》3-3

 admin   2022-02-08 22:40   243 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。

Motives : III On the Exotic 3
动机:第3章: 异国情调 第3节

In Amsterdam, I took a room in a small hotel in the Jordaan district and, after lunch in a cafe (Roggebrood met baring en uitjes), went for a walk in the western parts of the city. In Flaubert's Alexandria, the exotic has collected around camels, Arabs peacefully fishing and guttural cries. Modern-day Amsterdam provides different, but analogous examples: buildings with elongated pale pink bricks put together with curiously white mortar ( far more regular than English or North American brickwork and exposed to view unlike the bricks on French or German buildings); long rows of narrow apartment buildings from the early twentieth century with large ground-floor windows; bicycles parked outside every house or block ( recalling university towns); a democratic scruffiness to street furniture; an absence of ostentatious buildings; straight streets interspersed with small parks, suggesting the hand of planners with ideas of a socialist garden city. In one street lined with uniform apartment buildings, I stopped by a red front door and felt an intense longing to spend the rest of my life there. Above me on the second floor, I could see an apartment with three large windows and no curtains. The walls were painted white and decorated with a single large painting covered with small blue and red dots. There was an oak desk against a wall, a large bookshelf and an armchair. I wanted the life that this space implied. I wanted a bicycle. I wanted to put my key through the red front door every evening. I wanted to stand by the curtainless window at duck looking out at an identical apartment opposite and snack my way through an erwentsoep met roggebrood en spek before retiring to read in bed in a white room with white sheets.

Why be seduced by something as small as a front door in another country? Why fall in love with a place because it has trams and its people seldom have curtains in their homes? However absurd the intense reactions provoked by such small ( and mute) foreign elements may seem, the pattern is at least familiar from personal life. There too we may find ourselves anchoring emotions of love to the way a person butters bread or turning against them because of their taste in shoes. To condemn ourselves for these minute concerns is to ignore how rich in meaning details may be.

My love for the apartment building was based on what I perceived to be its modesty. The building was comfortable, but not grand. It suggested a society attracted to a financial mean. There was an honesty in the design. Whereas front doorways in London were prone to ape the look of classic temples, in Amsterdam they accepted their status, they avoided pillars and plaster, they settled on neat undecorated brick. The building was modern in the best sense, it spoke of order, cleanliness and light.

In the more fugitive, trivial association of the word exotic, the charm of a foreign place arises from the simple idea of novelty and change: from finding camels where at home there had been horses; from finding unadorned apartment buildings where at home they had pillars. But there may be a more profound pleasure: we may value foreign elements not only because they are new, but because they seem to accord more faithfully with our identity and commitments than anything our homeland could provide.

My enthusiasms in Amsterdam were connected to my dissatisfactions with my own country, with its lack of modernity and aesthetic simplicity, with its resistance to urban life and its net-curtained mentality.

What we find exotic abroad may be what we hunger for in vain at home.

重点用词注解

guttural:adjective /ˈɡʌt̬.ɚ.əl/ being or marked by utterance that is strange, unpleasant, or disagreeable 喉咙里发出的,粗嘎的;着嗓门粗声粗气的
scruffy (adjective);scruffiness (noun): unkempt, slovenly, shaggy; untidy and looking a little dirty 不修边幅; 邋遢;不整洁看起来有点脏
ostentatious: adjective /ˌɑː.stənˈteɪ.ʃəs/ attracting or seeking to attract attention, admiration, or envy often by gaudiness or obviousness :铺张的,摆阔的;炫耀的,卖弄的;招摇的
fugitive: adjective /ˈfjuː.dʒə.t̬ɪv/ (especially of thoughts or feelings) lasting for only a short time
(尤指想法或感觉)短暂的,暂时的
accord with: phrasal verb, to be in agreement with (something) 与(某事)一致
speak of : to indicate or suggest (something); serve as evidence for something 表示或暗示(某事);作为某事的证据

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