阿兰·德波顿: 《旅行的艺术》3-5

 admin   2022-02-11 23:41   436 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 5
动机:第3章: 异国情调 第5节

Given all this, it appears to be no coincidence, no more accident of fashion, that it was specifically the Middle East that Flaubert was interested in. It was temperamentally a logical fit. What he loved in Egypt could be traced back to central facets of his personality. Egypt lent support to ideas and values that were part of his identity but for which his own society had had little sympathy.


From the day he disembarked in Alexandria, Flaubert noticed and felt at home in the chaos, both visual and auditory, of Egyptian life: boatmen shouting, Nubian porters hawking, merchants bargaining, the sounds of chickens being killed, donkeys being whipped, camels groaning. In the streets there were, he said, "guttural intonations that sounds like the cries of wild beasts, and laughter, and flowing white robes, and ivory teeth flashing between thick lips and flat negro noses, and dusty feet and necklaces and bracelets". "It is like being hurled while still asleep into the midst of a Beethoven symphony, with the brasses at the most earsplitting, the basses rumbling, and flutes sighing away. each detail reaches out to grip you;it pinches you; and the more you concentrate on it the less you grasp the whole...it is such a bewildering chaos of colours that your poor imagination is dazzled as though by continuous fireworks as you go about staring at minarets thick with white storks, at tired slaves stretched out in the sun on house terraces, at the patterns of sycamore branches against walls, with camel bells ringing in your ears and great herds of black goats bleating in the streets amid the horses and the donkeys and the pedlars.'

Flaubert's aesthetic was rich. He liked purple, gold and turquoise and so welcomed the colours of Egyptian architecture. In his book The Manner and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, first published in 1833 and revised in1842, the English traveller Edward Lane described the interiors typical of Egyptian merchants' houses: "There are, besides the windows of lattice-work, others, of coloured glass, representing bunches of flowers, peacocks, and other gay and gaudy objects, or merely fanciful patterns...On the plastered wall of some apartments are rude paintings of the temple of Mekkeh, or of the tomb of the Prophet, or of flowers and other objects, executed by native Muslim artists... Sometimes the walls are beautifully ornamented with Arabic inscriptions of maxims in an embellished style."

The baroque quality of Egypt extended to the language used by Egyptians in even the most ordinary situations. Flaubert recorded examples: ' A while ago when I was looking at seeds in a shop a woman to whom I had given something said, "Blessings on you, my sweet Lord: God grant that you return safe and sound to your native land"...When [Maxime du Camp] asked a groom if he wasn't tired, the answer was:"The pleasure of being seen by you suffices."'

Why did the chaos, the richness, so touch Flaubert? Because of his belief that life is fundamentally chaotic and that, aside from art, attempts to create order imply a censorious and prudish denial of our condition. He expressed his feelings to his mistress Louis Colet in a letter written during a trip to London in September 1851, only a few months after his return from Egypt: 'We’ve just come back from a walk in Highgate cemetery. What gross corruption of Egyptian and Etruscan architecture it all is! How neat and tidy it is. The people in there seem to have died wearing white gloves. I hate little gardens around graves, with well-raked flower beds and flowers in bloom. This antithesis has always seemed to me to have come out of a bad novel. When it comes to cemeteries, I like those that are run-down, ravaged, in ruined, full of thorns or tall weeds and where a cow escaped from a neighbouring field has come to graze quietly. Admit that this is better than some policeman in uniform! How stupid order is!'


'Yesterday we were at Cafe which is one of the best in Cairo,' wrote Flaubert a few months after his arrival in the capital, ' and where there were at the same time as ourselves, inside, a donkey shitting and a gentleman pissing in a corner. No one finds that odd; no one says anything.' And, in Flaubert's eye, they were right not to.

Central to Flaubert's philosophy was the belief that we are not simply spiritual creatures, but also pissing and shitting ones and that we should integrate the ramifications of this blunt idea into our view of the world. 'I can't believe that our body, composed as it is of mud and shit and equipped with instincts lower than those of the pig or the crab-louse, contains anything pure and immaterial, ' he told Ernest Chevalier. Which wasn't to say that we were without any higher dimensions. It was just that the prudery and self-righteousness of the age aroused in Flaubert a desire to remind others of mankind's impurities. And occasionally to take the side of cafe urinators - or even the Marquis de Sade, advocate of buggery, incest, rape and underage sex. ( 'I've just read a biographical article about de Sade by [the famous critic] Janin,' he informed Chevalier, 'which filled me with revulsion - revulsion against Janin, needless to say; who held forth on behalf of morality, philanthropy, deflowered virgin...')

Flaubert found and welcomed in Egyptian culture a readiness to accept life's duality: shit-mind, death-life, sexuality-purity, madness-sanity. People belched to their hearts' content in restaurants, A boy of six or seven, passing Flaubert in a Cairo street, cried out in greeting, 'I wish you all kinds of prosperity, especially a long prick.' Edward Lane also noticed this duality, though reacted to it more in the manner of Janin than of Flaubert: ' The most immodest freedom of conversation is indulged in by persons of both sexes, and of every station of life, in Egypt; even by the most virtuous and respectable women. From persons of the best education, expressions are often heard so obscene as only to be fit for a low brothel; and things are named, and subjects talked of, by the most genteel women, without any idea of their being indecorous, in the hearing of men, that many prostitutes in our country would probably abstain from mentioning.'


’One of the finest things is the camel,' wrote Flaubert from Cairo. 'I never tire of watching this strange beat that lurches like a donkey and sways its neck like a swan. Its cry is something that I wear myself out trying to imitate - I hope to bring it back with me - but it's hard to reproduce - a rattle with a kind of tremulous gargling as an accompaniment.' A few months after leaving Egypt, he wrote to a family friend listing all that had most impressed him in the country; the Pyramids, the temple at Karnak, the Valley of the KIngs, some dancers in Cairo, a painter called Hassan el Bilbeis. 'But my real passion is the camel ( please don't think I'm joking), nothing has a more singular grace than this melancholic animal. You have to see a group of them in the desert when they advance in single file across the horizon, like soldiers; their neck stick out like those of ostriches, and they keep going, going...'

Why did Flaubert admire the camel so much? Because he identified with its stoicism and ungainliness. He was touched by its sad expression, and the combination of awkwardness and fatalistic resilience. The people of Egypt seemed to share some of the qualities of the camel: a silent strength and humility that contrasted with the bourgeois arrogance of Flaubert's Normand neighbours.

Flaubert had since boyhood resented the optimism of his country - a resentment expressed in Madame Bovary in the description of the cruel scientific faith of the most detestable character, the pharmacist, Homais - and he held a predictably darker outlook: 'At the end of the day, shit. With that mighty word, you can console yourself for all human miseries, so I enjoy repeating it: shit, shit.' It was a philosophy reflected in the sad, noble yet slightly mischievous eyes of the Egyptian camel.


temperamentally (temperamental): caused by your own character and feelings 气质的;性情的;性格的
lend support to: To add information or details to something, especially to make it seem more credible or probable.增加信息或细节,尤指使其看起来更可信或更可能
Nubian : [ˈnjuːbjən] 努比亚人, 是非洲东北部苏丹的民族
hawk: verb [ T ] /hɑːk/ to sell goods informally in public places 沿街兜售,叫卖
sycamore: noun [ C ] /ˈsɪk.ə.mɔːr/ 西克莫槭树,悬铃木
bleat: verb [ I ] /bliːt/ When a sheep or goat bleats, it makes the typical sound of these animals. (羊)咩咩叫
lattice: noun [ C ]格子木架,格子金属架,格栅
gaudy:adjective /ˈɡɑː.di/ unpleasantly bright in colour or decoration 俗丽的;花哨的;过于鲜艳的
censorious:adjective /senˈsɔr.i.əs/ formal often criticizing other people
Etruscan:伊特鲁里亚人: 意大利中部一个古老民族的成员,其文明影响了罗马人,约在公元前200年被罗马人镇压。古伊特鲁里亚人属于非印欧语系语言,其为数不多的幸存记录还没有被充分解释。
antithesis: noun [ C ]/ænˈtɪθ.ə.sɪs/ the exact opposite 正相反
ramification: noun [ C usually plural ] the possible results of an action 可能的后果;衍生结果;派生影响
immaterial: spiritual, rather than physical.精神上的,而不是身体上的
Marquis de Sade: 萨德(1740-1814),法国贵族和一系列色情和哲学书籍的作者
deflower:verb [ T ] literary /ˌdiːˈflaʊ.ɚ/ to have sex with a woman who has never had sex before
indecorous:adjective,formal /ɪnˈdek.ɚ.əs/ behaving badly or rudely
stoicism: noun [ U ] formal /ˈstoʊ.ɪ.sɪ.zəm/
the quality of experiencing pain or trouble without complaining or showing your emotions
ungainly (ungainliness): /ʌnˈɡeɪn.li/ awkward and without grace 笨手笨脚的;举止不优雅的
Madame Bovary: 包法利夫人是法国作家福楼拜(Flaubert)创作的长篇小说




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