2015年8月29日 星期六

William Wordsworth's Daffodils

How a walk beside Ullswater inspired one of the most popular poems in the English language.
"And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils."


          I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
          That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
          When all at once I saw a crowd,
          A host, of golden daffodils;
          Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
          Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

          Continuous as the stars that shine
          And twinkle on the milky way,
          They stretched in never-ending line
          Along the margin of a bay:                                  10
          Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
          Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

          The waves beside them danced; but they
          Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
          A poet could not but be gay,
          In such a jocund company:
          I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
          What wealth the show to me had brought:

          For oft, when on my couch I lie
          In vacant or in pensive mood,                               20
          They flash upon that inward eye
          Which is the bliss of solitude;
          And then my heart with pleasure fills,
          And dances with the daffodils.

2015年8月28日 星期五

_After Nature_ ;"Nature" Is What We See" by Emily Dickinson

"In the previous year, there’ve been many studies of the deeper meaning of the Anthropocene and the future of humanity, studies ranging from the impenetrable to the inconsolable. _After Nature_ is by a wide margin the best of these books; in its passion, intelligence, and persistent thread of hope, it may very well be the _Silent Spring_ of the 21st century."

In his brilliant new book, Jedediah Purdy argues that humanity must face the collapse of nature...

Emily Dickinson 的相片

"Nature" Is What We See" by Emily Dickinson

"Nature" is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

2015年8月23日 星期日

"Two Rivulets" by Walt Whitman


"Two Rivulets" by Walt Whitman
Two Rivulets side by side,
Two blended, parallel, strolling tides,,,
Companions, travelers, gossiping as they journey.
For the Eternal Ocean bound,
These ripples, passing surges, streams of Death and Life,
Object and Subject hurrying, whirling by,
The Real and Ideal,
Alternate ebb and flow the Days and Nights,
(Strands of a Trio twining, Present, Future, Past.)
In You, whoe'er you are, my book perusing, 10
In I myself--in all the World--these ripples flow,
All, all, toward the mystic Ocean tending.
(O yearnful waves! the kisses of your lips!
Your breast so broad, with open arms, O firm, expanded shore!)

2015年8月13日 星期四

But can Shakespeare’s bawdy jokes and tragic plotlines really transcend language?

Britain’s most famous plays have been translated into Maori, sign language, even Klingon. But can Shakespeare’s bawdy jokes and tragic plotlines really transcend language?

At a matinee performance of Richard III at London’s Globe Theatre, the title character’s lamentation “My kingdom for a horse” gets an unexpected laugh. The reason? Two-and-a-half hours into the production, they are the first and only words uttered in English.
The Mandarin production, which is by the National Theatre of China, is among a wave of Asian translations that are refashioning the legacy of Shakespeare. From 17 August at the Globe, ‘The Scottish Play’ will, for a brief run, be ‘The Cantonese Play’ when Hong Kong’s Tang Shu-Wing Theatre Studio performs Macbeth.
The Tempest in Korean (Credit: Credit: Steve Black/REX)
A Korean performance of The Tempest at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival (Credit: Steve Black/REX)

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It isn’t the first time Shakespeare has been translated, of course. So far, the 21st Century alone has seen Shakespeare performances in Maori, sign language and even, for the benefit of Star Trek fans, Klingon. “People tend to say he is a universal writer. It is more complex than that,” says Andrew Dickson, author of Journeys around Shakespeare’s Globe. “What makes Shakespeare so mobile around the world is that they are hugely flexible texts. There is something in them that you can play around with. You can pull it apart and put it back together again and it still works.”
But is it really possible to simultaneously communicate all of the aspects that make the Bard’s plays great, from rhyme to humour, in a foreign-language version?
Translator, traitor
“There's an Italian saying: ‘traduttore, traditore’ or ‘translator, traitor’,” says Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Gregory Doran. He is working on Chinese versions of Henry IV and Henry V, which the RSC will take to Beijing and Shanghai next year. “I did a production of the Merchant of Venice in Japan and they said: ‘do you want a translation for poetry, pace or meaning?’ I thought, I want all three,” he says. “The sound is important, too – how he quickens the pace, how the vowels and the consonants slow down and speed up.”
Do you want a translation for poetry, pace or meaning?
Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter is virtually impossible to transfer into other languages, says Shakespeare Institute director Michael Dobson. Then there is the logistical issue of literal translation: since few other languages have as many mono-syllabic words as English, translating Shakespeare word for word in any other language means it takes nearly twice as long to perform. The Bulgarian version of Twelfth Night turns Sir Toby Belch into ‘Sir Toby Hiccupp’, Dobson says, because the word ‘belch’ takes too long in Bulgarian, while the word for ‘hiccough’ is one syllable.
Shakespeare in Maori (Credit: Credit: Tony Nandi/LNP/REX)
The Ngakau Toa Theatre Company put a twist on Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida, performing it in Maori at London’s Globe in 2012 (Credit: Tony Nandi/LNP/REX)
Sometimes, even the plots must be changed to suit local cultures and social conditions. A British audience may consider the ending of Romeo and Juliet to be tragic. That’s not necessarily so in Japan, where the dual suicide might be seen as socially acceptable, even honourable.
Humour is difficult as well – at least when delivered with a punchline. Slapstick is easier than verbal wit. The murderers in the Mandarin Richard III deliver comic physical performances that are funny across language barriers, Doran says, whereas the Chinese versions rarely translate bawdy lines.
It also does not translate in English. We don’t speak the language of Shakespeare
Theatre historian Dennis Kennedy directed a Chinese version of As You Like It in Beijing, where he will return in 2016 for the Merchant of Venice. “There are two elements to Shakespeare’s humour,” he says. “One is verbal, and of course sometimes that does not translate. But it also does not translate in English – because it is fair to be reminded that we don’t speak the language of Shakespeare.”
For that reason, whatever linguistic losses that might accompany translation, there can be surprising gains: translation provides the opportunity to make the plays more colloquial. August Schlegel’s 18th Century translations into German, Kennedy says, owe some success to being closer to contemporary Berlin’s speakers than Shakespeare’s English is for today’s Londoners.
Schlegel's Hamlet in German (Credit: Credit: INTERFOTO/Alamy)
August Schlegel struggled with ‘To be, or not to be?’ – or at least, with how to translate it into German – in his handwritten translation of Hamlet (Credit: INTERFOTO/Alamy)
And there is another benefit to translation, too. It means foreign audiences get to hear it for the first time.
In English, Hamlet is a series of well-known quotations. In Chinese, it is a new play
“With each translation, it becomes fresh – and in a way foreign audiences are hearing it like Shakespeare’s audiences did, as a new text and not a series of quotations,” says Dickson. “In a funny way, we never have that proximity to the language that an audience in Germany or India would have.”
Or, as Kennedy puts it: “In English, Hamlet is a series of well-known quotations. In Chinese, it is a new play.”