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译文 (点击标题或封面即可阅读中文)TRANSLATIONS - GENERAL

World Literature - The Great South Land

世界文学 – 伟大的南国
World Literature - The Great South Land

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我们现在向读者介绍北京世界文学杂志关于澳洲文学的专刊。此专版于2012年十二月发行,发行之前的一年前,我应邀来挑选澳洲作家的作品。对此机会,我特别向北京首都师大的陈姝波和北京世界文学杂志萧萍两位女士献上我衷心的感谢。我将此介绍命名为“伟大的南国”,因为在中国的地图上这一片大陆被称作大洋洲。对我而言,这个称呼即没有尊严,也没有体现出我觉得它应该有的神秘感。
We now offer our readers the introduction to a special Australian issue of the Beijing magazine World Literature. This appeared in December 2012 but I was invited to make the selection of Australian writing about a year beforehand, and for this I am most grateful to Chen Shubo, of Central Normal University of Beijing, already introduced above, and Xiao Ping, one of the editors at the World Literature magazine. My heartfelt thanks to both. I gave the introduction the title ‘the Great South Land’ because Chinese maps of my part of the world call it Oceania, and this name has never seemed to me to have either the dignity nor the sense of mystery which I feel is appropriate.

关于译者 The Translator
Chen ShuboChen Shubo received her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Science and now teaches English literature at Capital Normal University in Beijing. She is interested in the literatures of English-speaking countries, including British, American and Australian literature. She loves doing translations too, for both the power and inadequacy of languages.

伟大的南国

恰·伊格尔 陈姝波译

对澳大利亚人来说,要弄清我们与世界其他地区之间有多少差异和多 少类似,是相当困难的,更别提对外国人了。如果相似,那么我们像谁? 这个问题在我们还是英帝国的一部分并以此为荣的当年,是很好回答的。 后来美国的影响开始了,起初它悄然渗入,随后大肆征服。自第二次世界 大战以来,我们也已经明白,我们是亚洲的一部分,尽管这一点接受起来 并非总是很容易。但是今天,我们把目光投向亚洲,特别是中国,因为经 济的力量已经转移到了东方。(我们应该说北方的时候,却还在称它为东 方!)我认为,这期《世界文学》表明,澳大利亚人,或者说,我所指的欧 裔澳大利亚人,已经接受了发生在我们周围的变化,并且正让它们融入我 们的思维......以及我们的写作。

另一个不得不提的事实是原住民。这些长期以来饱受入侵者冷眼甚至 鄙视的人们,正再一次站立起来。澳大利亚原住民拥有地球上最古老的文 化,他们世世代代在那片异常艰难甚至严酷、同时又慷慨得难以置信的土 地上繁衍生息。他们以剥夺他们土地的欧洲人所不擅长的方式看待自己的 家园,而今他们得以报复,这样的平反昭雪或许是会让他们甜在心头的: 来到这片土地的欧洲人(以及现在来的亚洲人)开始明白,古老的文化与 古老的土地是如此相得益彰。我想,每一个在本期杂志中读到亚力克西斯· 赖特的小说《卡彭塔利亚湾》节选的读者,都会看到黑人的观念是多么的开 放和包容;亚历克西斯代表她的人民进行有力的回击,这个国家将从此再 也不一样了。

我的一个中国朋友正在研究澳大利亚身份在文学中的表现问题,我想 我对她,以及对这个杂志的读者所能说的最恰当的话是,这个国家的身份、 本质和特性,自一七八八年英国殖民以来,一直在发生变化。它现在继续 变化着,还将永远变化下去。澳大利亚,正如我们喜欢说的,是一件未成 品,这意味着我们对自己的理解永远处于过时的边缘,甚至经常光顾我们 国家的客人都难以跟上它变化的步伐。因此,在为中国读者选择我们创作 的样本时,我试图展示我们的作家对他们所在国的思考,和由这个古老的 陆地板块衍生出来的丰富的多样性和无尽的新发展。大多数澳大利亚人, 都以这样或那种的方式,义无反顾地挚爱这片热土。这个地方已成为我们 的一部分,我们正调整自己和正在创造的文明,使之与它慢慢才被那些移 居这里的人懂得的地方特色相适应。原住民,如上所言,在很多世纪之前 就成功地解决了自己与这片土地的关系。那么,新来的移民又带来了什么 样的变化呢?

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我们一直试图建设一个比我们来的地方更美好的国度。澳大利亚人乐 于相信他们的国家是机遇和公平之邦。毋庸多言,人性的谬误和缺陷,在 这里一如其他任何地方,是普遍存在的。史蒂文·卡罗尔的小说《进步之精 神》呈现了一个向四面扩张、吞没周围乡村的城市,同时它还展示了另一个 为澳大利亚人所熟知的主题,即,有天赋的艺术家不得不去海外发现自我。 远离世界上其他国家,在很多方面是件幸事,但同时也有其弊端。弗兰克· 穆尔豪斯重要的三部曲小说——《辉煌的日子》,《黑暗的宫殿》以及最近发 表的《冷光》,描写了一位充满理想的女青年在国联(即联合国前身)任职 的经历;这个三部曲的女主角伊迪丝,以她自己的方式表达和展现了澳大 利亚人眼里的二十世纪;她的兄弟弗雷德里克只出现在第三部,代表了共 产主义对于澳大利亚选民的吸引力,以及最终的不被接受。在爱丽丝·彭的

《她父亲的女儿》中,我们看到一个人,他深受自己在波尔布特统治下的柬 埔寨的经历的困扰,那时人人自危。爱丽丝的父亲提醒我们,澳大利亚是 一个移民国家,我们中的每个人都可能有一个令人心酸的过去。移民的孩 子们不得不作出决定,是继续为他们祖宗国的一些问题奋斗,还是如很多 人所选择的那样,把它们从脑海里一扫而光。彼得·罗伯的散文《货真“佳 食”》表明,有时恰恰是食物成为了我们在变迁过程中主要的幸存者。澳大 利亚是块福地,拥有多种多样的土壤和气候,几乎任何东西都可以在我们 这片大地的某个地方生长,一经种植,就能提供我们大多数异地开发出来 的食物。

这就是观察澳大利亚生活的一个途径,它一方面从抛弃和丢失(过 去、我们所来自的国度)的角度,另一方面从创造新的、改良的、更美好、更 慈善、更平等、更公正、更富同情等等的角度。我们也许在自欺欺人,但是许 多澳大利亚人,在出境旅游后,都觉得我们的生活方式比在其他地方看到 的好;澳大利亚人因此愿意接受很多的约束和规范,以保持我们的高水准。 这,如这个世界上的每一件事情,是要付出代价的,恰如我们在凯瑟琳 · 科尔的短篇小说《家》中所读到的,一个难民最终被他的新国家接受,却发 现自己惴惴不安,担忧女儿和她的孩子能否平安到来与他团聚。我们觉得, 她最后可能成为了那些不幸者中的一员,丧生在印度尼西亚与澳大利亚西 北部之间的大海,因为他们把自己的生命托付给了一艘并不适航的船只。

我们的诗人,当然,比其他体裁的作家更容易从这类社会学的困境 中摆脱出来。詹姆斯·麦考莱来自以苹果岛著称的塔斯马尼亚,在这里所选 的诗中,他赋予我们对那些果实累累的树木的感恩之情,我们一定相信, 果实将鲜美无比。布鲁斯·道的思虑聚焦了一对孪生孩子中的一个身上,他 也许能活下来,但我们怀疑。那个孩子,在他末尾的一行诗中,徘徊在生 死边缘,也徘徊在读者的心里。选入这期《世界文学》中的大多数作品创作 于二 000 年以后,许多甚至是二 0 一一年的,但是在诗人的选择上,较少

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考虑他们在时间叙事中的位置;正如任何一个推崇中国诗歌的人所知道的, 好诗诞生在某个时期,但注定会存活上许多世纪。澳大利亚人向来是伟大 的旅行家,无论是心灵的漫游还是身体的远足,因为我们已经意识到,我 们这个位于世界底部的岛屿大陆,与大多数人类相距遥远。不论好坏,我 们已经参与到其他地方的冲突之中(见布鲁斯·道的《回家》)。我们也许写起 遥远的人和事来(见露西·霍尔特的《亲爱的小家伙安东沙》),如同描写 近在咫尺的那般得心应手(见阿伦·沃恩的《冈德盖之路》)。我们国家与世 界其他地区之间的这点距离多少构成了亚·德·霍普那首可爱的诗作《鸟之 死》,它任由读者的心灵与鸟儿一起翱翔,而当失去旅行的意义而坠落身 下的大海时,又让读者的心充满无限的怜悯。大海自始至终在那里,欧洲 人就是在那里想象那片广阔的南国大地,并开始先描写它,接着发现它, 要是可能,就地定居在那里,并创造出新事物。

他们,那首批白人移民,犯了很多错误,其中最严重的是自以为比 原住民优越,将原住民视同为原始人,因为他们的文明发展与欧洲的完全 是背道而驰的;那些白人因而没有学会放在那里等待他们去吸取的教训; 现代的澳大利亚至今依然在为它早年的错误埋单——糟糕的农耕方式、砍 伐森林,等等。不过,它也正在学习,正如我们在盖尔·琼斯的《五次钟声》 中看到的。那是一部描写悉尼那个最为海外游客所熟知的地区的小说,但 更严格地说,它是关于过去——如肯尼斯·斯莱塞在同名诗篇《五次钟声》 中展现的样子——依然活在今天的故事。因此,她的书,在为读者呈现悉 尼最显著的特征的同时,还表明,尽管这个国家或许还年轻,但它清楚自 己的过去,并为自己能感到过去依然萦绕在当下而自豪。默里·贝尔的《桉 树》是我们这个选集中最早的小说,它将澳大利亚人讲故事的爱好与一个 人、一个农夫童话式的愚蠢进行对照。那位农民在他的农庄种植了澳大利亚 六百个品种的桉树,然后将女儿许配给了一个能辨认每一种桉树的男人。 这荒唐不经的命题触发了贝尔的想象力,他因此得以探索澳大利亚人多面 的心智,而这,很大程度上也是他恒久不变的题材。

这些作家在他们自己的国家有多大的影响?这个问题很难回答,或 许根本不可能回答。作家们得与媒体竞争,媒体使民众屈从无休无止另类、 大多肤浅的诠释的狂轰滥炸。他们迫使澳大利亚人把自己看成“消费者”, 而非民主国家的公民。也就是说,他们成为只会在花钱时数数和斤斤计较 的人。作家们以促使他们的读者思考和反省见长:这尽管从长远来说弥足 珍贵,但对经济几乎毫无促进,而是否促进经济恰恰是一个商业社会衡量 公共生活运作的标准。作家,哪怕是其中最温和的,在这点上也是叛逆者, 他们设法将读者的思想转入地下状态。甚至连这些也能被体制化。如我们在 阿曼达·劳瑞记述参观大卫·沃尔什位于塔斯马尼亚霍巴特的“新旧艺术博 物馆”的散文中看到的,沃尔什已经改变了艺术馆或博物馆的重心,把它

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从一个州政府支持和赞许的艺术馆,变成受较少控制或许更具个性化色彩
的艺术馆。如今他的艺术馆已向公众开放,取得了相当不错的口碑,并改
变了人们对其所在城市的看法:这决不是一个微不足道的成就,不过还是
与这个过去为关押囚犯之地且很难忘怀这段历史的城市颇为契合。
中国读者也许为澳大利亚长期依赖美国而感到困惑不解。我选了三篇 涉及这个关系的散文,分别是保尔·凯利,法欧娜·卡帕和唐·沃森三位的。 保尔·凯利说起美国歌手弗兰克·辛纳屈来,仿佛两种文化毫无区隔法欧奥 娜·卡帕论及的冲浪运动是我们与一些包括夏威夷在内的太平洋文化共享 的东西,但是我们也设法把这项运动变成了我们自己的东西。唐·沃森对美 国在的考量则属于晚近的阶段。沃森的书,我们选段的出处——《美国旅 踪》,既赞赏了美国的伟大,又认识到它的不足。澳大利亚人在过去的很多 年里,曾经头脑非常简单地敬仰美国,把它看成第二次世界大战中把我们 从日本侵略中解救出来的国家,总是善于解决困扰旧世界——我们过去所 认为的欧洲——的种种难题的国家。我们曾经在美国人说我们像他们时, 感到不胜荣幸;但是,如今这已不再被看作只是一个简单的相似问题。现 在的澳大利亚人变得非常具有批判精神,清醒地知道美国人的思想和行为 的怪异之处,同时,我们依然寻找着更强大的国家的保护。我们经常在亚 洲旅游,也欢迎来自我们北方国家的客人。游客、度假者,商务人员和学生, 他们融入我们之中,感觉宾至如归。我相信,他们的人数是前所未有的。一 种新的、不同的精神正在我们这方土地上蓬勃发展,我想我与大多数澳大 利亚人一样,对此表示欢迎。《世界文学》的这期澳大利亚专刊本身就是一 个贡献,我感谢贵刊全体工作人员,特别是我的编辑萧萍,还有我在北京 的好友陈姝波,是他们成就了这次专刊的出版。我还要感谢安徽大学的詹 春娟,她在我紧张收集这期材料的过程中给了我很多有用的建议。

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The Great South Land

It is quite difficult for Australians, let alone outsiders, to know how different we are from the rest of the world, and how similar.  If similar, whom do we resemble?  This question was easy to answer when we were part of the British Empire and proud of it.  Then the American influence began, first, to creep in, and then to overwhelm us.  Since World War 2 we have known, also, that we are part of Asia, even if this wasn’t always easy to accept, but today we are looking to Asia, particularly China, because economic power has shifted to the East.  (We still call it the East when we should be saying North!)  This issue of World Literature shows, I think, that Australians, and perhaps I mean European Australians, have accepted the changes taking place around us and we are letting them into our thinking … and our writing.  Another factor that must be mentioned is that the aboriginal population, so long regarded with indifference or even contempt by those who invaded their land, is getting back on its feet again.  Aboriginal Australians had the oldest culture on earth and had come to terms with a land that is both difficult, even harsh, yet also generous beyond belief.  They saw the country in a way that was unavailable to the Europeans who dispossessed them and their revenge, which may possibly be sweet to them, is that the European (and now Asian) arrivals are beginning to see how well the ancient culture suited the ancient land.  I think anyone reading the chapter from Alexis Wright’s ‘Carpentaria’ in this issue will see how all-encompassing the black people’s viewpoint was; Alexis has struck back on behalf of her people and the country will never be the same again.

I have a Chinese friend who is studying the identity of Australia as represented in its literature, and I think the best thing I can say to her, and to the readers of this magazine, is that the identity, the nature, the character of this country has been changing since British settlement in 1788, it continues to change, and always will.  Australia is, as we like to say, a work in progress.  This means that our understanding of ourselves is forever on the verge of being out of date, and even regular visitors to our country have trouble keeping up.  I have therefore, in choosing examples of our writing for Chinese readers, attempted to show our writers thinking about what sort of country they live in, with its considerable variety and endless new developments underpinned, sustained, by an ancient land mass which most Australians, in one way or another, find themselves obliged to love.  The place has become part of us and we are adapting ourselves, and the civilisation we are creating, to the characteristics of a place only slowly becoming understood by those who’ve settled here.  The aboriginal people, as stated above, sorted themselves out in relation to the land many centuries ago.  So what changes have been brought about by the new arrivals?

We have tried to build a better country than the places we’ve come from.  Australians like to believe that theirs is a land of opportunity and fairness.  Needless to say, the faults and failings of humanity prevail here as they do everywhere else.  Steven Carroll’s novel ‘The Spirit of Progress’ shows a sprawling city swallowing up the countryside around it, and it also develops another theme well known to Australians, that of the gifted artist who has to go overseas to find himself; distance from the rest of the world, a blessing in many ways, has its drawbacks too.  Frank Moorhouse’s great trilogy, ‘Grand Days’, ‘Dark Palace’, and most recently ‘Cold Light’ shows an idealistic young woman playing her part in the work of the League of Nations, forerunner of the United Nations: Edith, the leading lady of the trilogy, is, in her way, an expression of the twentieth century as seen through Australian eyes, and her brother Frederick, who figures in the third book only, is there to represent the attractions of communism to the Australian electorate, and its eventual rejection.  In Alice Pung’s ‘Her Father’s Daughter’, we see a man haunted by his experiences in the Cambodia ruled by Pol Pot, when nobody was safe.  Alice’s father reminds us that Australia is a land of migrants and each and every one of us has a past which may be painful to think about.  The children of migrants have to decide whether to continue fighting the issues of the places where they’ve come from, or sweep them out of mind, as many choose to do.  Peter Robb’s essay ‘Real Food’ shows us that sometimes it’s food that is the main survivor of this process of transition; Australia is blessed with a variety of soils and climates so that almost anything can be grown somewhere in our land, and, having been grown, it can give us most of the foods that have been developed in other places.

So it is that one way of seeing Australian life is in terms of abandonment and loss (the past, the places where we came from) on the one hand, and on the other, the creation of something new, improved, better, more charitable, more equitable, fairer, more sympathetic, and so on.  We may be deluding ourselves, but many Australians feel, after travelling beyond our borders, that we have a better way of life than can be found elsewhere; Australians are willing to accept a good deal of restriction, of regulation, in order to keep our standards high.  There is a price for this, as for everything in this world, as one can see in Catherine Cole’s story ‘Home’, where a refugee has finally been accepted into his new country but finds his mind racked with doubt about whether or not his daughter and her child will be able to join him.  She may end up, we sense, as one of the unfortunates lost at sea between Indonesia and north-west Australia because they trusted their lives to an unseaworthy boat.

Our poets, of course, can get their minds out of such sociological traps more easily than writers in other forms.  James McAuley comes from Tasmania, the apple isle as it’s known, and in the poem presented here he gives us an appreciation of the trees laden with fruit we must believe will be delicious.  Bruce Dawe reflects on a child, one of twins, who may live but, we suspect, may not.  The child is poised, in his last line, between life and death, and poised, also, in the minds of readers.  Most of the writing offered in this issue of World Literature dates from after the year 2000, and much of it from the year 2011, but the poets have been chosen with less regard for their place in time’s narrative; good poetry is born in a certain period but is destined to live for centuries, as any admirer of Chinese poetry will know.  Australians have always been great travellers, in mind as much as in body, because we have been aware, on our island continent at the bottom of the world, that most of humanity is far away.  We’ve taken part, for better or for worse, in conflicts in other places (see Bruce Dawe’s ‘Homecoming’), and we may be just as comfortable writing about people and incidents far away (see Lucy Holt’s ‘Dear Little Bastard Antoshevu’) as we are with what’s close to hand (see Alan Wearne’s ‘On The Road To Gundagai’).  Something of this distance between our country and the rest of the world underlies the lovely ‘Death Of A Bird’ of A.D.Hope, allowing the reader’s mind to fly with the bird and then fill with compassion as it loses its sense of the journey and falls to the ocean below.  The ocean has always been there; it was there when the Europeans imagined that there was a great south land and set out, first, to write about it and then to find it, if they could, settle it, and then to create something new.

They made many mistakes, those first white settlers, the worst of them being that they imagined themselves superior to the original inhabitants, whom they mostly saw as primitive because their civilisation had developed in an entirely different direction from that of Europe; they therefore didn’t learn the lessons that were there for them to absorb; modern Australia is still paying for its early mistakes – of bad farming practices, the chopping down of forests, and so on, and yet it is learning too, as we can see in Gail Jones’ ‘Five Bells’, a novel about that part of Sydney best known to overseas visitors, but more seriously about the way the past, in the form of Kenneth Slessor’s magnificent poem ‘Five Bells’ (same name) is still alive today.  Her book, therefore, in presenting the reader with Sydney’s most obvious attributes, also points out that, young as the country may be, it’s aware of its past and is proud to be able to find it haunting the present.  Murray Bail’s ‘Eucalyptus’, earliest of the novels included in our survey, contrasts Australians’ love of story-telling with the fairy tale foolishness of a man, a farmer, who plants every one of Australia’s six hundred eucalyptus varieties on his farm, then offers his daughter in marriage to the man who can identify each and every one.  This outrageous proposition releases Bail’s imagination in a way that allows him to explore many aspects of the Australian mind, which is, for the most part, his enduring subject.

How influential are these writers in their own country?  This question is hard to answer, perhaps impossible.  Writers have to compete with the media, which subjects the populace to an unending barrage of other, mostly shallower, interpretations.  There are strong pressures on Australians to consider themselves, not as citizens of a democracy, but as ‘consumers’, that is to say, as people who only count, who only matter, when they are spending such money as they may possess.  Writers prevail on their readers to think, and reflect: valuable as this may be in the long run, it hardly helps the economy and this is the yardstick for the management of public life in a society based on business.  Writers, even the most docile of them, are, in this sense, rebels who try to shift their readers’ minds to underground modes of thought.  Even these can become institutionalised, as we see in Amanda Lohrey’s essay on the inspection of David Walsh’s Museum Of Modern Art, in Hobart, Tasmania.  Walsh has altered the focus of his art gallery, or museum, from a state-supported and state-approved gallery to something less controlled, more individualised, perhaps.  His gallery, now open to the public, has been a considerable success with visitors and has altered people’s perceptions of the city where it stands: this is no inconsequential achievement, and yet it somehow fits a city with a convict past which it finds hard to put out of mind.

Chinese readers may be puzzled by Australia’s longstanding dependence on the United States of America.  I have included three essays with some bearing on this relationship: those by Paul Kelly, Fiona Capp, and Don Watson.  Paul Kelly discusses Frank Sinatra as if there is virtually no separation of the two cultures.  Fiona Capp discusses surfing as something we share with a number of Pacific cultures, but which we have also managed to make our own; while Don Watson’s consideration of America comes late in the history of this bonding.  Watson’s book, ‘American Journeys’, from which this extract is drawn, is both admiring of America’s greatness and at the same time aware of its failings.  Australians were for many years much more simple-mindedly admiring, regarding America as the nation that saved us from Japanese aggression in World War 2 and always capable of solving problems that baffled the old world, as we liked to think of Europe.  We were flattered when Americans told us we were just like them; this, however, is no longer seen as a simple resemblance.  Australians are far more critical now, aware of the oddities of American thought and behaviour, and while we still look to the stronger nation for protection, we travel regularly in Asia and welcome visitors from the countries to our north.  Tourists, holiday-makers, business people and students, they mix with our people, feeling welcome, I trust, in larger numbers than we have ever had before. Something new, a different spirit, is developing in our region and I think I am in accord with most Australians in welcoming it.  This Australian issue of World Literature is itself a contribution, and I thank the staff of World Literature, especially my editor Xiao Ping, and my dear friend Chen Shubo of Beijing, for making it happen, and also Zhan Chunjuan of Anhui University, Hefei, for much helpful advice in that intense period when I was gathering the material presented here. C.A.E.


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