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2005年NPR美国国家公共电台七月-Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' Marks 150th A

时间:2007-07-17 07:29来源:互联网 提供网友:atm009e   字体: [ ]
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In 1855, a book of poetry appeared that captured the soul of America, and expanded the possibilities for all poetry.

I celebrate myself, and what I assume, you shall assume.
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS was the first great American poem, and is being celebrated1 this year with a new 150th anniversary edition of the original. From New York Tom Vitale has the story.

When LEAVES OF GRASS appeared in 1855, nothing like it had ever been seen and printed before: a dozen untitled poems spanning 83 pages urging the reader to join the poet in a new perspective. Excerpts2 are read by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky.

Stop this day in the night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left).
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the specters in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me.
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.

It was the beginnings of free verse: long, exuberant3 flowing lines that didn't rhyme. Like his 19th-century contemporaries Whitman started out writing conventional poetry. But unlike the English Romantics and the American poets who tried to imitate them, Whitman wrote in the language and cadence4 of everyday Americans. Whitman was born in 1819 to a poor family on Long Island. He left school at the age of 11 to become a printer's apprentice5 and later worked as a newspaper editor. Biographer David Reynolds says by the time Whitman turned thirty what he saw around him changed the way he wrote.

Of course this was just before the Civil War and he was extremely upset about what was happening in this country at that time. He saw the division between the North and the South. He saw the enslavement of nearly four million African- Americans. But then when the Fugitive6 Slave Law came in 1850, he really bursts out in wrath7 and anger, and slowly we see his social passions, kind of exploding that kind of effete8 sentimental9 diction of his earlier poetry and suddenly we're in a new poetic10 universe now.

It was a poetic universe that embraced the diversity of the nation.

I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise
Regardless of others ever regardful of others
Maternal as well as paternal11.
A child as well as a man,
Stuffed with the stuff that is coarse, and stuffed with
the stuff that is fine,
One of the great nations
The nation of many nations——
The smallest the same and the largest the same,
A southerner as soon as a northerner

Robert Pinsky says Leaves of Grass is a literary landmark12 not only for its stylistic innovations but also because it was the first poem to express national ideals in passionate13 verse.

It takes a lot of thoughts that people had all through the 19th century , thoughts that people had about the United States, the thoughts that there's a democracy of experience, that the interior life of every person regardless is equal, that they're all related. And he finds this bold unwavering way of expressing their thoughts that is both sort of idiosyncratic, and that is universal the way opera is universal.

The universality of Leaves of Grass goes beyond politics to a Zen-like appreciation14 of the miracles of everyday life. Scholar David Ronald says the poem has a healing influence.

Looking at the natural world, the mystery of it, the beauty of it, things that you and I could easily take for granted, a mouth or a hair, growing out of the back of his hand, to me that's what's just beautiful about Leaves of Grass, you can read this, you can sit there in the open air, and read it and then look around you and the world can seem new and fresh.

I believe a leave of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and the grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree toad15 is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn16 the parlors17 of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery18.

Whitman tinkered with Leaves of Grass for the rest of his life; he published five more editions, each retaining the earlier poems while adding new ones including the famous elegies19 for Lincoln "Oh Captain, My Captain" and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d", but David Reynolds who edited the 150th anniversary edition of Leaves of Grass, says none of Whitman's later poems matched the sheer energy of the originals.

You know Whitman even late in life looked back and then he said, “I miss the ecstasy20 of statement of the 1855 edition, it has such a directness and such a turbulent force, and it really does. It's almost like a volcanic21 explosion of feeling and vision. ”

And it was an emotional call to frankness and tolerance22, as embodied23 in the poem by the character of Whitman himself.

Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs,
A cosmos24.
Disorderly fleshy and sensual.
Eating, drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist, no standard above men and women or apart for them, no more modest than immodest.
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

When the first edition of less than a thousand copies of Leaves of Grass appeared, Whitman's 19th-century readers weren’t buying it.

That 1855 edition didn't sell many copies. Whitman later said he had to give a lot of them away; it got some terrible reviews, it was called a stupid mass of filth25, it did however, elicited26 the response from Emerson that this was the most magnificent piece of wisdom that America has yet produced. Robert Pinsky agrees with Emerson.

Leaves of Grass, I believe like American Jazz, like certain American feature films, represents the best of our experiment, our effort to become a people, and a people but is not based on sharing some religion or some blood, but a people based on this idea literally27 of freedom.

At the end of his life, Walt Whitman's genius was finally recognized, and his work was celebrated, first in England, then here in the United States. He died in 1892. For NPR news, I am Tom Vitale, in New York.

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 celebrated iwLzpz     
adj.有名的,声誉卓著的
参考例句:
  • He was soon one of the most celebrated young painters in England.不久他就成了英格兰最负盛名的年轻画家之一。
  • The celebrated violinist was mobbed by the audience.观众团团围住了这位著名的小提琴演奏家。
2 excerpts 2decb803173f2e91acdfb31c501d6725     
n.摘录,摘要( excerpt的名词复数 );节选(音乐,电影)片段
参考例句:
  • Some excerpts from a Renaissance mass are spatchcocked into Gluck's pallid Don Juan music. 一些文艺复光时期的弥撒的选节被不适当地加入到了格鲁克平淡无味的唐璜音乐中。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He is editing together excerpts of some of his films. 他正在将自己制作的一些电影的片断进行剪辑合成。 来自辞典例句
3 exuberant shkzB     
adj.充满活力的;(植物)繁茂的
参考例句:
  • Hothouse plants do not possess exuberant vitality.在温室里培养出来的东西,不会有强大的生命力。
  • All those mother trees in the garden are exuberant.果园里的那些母树都长得十分茂盛。
4 cadence bccyi     
n.(说话声调的)抑扬顿挫
参考例句:
  • He delivered his words in slow,measured cadences.他讲话缓慢而抑扬顿挫、把握有度。
  • He liked the relaxed cadence of his retired life.他喜欢退休生活的悠闲的节奏。
5 apprentice 0vFzq     
n.学徒,徒弟
参考例句:
  • My son is an apprentice in a furniture maker's workshop.我的儿子在一家家具厂做学徒。
  • The apprentice is not yet out of his time.这徒工还没有出徒。
6 fugitive bhHxh     
adj.逃亡的,易逝的;n.逃犯,逃亡者
参考例句:
  • The police were able to deduce where the fugitive was hiding.警方成功地推断出那逃亡者躲藏的地方。
  • The fugitive is believed to be headed for the border.逃犯被认为在向国境线逃窜。
7 wrath nVNzv     
n.愤怒,愤慨,暴怒
参考例句:
  • His silence marked his wrath. 他的沉默表明了他的愤怒。
  • The wrath of the people is now aroused. 人们被激怒了。
8 effete 5PUz4     
adj.无生产力的,虚弱的
参考例句:
  • People said the aristocracy was effete.人们说贵族阶级已是日薄西山了。
  • During the ages,Greek civilization declined and became effete.在中世纪期间,希腊文明开始衰落直至衰败。
9 sentimental dDuzS     
adj.多愁善感的,感伤的
参考例句:
  • She's a sentimental woman who believes marriage comes by destiny.她是多愁善感的人,她相信姻缘命中注定。
  • We were deeply touched by the sentimental movie.我们深深被那感伤的电影所感动。
10 poetic b2PzT     
adj.富有诗意的,有诗人气质的,善于抒情的
参考例句:
  • His poetic idiom is stamped with expressions describing group feeling and thought.他的诗中的措辞往往带有描写群体感情和思想的印记。
  • His poetic novels have gone through three different historical stages.他的诗情小说创作经历了三个不同的历史阶段。
11 paternal l33zv     
adj.父亲的,像父亲的,父系的,父方的
参考例句:
  • I was brought up by my paternal aunt.我是姑姑扶养大的。
  • My father wrote me a letter full of his paternal love for me.我父亲给我写了一封充满父爱的信。
12 landmark j2DxG     
n.陆标,划时代的事,地界标
参考例句:
  • The Russian Revolution represents a landmark in world history.俄国革命是世界历史上的一个里程碑。
  • The tower was once a landmark for ships.这座塔曾是船只的陆标。
13 passionate rLDxd     
adj.热情的,热烈的,激昂的,易动情的,易怒的,性情暴躁的
参考例句:
  • He is said to be the most passionate man.据说他是最有激情的人。
  • He is very passionate about the project.他对那个项目非常热心。
14 appreciation Pv9zs     
n.评价;欣赏;感谢;领会,理解;价格上涨
参考例句:
  • I would like to express my appreciation and thanks to you all.我想对你们所有人表达我的感激和谢意。
  • I'll be sending them a donation in appreciation of their help.我将送给他们一笔捐款以感谢他们的帮助。
15 toad oJezr     
n.蟾蜍,癞蛤蟆
参考例句:
  • Both the toad and frog are amphibian.蟾蜍和青蛙都是两栖动物。
  • Many kinds of toad hibernate in winter.许多种蟾蜍在冬天都会冬眠。
16 adorn PydzZ     
vt.使美化,装饰
参考例句:
  • She loved to adorn herself with finery.她喜欢穿戴华丽的服饰。
  • His watercolour designs adorn a wide range of books.他的水彩设计使许多图书大为生色。
17 parlors d00eff1cfa3fc47d2b58dbfdec2ddc5e     
客厅( parlor的名词复数 ); 起居室; (旅馆中的)休息室; (通常用来构成合成词)店
参考例句:
  • It had been a firm specializing in funeral parlors and parking lots. 它曾经是一个专门经营殡仪馆和停车场的公司。
  • I walked, my eyes focused into the endless succession of barbershops, beauty parlors, confectioneries. 我走着,眼睛注视着那看不到头的、鳞次栉比的理发店、美容院、糖果店。
18 machinery CAdxb     
n.(总称)机械,机器;机构
参考例句:
  • Has the machinery been put up ready for the broadcast?广播器材安装完毕了吗?
  • Machinery ought to be well maintained all the time.机器应该随时注意维护。
19 elegies 57b43181c824384d42359857e8b63906     
n.哀歌,挽歌( elegy的名词复数 )
参考例句:
20 ecstasy 9kJzY     
n.狂喜,心醉神怡,入迷
参考例句:
  • He listened to the music with ecstasy.他听音乐听得入了神。
  • Speechless with ecstasy,the little boys gazed at the toys.小孩注视着那些玩具,高兴得说不出话来。
21 volcanic BLgzQ     
adj.火山的;象火山的;由火山引起的
参考例句:
  • There have been several volcanic eruptions this year.今年火山爆发了好几次。
  • Volcanic activity has created thermal springs and boiling mud pools.火山活动产生了温泉和沸腾的泥浆池。
22 tolerance Lnswz     
n.宽容;容忍,忍受;耐药力;公差
参考例句:
  • Tolerance is one of his strengths.宽容是他的一个优点。
  • Human beings have limited tolerance of noise.人类对噪音的忍耐力有限。
23 embodied 12aaccf12ed540b26a8c02d23d463865     
v.表现( embody的过去式和过去分词 );象征;包括;包含
参考例句:
  • a politician who embodied the hopes of black youth 代表黑人青年希望的政治家
  • The heroic deeds of him embodied the glorious tradition of the troops. 他的英雄事迹体现了军队的光荣传统。 来自《简明英汉词典》
24 cosmos pn2yT     
n.宇宙;秩序,和谐
参考例句:
  • Our world is but a small part of the cosmos.我们的世界仅仅是宇宙的一小部分而已。
  • Is there any other intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos?在宇宙的其他星球上还存在别的有智慧的生物吗?
25 filth Cguzj     
n.肮脏,污物,污秽;淫猥
参考例句:
  • I don't know how you can read such filth.我不明白你怎么会去读这种淫秽下流的东西。
  • The dialogue was all filth and innuendo.这段对话全是下流的言辞和影射。
26 elicited 65993d006d16046aa01b07b96e6edfc2     
引出,探出( elicit的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • Threats to reinstate the tax elicited jeer from the Opposition. 恢复此项征税的威胁引起了反对党的嘲笑。
  • The comedian's joke elicited applause and laughter from the audience. 那位滑稽演员的笑话博得观众的掌声和笑声。
27 literally 28Wzv     
adv.照字面意义,逐字地;确实
参考例句:
  • He translated the passage literally.他逐字逐句地翻译这段文字。
  • Sometimes she would not sit down till she was literally faint.有时候,她不走到真正要昏厥了,决不肯坐下来。
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