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王强英语美文 09-On Meeting the Celebrated

时间:2007-09-03 01:29来源:互联网 提供网友:feitian2009   字体: [ ]
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On Meeting the Celebrated1

William Somerset Maugham

I have always wondered at the passion many people have to meet the celebrated. The prestige you acquire by being able to tell your friends that you know famous men proves only that you are yourself of small account. The celebrated develop a technique to deal with the persons they come across. They show the world a mask, often an impressive one, but take care to conceal2 their real selves. They play the part that is expected from them, and with practice learn to play it very well, but you are stupid if you think that this public performance of theirs corresponds with the man within.

I have been attached, deeply attached, to a few people; but I have been interested in men in general not for their own sakes, but for the sake of my work. I have not, as Kant1) enjoined3, regarded each man as an end in himself, but as material that might be useful to me as a writer. I have been more concerned with the obscure than with the famous. They are more often themselves. They have had no need to create a figure to protect themselves from the world or to impress it. Their idiosyncrasies2) have had more chance to develop in the limited circle of their activity, and since they have never been in the public eye it has never occurred to them that they have anything to conceal. They display their oddities3) because it has never struck them that they are odd. And after all it is with the common run of men that we writers have to deal; kings, dictators, commercial magnates are from our point of view very unsatisfactory. To write about them is a venture that has often tempted4 writers, but the failure that has attended their efforts shows that such beings are too exceptional to form a proper ground for a work of art. They cannot be made real. The ordinary is the writer's richer field. Its unexpectedness, its singularity, its infinite variety afford unending material. The great man is too often all of a piece; it is the little man that is a bundle of contradictory5 elements. He is inexhaustible. You never come to the end of the surprises he has in store for you. For my part I would much sooner spend a month on a desert island with a veterinary surgeon than with a prime minister.

注释

1) Kant:即Immanuel Kant(伊曼努尔·康德1724- 1804),德国古典哲学创始人

2) idiosyncrasy [7idiE5siNkrEsi] n. 特质, 特性

3) oddity [5Cditi] n.奇异, 古怪, 怪癖

论见名人

许多人热衷于见名人,我始终不得其解。在朋友面前吹嘘自己认识某某名人,由此而来的声望只能证明自己的微不足道。名人个个练就了一套处世高招,无论遇上谁,都能应付自如。他们给世人展现的是一副面具,常常是美好难忘的面具,但他们会小心翼翼地掩盖自己的真相。他们扮演的是大家期待的角色,演得多了,最后都能演得惟妙惟肖。如果你以为他们在公众面前的表演就是他们的真实自我,那你就傻了。

我自己就喜欢一些人,非常喜欢他们。但我对人感兴趣一般不是因为他们自身的缘故,而是出于我工作的需求。正如康德劝告的那样,我从来没有把认识某人作为目的,而是将其当作对一个作家有用的创作素材。比之名流显士,我更加关注无名小卒。他们常常显得较为自然真实,他们无须再创造另一个人物形象,用他来保护自己不受世人干扰,或者用他去感动世人。他们的社交圈子有限,自己的种种癖性也就越有可能得到滋长。因为他们从来没有引起公众的关注,也就从来没有想到过要隐瞒什么。他们会表露他们古怪的一面,因为他们从来就没有觉得有何古怪。总之,作家要写的是普通人。在我们看来,国王、独裁者和商界大亨等都是不符合条件的。去撰写这些人物经常是作家们难以抗拒的冒险之举,可为此付出的努力不免以失败告终,这说明这些人物都过于特殊,无法成为一件艺术作品的创作根基,作家也不可能把他们写得真真切切。老百姓才是作家的创作沃土,他们或变幻无常,或难觅其二,各式人物应有尽有,这些都给作家提供了无限的创作素材。大人物经常是千人一面,小人物身上才有一组组矛盾元素,是取之不尽的创作源泉,让你惊喜不断。就我而言,如要在孤岛上度过一个月,我宁愿和一名兽医相守,也不愿同一位首相做伴。


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 conceal DpYzt     
v.隐藏,隐瞒,隐蔽
参考例句:
  • He had to conceal his identity to escape the police.为了躲避警方,他只好隐瞒身份。
  • He could hardly conceal his joy at his departure.他几乎掩饰不住临行时的喜悦。
3 enjoined a56d6c1104bd2fa23ac381649be067ae     
v.命令( enjoin的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • The embezzler was severely punished and enjoined to kick back a portion of the stolen money each month. 贪污犯受到了严厉惩罚,并被责令每月退还部分赃款。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • She enjoined me strictly not to tell anyone else. 她严令我不准告诉其他任何人。 来自辞典例句
4 tempted b0182e969d369add1b9ce2353d3c6ad6     
v.怂恿(某人)干不正当的事;冒…的险(tempt的过去分词)
参考例句:
  • I was sorely tempted to complain, but I didn't. 我极想发牢骚,但还是没开口。
  • I was tempted by the dessert menu. 甜食菜单馋得我垂涎欲滴。
5 contradictory VpazV     
adj.反驳的,反对的,抗辩的;n.正反对,矛盾对立
参考例句:
  • The argument is internally contradictory.论据本身自相矛盾。
  • What he said was self-contradictory.他讲话前后不符。
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TAG标签:   王强  英语美文  celebrate
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