分类

迷宫和一本无限的书

作者: 阮一峰

日期: 2008年1月10日

腾讯课堂 NEXT 学院

bg2008011001.jpg

昨晚睡觉前,我鬼使神差读到了博尔赫斯的短篇小说《小径分岔的花园》(The Garden of Forking Paths)。

我许多年前读过中文版,当时读得很马虎,只是知道故事大意而已。这一次重读,故意读了英文版,认真地想了想这个故事到底什么意思。(一句题外话,我总觉得看外国人的书,英文版比中文版意思清楚。)

小说的情节是这样的:

第一次世界大战时,有一个叫做余准的中国人住在英国,为德国人当间谍。余准得知了英国炮兵驻扎在艾伯特市,但是没有办法将情报送给德国。

他想出了一个绝招,从电话号码本上找到了一个叫做艾伯特的人。余准决定暗杀此人,那么英国报纸会报道这条消息,德国人看到以后也许会猜出他的用意。

艾伯特住在乡下,余准找到他后才发现此人是一个汉学家,而且偏偏研究的是余准的祖父余彭。余彭一生都梦想写一本比《红楼梦》还要伟大的小说,这本小说是无限的,可以被无穷无尽地解读,读者走进去以后就出不来。可惜这本小说没有写完,只留下了一些像谜一样的残稿。

于是,在这个故事的后半部分,余准和艾伯特就在一起探讨,余彭的本意是什么,他怎样才能做到无限。

这里提出了一个有趣的命题,如果有一本书可以被无限阅读,那么它应该怎么写?

艾伯特总结了三条经验:

1) 在什么情况下一部书才能成为无限。我认为只有一种情况,那就是循环不已、周而复始。书的最后一页要和第一页雷同,才有可能没完没了地连续下去。

2) 在所有的虚构小说中,每逢一个人面临几个不同的选择时,总是选择一种可能,排除其他;在余彭的错综复杂的小说中,主人公却选择了所有的可能性。这一来,就产生了许多不同的后世,许多不同的时间,衍生不已,枝叶纷披。

3) 小说的主题是时间。余彭认为时间没有同一性和绝对性。他认为时间有无数系列,背离的、汇合的和平行的时间织成一张不断增长、错综复杂的网。由互相靠拢、分歧、交错或者永远互不干扰的时间织成的网络包含了所有的可能性。在大部分时间里,我们并不存在;在某些时间,有你而没有我;在另一些时间,有我而没有你;再有一些时间,你我都存在。

我对这个话题很感兴趣,倒不是为了找到答案——所有关于“无限”的话题都是可以无限思考的——而是因为思索这种形而上的问题,容易使人忘记现实世界,进入一个抽象的空间,那里只存在与宇宙本质相关的东西,现实生活中无法摆脱的困扰在那里都是不足虑的尘埃。

就像这篇小说我最喜欢的一个段落:

Under the trees of England I meditated on this lost and perhaps mythical labyrinth.

在英国的树下,我思索着那个消失的神秘迷宫。

I imagined it untouched and perfect on the secret summit of some mountain;

我想象它在一座秘密的山峰上,完好无损地保存着;

I imagined it drowned under rice paddies or beneath the sea;

我想象它被稻田覆盖,或者沉没在海底;

I imagined it infinite, made not only of eight-sided pavilions and of twisting paths but also of rivers, provinces and kingdoms…

我想象它是无限的,其中不仅有八角凉亭和曲径通幽,还有许多河流、省份和王国……

I thought of a maze of mazes, of a sinuous, ever growing maze which would take in both past and future and would somehow involve the stars.

我想到了一个由迷宫组成的迷宫,它是如此复杂,而且还在不断膨胀,将过去和未来连在一起,甚至连星星也被卷入其中。

Lost in these imaginary illusions I forgot my destiny -- that of the hunted.

我沉浸在虚幻的想象中,忘记了自己的处境,忘记了有人正在追捕我。

For an undetermined period of time I felt myself cut off from the world, an abstract spectator.

有一段时间,我恍惚地感到自己从世界中分离了出来,成为一个抽象的旁观者。

The hazy and murmuring countryside, the moon, the decline of the evening, stirred within me.

乡间弥漫着夜雾和细微的声音,天上的月亮,下垂的夜色,这一切让我心潮起伏。

Going down the gently sloping road I could not feel fatigue.

顺着平缓的下坡路,我忘记了疲劳。

The evening was at once intimate and infinite.

这个夜晚顿时显得亲切、无限。


=====================

附:

The Garden of Forking Paths

小径分岔的花园

作者:[阿根廷]博尔赫斯 Jorge Luis Borges


To Victoria Ocampo

献给维多利亚·奥坎波①


In his A History of the World War (page 212), Captain Liddell Hart reports that a planned offensive by thirteen British divisions, supported by fourteen hundred artillery pieces, against the German line at Serre-Montauban, scheduled for July 24, 1916, had to be postponed until the morning of the 29th. He comments that torrential rain caused this delay一which lacked any special significance. The following deposition, dictated by, read over, and then signed by Dr. Yu Tsun, former teacher ofEnglish at the Tsingtao Hochschule, casts unsuspected light upon this event. The first two pages are missing.

利德尔·哈特写的《欧洲战争史》第二百一十二页有段记载,说是十三个英国师(有一千四百门大炮支援)对塞尔一蒙托邦防线的进攻原定于1916年7月24日发动,后来推迟到29日上午。利德尔·哈特上尉解释说延期的原因是滂沱大雨,当然并无出奇之处。青岛大学前英语教师余准博士的证言,经过记录、复述、由本人签名核实,却对这一事件提供了始料不及的说明。证言记录缺了前两页。

…and I hung up the phone. Immediately I recollected the voice that had spoken in German. It was that of Captain Richard Madden. Madden, in Viktor Runeberg's office, meant the end of all our work and一though this seemed a secondary matter, or should have seemed so to me一of our lives also. His being there meant that Runeberg had been arrested or murdered.② Before the sun set on this same day, I ran the same risk. Madden was implacable. Rather, to be more accurate, he was obliged to be implacable. An Irishman in the service of England, a man suspected of equivocal feelings if not of actual treachery, how could he fail to welcome and seize upon this extraordinary piece of luck: the discovery, capture and perhaps the deaths of two agents of Imperial Germany?

我挂上电话听筒。我随即辨出那个用德语接电话的声音。是理查德·马登的声音。马登在维克多·鲁纳伯格的住处,这意味着我们的全部辛劳付诸东流,我们的生命也到了尽头——但是这一点是次要的,至少在我看来如此。这就是说,鲁纳伯格已经被捕,或者被杀。②在那天日落之前,我也会遭到同样的命运。马登毫不留情。说得更确切一些,他非心狠手辣不可。作为一个听命于英国的爱尔兰人,他有办事不热心甚至叛卖的嫌疑,如今有机会挖出日耳曼帝国的两名间谍,拘捕或者打死他们,他怎么会不抓住这个天赐良机,感激不尽呢?

I went up to my bedroom. Absurd though the gesture was, I closed and locked the door. I threw myself down on my narrow iron bed, and waited on my back. The never changing rooftops filled the window, and the hazy six o'clock sun hung in the sky. It seemed incredible that this day, a day without warnings or omens, might be that of my implacable death. In despite of my dead father, in despite of having been a child in one of the symmetrical gardens of Hai Feng, was I to die now?

我上楼进了自己的房间,可笑地锁上门,仰面躺在小铁床上。窗外还是惯常的房顶和下午六点钟被云遮掩的太阳。这一天既无预感又无朕兆,成了我大劫难逃的死日,简直难以置信。虽然我父亲已经去世,虽然我小时候在海丰一个对称的花园里待过,难道我现在也得死去?

Then Ireflected that all things happen, happen to one, precisely now. Century follows century, and things happen only in the present. There are countless men in the air, on land and at sea, and all that really happens happens to me…The almost unbearable memory of Maddens long horseface put an end to these wandering thoughts.

随后我想,所有的事情不早不晚偏偏在目前都落到我头上了。多少年来平平静静,现在却出了事;天空、陆地和海洋人数千千万万,真出事的时候出在我头上……马登那张叫人难以容忍的马脸在我眼前浮现,驱散了我的胡思乱想。

In the midst of my hatred and terror (now that it no longer matters to me to speak of terror, now that I have outwitted Richard Madden, now that my neck hankers for the hangman's noose), I knew that the fast-moving and doubtless happy soldier did not suspect that I possessed the Secret一the name of the exact site of the new British artillery park on the Ancre. A bird streaked across the misty sky and, absently, I turned it into an airplane and then that airplane into many in the skies of France, shattering the artillery park under a rain of bombs. If only my mouth, before it should be silenced by a bullet, could shout this name in such a way that it could be heard in Germany…My voice, my human voice, was weak. How could it reach the ear of the Chief? The ear of that sick and hateful man who knew nothing of Runeberg or of me except that we were in Staffordshire. A man who, sitting in his arid Berlin office, leafed infinitely through newspapers, looking in vain for news from us. I said aloud, "I must flee."

我又恨又怕(我已经骗过了理查德·马登,只等上绞刑架,承认自己害怕也无所谓了),心想那个把事情搞得一团糟、自鸣得意的武夫肯定知道我掌握秘密。准备轰击昂克莱的英国炮队所在地的名字。一只鸟掠过窗外灰色的天空,我在想像中把它化为一架飞机,再把这架飞机化成许多架,在法国的天空精确地投下炸弹,摧毁了炮队。我的嘴巴在被一颗枪弹打烂之前能喊出那个地名,让德国那边听到就好了……我血肉之躯所能发的声音太微弱了。怎么才能让它传到头头的耳朵?那个病恹恹的讨厌的人,只知道鲁纳伯格和我在斯塔福德郡,在柏林闭塞的办公室里望眼欲穿等我们的消息,没完没了地翻阅报纸……我得逃跑,我大声说。

I sat up on the bed, in senseless and perfect silence, as if Madden was already peering at me. Something一perhaps merely a desire to prove my total penury to myself一made me empty out my pockets. I found just what I knew I was going to find. The American watch, the nickel-plated chain and the square coin, the key ring with the useless but compromising keys to Runeberg's office, the notebook, a letter which I decided to destroy at once (and which I did not destroy), a five shilling piece, two single shillings and some pennies, a red and blue pencil, a handkerchief一and a revolver with a single bullet. Absurdly I held it and weighed it in my hand, to give myself courage. Vaguely I thought that a pistol shot can be heard for a great distance.

我毫无必要地悄悄起来,仿佛马登已经在窥探我。我不由自主地检查一下口袋里的物品,也许仅仅是为了证实自己毫无办法。我找到的都是意料之中的东西。那只美国挂表,镍制表链和那枚四角形的硬币,拴着鲁纳伯格住所钥匙的链子,现在已经没有用处但是能构成证据,一个笔记本,一封我看后决定立即销毁但是没有销毁的信,假护照,一枚五先令的硬币,两个先令和几个便士,一枝红蓝铅笔,一块手帕和装有一颗子弹的左轮手枪。我可笑地拿起枪,在手里掂掂,替自己壮胆。我模糊地想,枪声可以传得很远。

In ten minutes I had developed my plan. The telephone directory gave me the name of the one person capable of passing on the information. He lived in a suburb of Fenton, less than half an hour away by train.

不出十分钟,我的计划已考虑成熟。电话号码簿给了我一个人的名字,惟有他才能替我把情报传出去:他住在芬顿郊区,不到半小时的火车路程。

I am a timorous man. I can say it now, now that I have brought my incredibly risky plan to an end. It was not easy to bring about, and I know that its execution was terrible. I did not do it for Germany 一no! Such a barbarous country is of no importance to me, particularly since it had degraded me by making me become a spy. Furthermore, I knew an Englishman一a modest man一who, for me, is as great as Goethe. I did not speak with him for more than an hour, but during that time, he was Goethe.

我是个怯懦的人。我现在不妨说出来,因为我已经实现了一个谁都不会说是冒险的计划。我知道实施过程很可怕。不,我不是为德国干的。我才不关心一个使我堕落成为间谍的野蛮的国家呢。此外,我认识一个英国人——一个谦逊的人——对我来说并不低于歌德。我同他谈话的时间不到一小时,但是在那一小时中间他就像是歌德……

I carried out my plan because I felt the Chief had some fear of those of my race, of those uncountable forebears whose culmination lies in me. I wished to prove to him that a yellow man could save his armies. Besides, I had to escape the Captain. His hands and voice could, at any moment, knock and beckon at my door.

我之所以这么做,是因为我觉得头头瞧不起我这个种族的人——瞧不起在我身上汇集的无数先辈。我要向他证明一个黄种人能够拯救他的军队。此外,我要逃出上尉的掌心。他随时都可能敲我的门,叫我的名字。

Silently, I dressed, took leave of myself in the mirror, went down the stairs, sneaked a look at the quiet street, and went out. The station was not far from my house, but I thought it more prudent to take a cab. I told myself that I thus ran less chance of being recognized. The truth is that, in the deserted street, I felt infinitely visible and vulnerable. I recall that I told the driver to stop short of the main entrance.

我悄悄地穿好衣服,对着镜子里的我说了再见,下了楼,打量一下静寂的街道,出去了。火车站离此不远,但我认为还是坐马车妥当。理由是减少被人认出的危险;事实是在阒无一人的街上,我觉得特别显眼,特别不安全。我记得我吩咐马车夫不到车站人口处就停下来。

I got out with a painful and deliberate slowness.I was going to the village of Ashgrove, but took a ticket for a station further on. The train would leave in a few minutes, at eight-fifty. I hurried, for the next would not go until half past nine. There was almost no one on the platform. I walked through the carriages. I remember some farmers, a woman dressed in mourning, a youth deep in Tacitus' Annals and a wounded, happy soldier.

我磨磨蹭蹭下了车,我要去的地点是阿什格罗夫村,但买了一张再过一站下的车票。这趟车马上就开:八点五十分。我得赶紧,下一趟九点半开车。月台上几乎没有人。我在几个车厢看看:有几个农民,一个服丧的妇女,一个专心致志在看塔西佗的《编年史》的青年,一个显得很高兴的士兵。

At last the train pulled out. A man I recognized ran furiously, but vainly, the length of the platform. It was Captain Richard Madden. Shattered, trembling, I huddled in the distant corner of the seat, as far as possible from the fearful window.

列车终于开动。我认识的一个男人匆匆跑来,一直追到月台尽头,可是晚了一步。是理查德·马登上尉。我垂头丧气、忐忑不安,躲开可怕的窗口,缩在座位角落里。

From utter terror I passed into a state of almost abject happiness. I told myself that the duel had already started and that I had won the first encounter by besting my adversary in his first attack-even if it was only for forty minutes一by an accident of fate. I argued that so small a victory prefigured a total victory. I argued that it was not so trivial, that were it not for the precious accident of the train schedule, I would be in prison or dead. I argued, with no less sophism, that my timorous happiness was proof that I was man enough to bring this adventure to a successful conclusion. From my weakness I drew strength that never left me.

我从垂头丧气变成自我解嘲的得意。想到我的决斗已经开始,即使全凭侥幸抢先了四十分钟,躲过了对手的攻击,我也赢得了第一个回合。我想这一小小的胜利预先展示了彻底成功。我想胜利不能算小,如果没有火车时刻表给我的宝贵的抢先一着,我早就给关进监狱或者给打死了。我不无诡辩地想,我怯懦的顺利证明我能完成冒险事业。我从怯懦中汲取了在关键时刻没有抛弃我的力量。

I foresee that man will resign himself each day to new abominations, that soon only soldiers and bandits will be left. To them I offer this advice: Whosoever would undertake some atrocious enterprise should act as if it were already accomplished, should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.

我预料人们越来越屈从于穷凶极恶的事情;要不了多久世界上全是清一色的武夫和强盗了;我要奉劝他们的是;做穷凶极恶的事情的人应当假想那件事情已经完成,应当把将来当成过去那样无法挽回。

Thus Iproceeded, while with the eyes of a man already dead, I contemplated the fluctuations of the day which would probably be my last, and watched the diffuse coming of night.

我就是那样做的,我把自己当成已经死去的人,冷眼观看那一天,也许是最后一天的逝去和夜晚的降临。

The train crept along gently, amid ash trees. It slowed down and stopped, almost in the middle of a field. No one called the name of a station. "Ashgrove?" I asked some children on the platform. "Ashgrove," they replied. I got out.

列车在两旁的档树中徐徐行驶。在荒凉得像是旷野的地方停下,没有人报站名。是阿什格罗夫吗?我问月台上几个小孩。阿什格罗夫,他们回答说。我便下了车。

A lamp lit the platform, but the children's faces remained in a shadow. One of them asked me: "Are you going to Dr. Stephen Albert's house?" Without waiting for my answer, another said: "The house is a good distance away but you won't get lost if you take the road to the left and bear to the left at every crossroad." I threw them a coin (my last), went down some stone steps and started along a deserted road. At a slight incline, the road ran downhill. It was a plain dirt way, and overhead the branches of trees intermingled, while a round moon hung low in the sky as if to keep me company.

月台上有一盏灯光照明,但是小孩们的脸在阴影中。有一个小孩问我:您是不是要去斯蒂芬·艾伯特博士家?另一个小孩也不等我回答,说道:他家离这儿很远,不过您走左边那条路,每逢交叉路口就往左拐,不会找不到的。我给了他们一枚钱币(我身上最后的一枚),下了几级石阶,走上那条僻静的路。路缓缓下坡。是一条泥土路,两旁都是树,枝桠在上空相接,低而圆的月亮仿佛在陪伴我走。

For a moment I thought that Richard Madden might in some way have divined my desperate intent. At once I realized that this would be impossible. The advice about turning always to the left reminded me that such was the common formula for finding the central courtyard of certain labyrinths. I know something about labyrinths. Not for nothing am I the greatgrandson of Ts'ui Pen. He was Governor of Yunnan and gave up temporal power to write a novel with more characters than there are in the Hung Lou Meng, and to create a maze in which all men would lose themselves. He spent thirteen years on these oddly assorted tasks before he was assassinated by a stranger. His novel had no sense to it and nobody ever found his labyrinth.

有一阵子我想理查德·马登用某种办法已经了解到我铤而走险的计划。但我立即又明白那是不可能的。小孩叫我老是往左拐,使我想起那就是找到某些迷宫的中心院子的惯常做法。我对迷宫有所了解:我不愧是彭取的曾孙,彭取是云南总督,他辞去了高官厚禄,一心想写一部比《红楼梦》人物更多的小说,建造一个谁都走不出来的迷宫。他在这些庞杂的工作上花了十三年工夫,但是一个外来的人刺杀了他,他的小说像部天书,他的迷宫也无人发现。

Under the trees of England I meditated on this lost and perhaps mythical labyrinth. I imagined it untouched and perfect on the secret summit of some mountain; I imagined it drowned under rice paddies or beneath the sea; I imagined it infinite, made not only of eight-sided pavilions and of twisting paths but also of rivers, provinces and kingdoms…I thought of a maze of mazes, of a sinuous, ever growing maze which would take in both past and future and would somehow involve the stars. Lost in these imaginary illusions I forgot my destiny一that of the hunted. For an undetermined period of time I felt myself cut off from the world, an abstract spectator. The hazy and murmuring countryside, the moon, the decline of the evening, stirred within me. Going down the gently sloping road I could not feel fatigue. The evening was at once intimate and infinite.

我在英国的树下思索着那个失落的迷宫:我想像它在一个秘密的山峰上原封未动’,被稻田埋没或者淹在水下,我想像它广阔无比,不仅是一些八角凉亭和通幽曲径,而是由河川、省份和王国组成……我想像出一个由迷宫组成的迷宫,一个错综复杂、生生不息的迷宫,包罗过去和将来,在某种意义上甚至牵涉到别的星球。我沉浸在这种虚幻的想像中,忘掉了自己被迫捕的处境。在一段不明确的时间里,我觉得自己抽象地领悟了这个世界。模糊而生机勃勃的田野、月亮、傍晚的时光,以及轻松的下坡路,这一切使我百感丛生。傍晚显得亲切、无限。

The road kept descending and branching off, through meadows misty in the twilight. A high-pitched and almost syllabic music kept coming and going, moving with the breeze, blurred by the leaves and by distance.

道路继续下倾,在模糊的草地里岔开两支。一阵清越的乐声抑扬顿挫,随风飘荡,或近或远,穿透叶丛和距离。

I thought that a man might be an enemy of other men, of the differing moments of other men, but never an enemy of acountry: not of fireflies, words, gardens, streams, or the West wind.

我心想,一个人可以成为别人的仇敌,成为别人一个时期的仇敌,但不能成为一个地区、萤火虫、字句、花园、水流和风的仇敌。

Meditating thus I arrived at a high, rusty iron gate. Through the railings I could see an avenue bordered with poplar trees and also a kind of summer house or pavilion. Two things dawned on me at once, the first trivial and the second almost incredible: the music came from the pavilion and that music was Chinese. That was why I had accepted it fully, without paying it any attention. I do not remember whether there was a bell, a push-button, or whether I attracted attention by clapping myhands. The stuttering sparks of the music kept on.

我这么想着,来到一扇生锈的大铁门前。从栏杆里,可以望见一条林阴道和一座凉亭似的建筑。我突然明白了两件事,第一件微不足道,第二件难以置信;乐声来自凉亭,是中国音乐。正因为如此,我并不用心倾听就全盘接受了。我不记得门上是不是有铃,是不是我击掌叫门。像火花进溅似的乐声没有停止。

But from the end of the avenue, from the main house, a lantern approached; a lantern which alternately, from moment to moment, was crisscrossed or put out by the trunks of the trees; a paper lantern shaped like a drum and colored like the moon. A tall man carried it. I could not see his face for the light blinded me.

然而,一盏灯笼从深处房屋出来,逐渐走近:一盏月白色的鼓形灯笼,有时被树干挡住。提灯笼的是个高个子。由于光线耀眼,我看不清他的脸。

He opened the gate and spoke slowly in my language.

他打开铁门,慢条斯理地用中文对我说:

"I see that the worthy Hsi P'eng has troubled himself to see to relieving my solitude. No doubt you want to see the garden?"

“看来彭熙情意眷眷,不让我寂寞。您准也是想参观花园吧?”

Recognizing the name of one of our consuls, I replied, somewhat taken aback.

我听出他说的是我们一个领事的姓名,我莫名其妙地接着说:

"The garden?"

“花园?”

"The garden of forking paths."

“小径分岔的花园。”

Something stirred in my memory and I said, with incomprehensible assurance:

我心潮起伏,难以理解地肯定说:

"The garden of my ancestor, Ts'ui Pen."

“那是我曾祖彭取的花园。”

"Your ancestor? Your illustrious ancestor? Come in."

“您的曾祖?您德高望重的曾祖?请进,请进。”

The damp path zigzagged like those of my childhood. When we reached the house, we went into a library filled with books from both East and West. I recognized some large volumes bound in yellow silk-manuscripts of the Lost Encyclopedia which was edited by the Third Emperor of the Luminous Dynasty. They had never been printed. A phonograph record was spinning near a bronze phoenix. I remember also a rose-glazed jar and yet another, older by many centuries, of that blue color which our potters copied from the Persians…

潮湿的小径弯弯曲曲,同我儿时的记忆一样。我们来到一间藏着东方和西方书籍的书房。我认出几卷用黄绢装订的手抄本,那是从未付印韵明朝第三个皇帝下诏编纂的《永乐大典》的佚卷。留声机上的唱片还在旋转,旁边有一只青铜凤凰。我记得有一只红瓷花瓶,还有一只早几百年的蓝瓷,那是我们的工匠模仿波斯陶器工人的作品……

Stephen Albert was watching me with a smile on his face. He was, as I have said, remarkably tall. His face was deeply lined and he had gray eyes and a gray beard. There was about him something of the priest, and something of the sailor. Later, he told me he had been a missionary in Tientsinbefore he "had aspired to become a Sinologist."

斯蒂芬·艾伯特微笑着打量着我。我刚才说过,他身材很高,轮廓分明,灰眼睛,灰胡子。他的神情有点像神甫,又有点像水手;后来他告诉我,“在想当汉学家之前,他在天津当过传教士。”

We sat down, I upon a large, low divan, he with his back to the window and to a large circular clock. I calculated that my pursuer, Richard Madden, could not arrive in less than an hour. My irrevocable decision could wait.

我们落了座;我坐在一张低矮的长沙发上,他背朝着窗口和一个落地圆座钟。我估计一小时之内追捕我的理查德·马登到不了这里。我的不可挽回的决定可以等待。

"A strange destiny," said Stephen Albert, "that of Ts'ui Pen一Governor of his native province, learned in astronomy, in astrology and tireless in the interpretation of the canonical books, a chess player, a famous poet and a calligrapher. Yet he abandoned all to make a book and a labyrinth. He gave up all the pleasures of oppression, justice, of a well-stocked bed, of banquets, and even of erudition, and shut himself up in the Pavilion of the Limpid Sun for thirteen years. At his death, his heirs found only a mess of manuscripts. The family, as you doubtless know, wished to consign them to the fire, but the executor of the estate一a Taoist or a Buddhist monk一insisted on their publication."

“彭取的一生真令人惊异,”斯蒂芬·艾伯特说。“他当上家乡省份的总督,精通天文、占星、经典诠诂、棋艺,又是著名的诗人和书法家:他抛弃了这一切,去写书、盖迷宫。他抛弃了炙手可热的官爵地位、娇妻美妾、盛席琼筵,甚至抛弃了治学,在明虚斋闭户不出十三年。他死后,继承人只找到一些杂乱无章的手稿。您也许知道,他家里的人要把手稿烧掉;但是遗嘱执行人——一个道士或和尚——坚持要刊行。”

"Those of the blood of Ts'ui Pen," I replied, "still curse the memory of that monk. Such a publication was madness. The book is a shapeless mass of contradictory rough drafts. I examined it once upon a time: the hero dies in the third chapter, while in the fourth he is alive. As for that other enterprise of Ts'ui Pen…his Labyrinth…”

“彭寂的后人,”我插嘴说,“至今还在责怪那个道士。刊行是毫无道理的。那本书是一堆自相矛盾的草稿的汇编。我看过一次:主人公在第三回里死了,第四回里又活了过来。至于彭取的另一项工作,那座迷宫……”

"Here is the Labyrinth," Albert said, pointing to a tall, laquered writing cabinet. "An ivory labyrinth?" I exclaimed. "A tiny labyrinth indeed…!”

“那就是迷宫,”他指着一个高高的漆柜说。“一个象牙雕刻的迷宫!”我失声喊道。“一座微雕迷宫……”

"A symbolic labyrinth," he corrected me. "An invisible labyrinth of time. I, a barbarous Englishman, have been given the key to this transparent mystery. After more than a hundred years most of the details are irrecoverable, lost beyond all recall, but it isn't hard to image what must have happened. At one time, Ts'ui Pen must have said; 'I am going into seclusion to write a book,' and at another, 'I am retiring to construct a maze.' Everyone assumed these were separate activities. No one realized that the book and the labyrinth were one and the same. The Pavilion of the Limpid Sun was set in the middle of an intricate garden. This may have suggested the idea of a physical maze.

“一座象征的迷宫,”他纠正我说。“一座时间的无形迷宫。我这个英国蛮子有幸悟出了明显的奥秘。经过一百多年之后,细节已无从查考,但不难猜测当时的情景。彭取有一次说:我引退后要写一部小说。另一次说:我引退后要盖一座迷宫。人们都以为是两件事;谁都没有想到书和迷宫是一件东西。明虚斋固然建在一个可以说是相当错综的花园的中央;这一事实使人们联想起一座实实在在的迷宫。

"Ts'ui Pen died. In all the vast lands which once belonged to your family, no one could find the labyrinth. The novel's confusion suggested that it was the labyrinth. Two circumstances showed me the direct solution to the problem. First, the curious legend that Ts'ui Pen had proposed to create an infinite maze, second, a fragment of a letter which I discovered."

彭取死了;在他广阔的地产中间,谁都没有找到迷宫。两个情况使我直截了当地解决了这个问题。一是关于彭寂打算盖一座绝对无边无际的迷宫的奇怪的传说。二是我找到的一封信的片断。”

Albert rose. For a few moments he turned his back to me. He opened the top drawer in the high black and gilded writing cabinet. He returned holding in his hand a piece of paper which had once been crimson but which had faded with the passage of time: it was rose colored, tenuous, quadrangular. Ts'ui Pen's calligraphy was justly famous. Eagerly, but without understanding, I read the words which a man of my own blood had written with a small brush: "I leave to various future times, but not to all, my garden of forking paths." I handed back the sheet of paper in silence. Albert went on:

艾伯特站起来。他打开那个已经泛黑的金色柜子,背朝着我有几秒钟之久。他转身时手里拿着一张有方格的薄纸,原先的大红已经退成粉红色。彭寂一手好字名不虚传。我热切然而不甚了了地看着我一个先辈用蝇头小楷写的字:我将小径分岔的花园留诸若干后世(并非所有后世)。我默默把那张纸还给艾伯特。他接着说:

"Before I discovered this letter, I kept asking myself how a book could be infinite. I could not imagine any other than a cyclic volume, circular. A volume whose last page would be the same as the first and so have the possibility of continuing indefinitely. I recalled, too, the night in the middle of The Thousand and One Nights when Queen Scheherezade, through a magical mistake on the part of her copyist, started to tell the story of The Thousand and One Nights, with the risk of again arriving at the night upon which she will relate it, and thus on to infinity. I also imagined a Platonic hereditary work, passed on from father to son, to which each individual would add a new chapter or correct, with pious care, the work of his elders.

“在发现这封信之前,我曾自问:在什么情况下一部书才能成为无限。我认为只有一种情况,那就是循环不已、周而复始。书的最后一页要和第一页雷同,才有可能没完没了地连续下去。我还想起一千零一夜正中间的那一夜,山鲁佐德王后(由于抄写员神秘的疏忽)开始一字不差地叙说一千零一夜的故事,这一来有可能又回到她讲述的那一夜,从而变得无休无止。我又想到口头文学作品,父子口授,代代相传,每一个新的说书人加上新的章回或者虔敬地修改先辈的章节。

"These conjectures gave me amusement, but none seemed to have the remotest application to the contradictory chapters of Ts'ui Pen. At this point, I was sent from Oxford the manuscript you have just seen.

我潜心琢磨这些假设,但是同彭取自相矛盾的章回怎么也对不上号。正在我困惑的时候,牛津给我寄来您见到的手稿。

"Naturally, my attention was caught by the sentence, 'I leave to various future times, but not to all, my garden of forking paths: I had no sooner read this, than I understood. The Garden of Forking Paths was the chaotic novel itself. The phrase 'to various future times, but not to all' suggested the image of bifurcating in time, not in space. Rereading the whole work confirmed this theory. In all fiction, when a man is faced with alternatives he chooses one at the expense of the others. In the almost unfathomable Ts'ui Pen, he chooses一simultaneously一all of them. He thus creates various futures, various times which start others that will in their turn branch out and bifurcate in other times. This is the cause of the contradictions in the novel.

很自然,我注意到这句话:我将小径分岔的花园留诸若干后世(并非所有后世)。我几乎当场就恍然大悟;小径分岔的花园就是那部杂乱无章的小说;若干后世(并非所有后世)这句话向我揭示的形象是时间而非空间的分岔。我把那部作品再浏览一遍,证实了这一理论。在所有的虚构小说中,每逢一个人面临几个不同的选择时,总是选择一种可能,排除其他;在彭寂的错综复杂的小说中,主人公却选择了所有的可能性。这一来,就产生了许多不同的后世,许多不同的时间,衍生不已,枝叶纷披。小说的矛盾就由此而起。

"Fang, let us say, has a secret. A stranger knocks at his door. Fang makes up his mind to kill him. Naturally there are various possible outcomes. Fang can kill the intruder, the intruder can kill Fang, both can be saved, both can die and so on and so on. In Ts'ui Pen's work, all the possible solutions occur, each one being the point of departure for other bifurcations. Sometimes the pathways of this labyrinth converge. For example, you come to this house; but in other possible pasts you are my enemy; in others my friend. If you will put up with my atrocious pronunciation, I would like to read you a few pages of your ancestor's work."

比如说,方君有个秘密;一个陌生人找上门来;方君决心杀掉他。很自然,有几个可能的结局:方君可能杀死不速之客,可能被他杀死,两人可能都安然无恙,也可能都死,等等。在彭寂的作品里,各种结局都有;每一种结局是另一些分岔的起点。有时候,迷宫的小径汇合了:比如说,您来到这里,但是某一个可能的过去,您是我的敌人,在另一个过去的时期,您又是我的朋友。如果您能忍受我糟糕透顶的发音,咱们不妨念几页。”

His countenance, in the bright circle of lamplight, was certainly that of an ancient, but it shone with something unyielding, even immortal.

在明快的灯光下,他的脸庞无疑是一张老人的脸,但有某种坚定不移的、甚至是不朽的神情。

With slow precision, he read two versions of the same epic chapter. In the first, an army marches into battle over a desolate mountain pass. The bleak and somber aspect of the rocky landscape made the soldiers feel that life itself was of little value, and so they won the battle easily. In the second, the same army passes through a palace where a banquet is in progress. The splendor of the feast remained a memory throughout the glorious battle, and so victory followed.

他缓慢而精确地朗读同一章的两种写法。其一,一支军队翻越荒山投入战斗;困苦万状的山地行军使他们不惜生命,因而轻而易举地打了胜仗;其二,同一支军队穿过一座正在欢宴的宫殿,兴高采烈的战斗像是宴会的继续,他们也夺得了胜利。

With proper veneration I listened to these old tales, although perhaps with less admiration for them in themselves than for the fact that they had been thought out by one of my own blood, and that a man of a distant empire had given them back to me, in the last stage of a desperate adventure, on a Western island. I remember the final words, repeated at the end of each version like a secret command: "Thus the heroes fought, with tranquil heart and bloody sword. They were resigned to killing and to dying."

我带着崇敬的心情听着这些古老的故事,更使我惊异的是想出故事的人是我的祖先,为我把故事恢复原状的是一个遥远帝国的人,时间在一场孤注一掷的冒险过程之中,地点是一个西方岛国。我还记得最后的语句,像神秘的戒律一样在每种写法中加以重复:英雄们就这样战斗,可敬的心胸无畏无惧,手中的钢剑凌厉无比,只求杀死对手或者沙场捐躯。

At that moment I felt within me and around me something invisible and intangible pullulating. It was not the pullulation of two divergent, parallel, and finally converging armies, but an agitation more inaccessible, more intimate, prefigured by them in some way. Stephen Albert continued:

从那一刻开始,我觉得周围和我身体深处有一种看不见的、不可触摸的躁动。不是那些分道扬镳的、并行不悖的、最终汇合的军队的躁动,而是一种更难掌握、更隐秘的、已由那些军队预先展示的激动。斯蒂芬·艾伯特接着说:

"I do not think that your illustrious ancestor toyed idly with variations. I do not find it believable that he would waste thirteen years laboring over a never ending experiment in rhetoric. In your country the novel is an inferior genre; in Ts'ui Pen's period, it was a despised one. Ts'ui Pen was a fine novelist but he was also a man of letters who, doubtless, considered himself more than a mere novelist. The testimony of his contemporaries attests to this, and certainly the known facts of his life confirm his leanings toward the metaphysical and the mystical. Philosophical conjectures take up the greater part of his novel. I know that of all problems, none disquieted him more, and none concerned him more than the profound one of time. Now then, this is the only problem that does not figure in the pages of The Garden. He does not even use the word which means time. How can these voluntary omissions be explained?"

“我不信您显赫的祖先会徒劳无益地玩弄不同的写法。我认为他不可能把十三年光阴用于无休无止的修辞实验。在您的国家,小说是次要的文学体裁;那时候被认为不登大雅。彭寂是个天才的小说家,但也是一个文学家,他绝不会认为自己只是个写小说的。和他同时代的人公认他对玄学和神秘主义的偏爱,他的一生也充分证实了这一点。哲学探讨占据他小说的许多篇幅。我知道,深不可测的时间问题是他最关心、最专注的问题。可是《花园》手稿中惟独没有出现这个问题。甚至连时间这个词都没有用过。您对这种故意回避怎么解释呢?”

I proposed various solutions, all of them inadequate. We discussed them. Finally Stephen Albert said:

我提出几种看法;都不足以解答。我们争论不休;斯蒂芬·艾伯特最后说:

"In a guessing game to which the answer is chess, which word is the only one prohibited?"

“设一个谜底是‘棋’的谜语时,谜面惟一不准用的字是什么?”

I thought for a moment and then replied: "The word is chess."

我想一会儿后说: “‘棋’字。”

"Precisely," said Albert. "The Garden of Forking Paths is an enormous guessing game, or parable, in which the subject is time. The rules of the game forbid the use of the word itself. To eliminate a word completely, to refer to it by means of inept phrases and obvious paraphrases, is perhaps the best way of drawing attention to it. This, then, is the tortuous method of approach preferred by the oblique Ts'ui Pen in every meandering of his interminable novel. I have gone over hundreds of manuscripts, I have corrected errors introducedby careless copyists, I have worked out the plan from this chaos, I have restored, or believe I have restored, the original. I have translated the whole work. I can state categorically that not once has the word time been used in the whole book.

“一点不错,”艾伯特说。“小径分岔的花园是一个庞大的谜语,或者是寓言故事,谜底是时间,这一隐秘的原因不允许手稿中出现‘时间’这个词。自始至终删掉一个词,采用笨拙的隐喻、明显的迂回,也许是挑明谜语的最好办法。彭取在他孜孜不倦创作的小说里,每有转折就用迂回的手法。我核对了几百页手稿,勘正了抄写员的疏漏错误,猜出杂乱的用意,恢复、或者我认为恢复了原来的顺序,翻译了整个作品;但从未发现有什么地方用过‘时间’这个词。

"The explanation is obvious. The Garden of Forking Paths is a picture, incomplete yet not false, of the universe such as Ts'ui Pen conceived it to be. Differing from Newton and Schopenhauer, your ancestor did not think of time as absolute and uniform. He believed in an infinite series of times, in a dizzily growing, ever spreading network of diverging, converging and parallel times. This web of time一the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries一embraces every possibility. We do not exist in most of them. In some you exist and not I, while in others I do, and you do not, and in yet others both of us exist. In this one, in which chance has favored me, you have come to my gate. In another, you, crossing the garden, have found me dead. In yet another, I say these very same words, but am an error, a phantom."

显而易见,小径分岔的花园是彭取心目中宇宙的不完整、然而绝非虚假的形象。您的祖先和牛顿、叔本华不同的地方是他认为时间没有同一性和绝对性。他认为时间有无数系列,背离的、汇合的和平行的时间织成一张不断增长、错综复杂的网。由互相靠拢、分歧、交错或者永远互不干扰的时间织成的网络包含了所有的可能性。在大部分时间里,我们并不存在;在某些时间,有你而没有我;在另一些时间,有我而没有你;再有一些时间,你我都存在。目前这个时刻,偶然的机会使您光临舍间;在另一个时刻,您穿过花园,发现我已死去;再在另一个时刻,我说着目前所说的话,不过我是个错误,是个幽灵。

"In all of them," I enunciated, with a tremor in my voice. "I deeply appreciate and am grateful to you for the restoration of Ts'ui Pen's garden."

“在所有的时刻,”我微微一震说,“我始终感谢并且钦佩你重新创造了彭取的花园。”

"Not in all," he murmured with a smile. "Time is forever dividing itself toward innumerable futures and in one of them I am your enemy."

“不可能在所有的时刻,”他一笑说。“因为时间永远分岔,通向无数的将来。在将来的某个时刻,我可以成为您的敌人。”

Once again I sensed the pullulation of which I have already spoken. It seemed to me that the dew-damp garden surrounding the house was infinitely saturated with invisible people. All were Albert and myself, secretive, busy and multiform in other dimensions of time. I lifted my eyes and the short nightmare disappeared. In the black and yellow garden there was only a single man, but this man was as strong as a statue and this man was walking up the path and he was Captain Richard Madden.

我又感到刚才说过的躁动。我觉得房屋四周潮湿的花园充斥着无数看不见的人。那些人是艾伯特和我,隐蔽在时间的其他维度之中,忙忙碌碌,形形色色。我再抬起眼睛时,那层梦魇似的薄雾消散了。黄黑二色的花园里只有一个人,但是那个人像塑像似的强大,在小径上走来,他就是理查德·马登上尉。

"The future exists now," I replied. "But I am your friend. Can I take another look at the letter?"

“将来已经是眼前的事实,”我说。“不过我是您的朋友。我能再看看那封信吗?”

Albert rose from his seat. He stood up tall as he opened the top drawer of the high writing cabinet. For a moment his back was again turned to me. I had the revolver ready. I fired with the utmost care: Albert fell without a murmur, at once. I swear that his death was instantaneous, as if he had been struck by lightning.

艾伯特站起身。他身材高大,打开了那个高高柜子的抽屉;有几秒钟工夫,他背朝着我。我已经握好手枪。我特别小心地扣下扳机:艾伯特当即倒了下去,哼都没有哼一声。我肯定他是立刻丧命的,是猝死。

What remains is unreal and unimportant. Madden broke in and arrested me. I have been condemned to hang. Abominably, I have yet triumphed! The secret name of the city to be attacked got through to Berlin. Yesterday it was bombed. I read the news in the same English newspapers which were trying to solve the riddle of the murder of the learned Sinologist Stephen Albert by the unknown Yu Tsun. The Chief, however, had already solved this mystery. He knew that my problem was to shout, with my feeble voice, above the tumult of war, the name of the city called Albert, and that I had no other course open to me than to kill someone of that name. He does not know, for no one can, of my infinite penitence and sickness of the heart.

其余的事情微不足道,仿佛一场梦。马登闯了进来,逮捕了我。我被判绞刑。我很糟糕地取得了胜利:我把那个应该攻击的城市的保密名字通知了柏林。昨天他们进行轰炸,我是在报上看到的。报上还有一条消息说著名汉学家斯蒂芬·艾伯特被一个名叫余准的陌生人暗杀身死,暗杀动机不明,给英国出了一个谜。柏林的头头破了这个谜。他知道在战火纷飞的时候我难以通报那个叫艾伯特的城市的名称,除了杀掉一个叫那名字的人之外,找不出别的办法。他不知道(谁都不可能知道)我的无限悔恨和厌倦。

①维多利亚·奥坎波(1891—1979),阿根廷散文作家、文学评论家。曾编辑《南方》杂志,著有(证言》、《弗吉尼亚·吴尔夫论》等。

②A malicious and outlandish statement. In point of fact, Captain Richard Madden had been attacked by the Prussian spy Hans Rabener, alias Viktor Runeberg, who drew an automatic pistol when Madden appeared with orders for the spy's arrest. Madden, in self defense, had inflicted wounds of which the spy later died. - Note by the manuscript editor.

②荒诞透顶的假设。普鲁士间谍汉斯·拉本纳斯,化名维克多,鲁纳伯格,用自动手枪袭击持证前来逮捕他的理查德·马登上尉。后者出于自卫,击伤鲁纳伯格,导致了他的死亡。

(完)

留言(15条)

只看过中文版,这么说也要去看看英文版了。
顺便做个沙发

我一直很好奇,你每次贴中英文对照的文章都是怎么排版的?手工把对应的段落放到一起会很辛苦吧。

阮兄辛苦了,每次都这么敬业地把中英文列给大家看^-^
阅读、思考和获取知识的快乐,乐哉

感觉这本书很不错的样子。。

偶然发现了您做的卡尔维诺网站,于是跟到这里,不想又看到博尔赫斯的名字。碰巧,这两位都是我最喜欢的作家。
希望能多和您交流,有空去我那做客吧,虽然都是些幼稚的文章:)http://blog.sina.com.cn/bottlexie

若能有全英的版本就好了

我也要多学习..我在努力提升自己的英语水平,看你的博客是不错的选择.

很喜欢你的博客,当然归功于你的文章的精度,很受用,很享受,最主要能学到东西,感谢!

引用必填的发言:

我一直很好奇,你每次贴中英文对照的文章都是怎么排版的?手工把对应的段落放到一起会很辛苦吧。

这篇网上有现成的,我只是转贴而已,省力好多。

非常喜欢Borges,正在看他的一个讲演集Seven Nights.

非常喜欢你的这一篇文章,特别是这句话:我对这个话题很感兴趣,倒不是为了找到答案——所有关于“无限”的话题都是可以无限思考的——而是因为思索这种形而上的问题,容易使人忘记现实世界,进入一个抽象的空间,那里只存在与宇宙本质相关的东西,现实生活中无法摆脱的困扰在那里都是不足虑的尘埃。

That is we called 'Flow'.

不错诶 , 趁着单词还没忘记. 看看.

想起攻壳机动队里无止境的电影。

我是搜索http协议一路跟过来的

我要发表看法

«-必填

«-必填,不公开

«-我信任你,不会填写广告链接