【经济学人】时代的殓房
发布于 7个月前 作者 kinglism 355 次浏览 来自 六级

Time’s mortuary 时代的殓房

WHAT was the 20th century’s most distinctive feature? It is a historians’ parlor game[1], but there can be no definitive answer. For some, it would be getting men to the moon, discovering penicillin, splitting the atom or some other great scientific a________①. For others, it would be the fastest and most sustained period of economic growth in history. Or the end of the age of empires, which had dominated the politics and economics of the world for centuries. For Niall Ferguson, however, only this last description comes close and even then only as background. In his view, the century’s most distinctive feature was violence: the slaughter, and not only in war, of millions upon millions of people. His new book seeks to describe and, as far as possible, explain why this happened. 二十世纪最鲜明的特征是什么?这是一个历史学家们讨论的问题,但可能谁也无法准确回答。有的人认为是人类登月、发现青霉素、原子裂解以及其它一些伟大的科学成就,而有的人则认为是史上经济增长速度最快、最稳定的时期,也有人认为是统治世界政治经济数百年的帝国时代的终结。然而,对于尼尔·弗格森而言,只有最后一种说法才是最贴切的,也只有这一点才是值得参考的时代背景。在他看来,二十世纪最鲜明的特征就是暴力——不计其数的人惨遭屠戮,而且不仅仅因为战争。他新近出版的著作就是要寻求记述并尽可能阐明这一切发生的原因。

For a book with the word “war” in the title, it is interesting that few battles are mentioned. The first world war breezes past in just a few pages. Some short passages look at Hitler’s advance into the Soviet Union in 1941 and at the Japanese imperial army’s advance on the then Chinese capital of Nanking in 1937, but this is not a military history. The e_______② is firmly on causes and consequences, whether political, sociological, technological or economic. As the author points out,(1) what was notable about the century’s violence was the fact that, for all its global reach, the causes—and indeed much of the killing—were centred on the most developed and advanced part of the world, home of the supposed Enlightenment: Europe. 一本标题包含“战争”字眼的书竟然很少提及战事,这很有意思。该书寥寥几页便将第一次世界大战轻松带过,关于1941年希特勒挺进苏联以及1937年日本帝国军队进占中国当时的首都南京,该书也仅用了较短的篇幅,但并非是记录军事斗争的历史。该书始终着眼于从政治、社会、科技以及经济角度对历史事件的前因后果进行分析。作者指出,二十世纪的暴力突出表现为,波及全球的所有暴力事件(当然包括众多杀戮事件)的导火索都是在世界上最为发达和先进的地方、所谓启蒙运动的故乡——欧洲被引燃的。

Mr Ferguson, a Glasgow-born Harvard professor, whose two-volume “House of Rothschild” is still regarded, after nearly ten years, as one of the finest studies of its kind, has since become what his more academic colleagues call a popular historian. E________③, this means that his themes are broad and ambitious, his books are a good read, he appears on television a lot and sells a lot of copies. (A)___________________________.(但是,除了这些优点之外,也有些许缺憾。) 弗格森先生出生于(苏格兰)格拉斯哥,是哈佛大学的一名教授,他的《罗特希尔德家族》(上下册)出版近十年后依然被认为是同类研究中最杰出的著作之一。如今,他那些更多地倾向于搞学术研究的同事们都说,他已成为一位深受大众欢迎的历史学家。这实质上也就是说,他视野开阔,豪情满天,写的书可读性强,自己常常在电视上露面,书也卖出去很多。但是,除了这些优点之外,也有些许缺憾。

One is that his books try a bit too hard to make eye-catching claims. A small but particularly irritating example comes right at the start when Mr Ferguson chooses to look at “the world on September 11th 1901”, a date which proves to have no relevance whatsoever if it hadn’t been for the events a century later. A bigger example is the claim, promoted in particular by his publishers, that in his view “the biggest u_______④ of the 20th century was the decline of the western dominance over Asia”, shown by Japan’s defeat of Russia in 1904-05 and now the rise of China. (2)If that were really Mr Ferguson’s view, one might have expected rather more of the book to have been devoted to it. As it is, this reviewer was left suspecting that the claim was an afterthought, designed to make a book that is mainly about Europe catch the eye of those who are currently—and understandably—obsessed by China. 缺憾之一就是,他的书太过追求标新立异。本书开篇就有这样一个不起眼但特别令人气愤的例子,弗格森竟然把目光盯在了“1901年9月11日的世界”。若非一百年之后发生的911事件,这个日子其实毫无意义。更为明显的例证是,作者在出版商的鼓动下,坚持认为“20世纪最重要的剧变是西方国家统治亚洲力量的衰退”,表现在1904至1905年日本战胜俄罗斯以及当今中国的崛起。如果这真是弗格森的本意,那么本书就应该不惜笔墨地对此详加论述。(译者按:本句是虚拟语气,it所指代的是“view”,“be devote to”指“致力于”,这里结合前面的“more of the book”一起意译为“不惜笔墨以表明这一观点”。)可照现在看来,这一观点很可能是后来补充进去的,其目的是为了让一本关于欧洲的书能吸引那些眼下被中国问题弄得心神不定(这可以理解)的人。

(3)The most important weakness, however, is one that goes some way to justifying the claims of Mr Ferguson’s academic colleagues who carp at his embrace of the popular. It is that his books seem to be written to d________⑤ set by television series—this one starts in Britain on Channel Four on June 19th—rather than by his research or thinking. The result is an odd combination of bravura[2] writing, clear and original insights, and incoherence. Some long and detailed passages seem undigested, the output, it would seem, of an army of research assistants rather than the outstanding writer and thinker that Mr Ferguson plainly is. The final chapter begins by dating the end of “the War of the World” as July 27th 1953, the armistice that brought the Korean war to a close, but then appears to contradict that conclusion with long sections on the Cuban missile crisis, the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia, the fall of the Soviet Union and the Balkan wars. 不过,这本书最致命的弱点还是在于,它从一定程度上证明了对弗格森的大众化吹毛求疵的那些同仁所言非虚。(译者按:go some way to(或towards)doing something,亦作go a long way towards doing something,意思是“to help a little or a lot to make something happen”,指“对某事或多或少起到推动作用”。)他的截稿时间似乎都是根据电视节目安排而确定的(这本书有关的节目将在6月19日英国四频道播出),而与研究或思维进程无关,结果导致精彩的著述、清晰独特的视角以及杂乱无章的文法奇怪地掺杂在一起。有些描写详尽的长篇段落似乎未经整理,让人以为是一大群助理研究人员共同写成的,而非出自杰出的作家和思想家弗格森先生一人之手。最后一章开头就断定,“世界大战”结束时间是在1953年7月27日朝鲜战争停战后,但是随后又长篇累牍地讲述古巴导弹危机、越南和柬埔寨战争、苏联垮台以及巴尔干半岛战争,前后自相矛盾。

(B)_____________________________________ .(不过,批评归批评,弗格森的书仍然非常值得一读。)His introductory essay on the part played in the century’s violence by ideas of racial superiority amid the ethnic mish-mash[3] that was central and eastern Europe is especially good—although he could have made more of the role of empires, including the British one that he has admired in previous books, in fostering[4] that racist delusion. 不过,批评归批评,弗格森的书仍然非常值得一读,尤为精彩的是对多民族杂居地——中欧和东欧地区的种族优越观在二十世纪暴力事件中所起作用的介绍性评论。他本可以更多地强调封建帝国对种族主义幻想的促进作用,包括他在以前的作品中所推崇的大英帝国。

Another s________⑥ is the way he blends together economic, financial and political analysis in a manner that far too few historians are equipped to do. He is a fine debunker: for example, his view is that Britain’s success in the second world war owed less to Winston Churchill’s brilliance and more to managing the war effort by committee, and thus making fewer spectacular errors. He is also admirably even-handed, offering equal space and scrutiny to Allied slaughter of civilians in bombing raids and Allied shootings of prisoners as to atrocities committed by the Japanese and German forces. (4)It was all part and parcel of the violence, after all. 本书另一个优点是作者采取了从经济、财政与政治等多角度综合分析的方式,有能力做到这一点的历史学家屈指可数。弗格森是一个善于揭露事实真相的大师,例如,他认为英国人在二战中的成功更多地取决于(特别行动)委员会对战争的驾驭进而避免了很多大局性失误,而不是温斯顿·丘吉尔一人的才智。此外,令人信服的是,他在记述和审视盟军空袭中杀害平民、枪杀战犯的问题与日德军队犯下的暴行时,态度不偏不倚,同等对待。毕竟,这些都是暴力事件不可或缺的组成部分。(译者按:“be part and parcel of sth.”是指“to be a necessary feature of something”,即“必不可少的一部分”。) [QUIZ]

  1. 根据首字母以及括号内的词性提示和英文释义填入单词(注意复数、时态形式变化等): ①a________(n. something important that you succeed in doing by your own efforts) ②e________(n. special attention or importance) ③E________(adv. used when stating the most basic facts about something [= basically]) ④u________(n. a very big change that often causes problems:) ⑤d_________ (n. a date or time by which you have to do or complete something) ⑥s_________(n. a particular quality or ability that gives someone or something an advantage)
  2. 英译汉(将划线部分英文翻译成中文): 3.汉译英(根据译文提示和上下文,在空白处填入相应英文): NOTES
  3. parlor game (or: parlour game n. a game that can be played indoors, such as a guessing game or a word game室内游戏(如猜谜、填词游戏等)
  4. bravura n. great skill shown in the way you perform, write, paint etc, especially when you do something very difficult出色的表演、技能(尤其是面对困难时)
  5. mish-mash n. a mixture of a lot of very different things that are put together in a way that is not organized [= hodge-podge]混杂物;杂烩;杂集
  6. foster vt. 1)to help a skill, feeling, idea etc develop over a period of time [= encourage, promote]鼓励;培育;培养;助长2)to take someone else’s child into your family for a period of time but without becoming their legal parent养育;抚养:The couple wanted to adopt a black child they had been fostering. [TIPS & BACKGROUND] 启蒙运动(the Enlightenment):18世纪的一个哲学运动,强调运用理智来审视先前被接受了的信条和传统,该运动带来了许多人道主义改革。 [KEY TO QUIZ]
  7. ①achievement 成就;②emphasis 重点;③Essentially 实质上;④upheaval 剧变;⑤deadlines 截止时间,最终期限;⑥strength 优点 ) 2.(见译文,仅供参考,欢迎指正) 3.(A)In addition to those virtues, however, there are some vices. (B)For all those criticisms, however, Mr Ferguson’s book is well worth reading.

更多精彩学习资料,请关注知米英语资讯平台 微信公众平台:知米背单词 (微信号:ZhimiEnglish)- 新浪微博:知米背单词 百度贴吧:知米背单词
(内容来源于网络)

回到顶部