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英译现代散文●斯诺精神——纪念斯诺逝世二十周年 ◎ 萧乾

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2019年08月27日

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斯诺精神

Spirit of Edgar Snow

——纪念斯诺逝世二十周年

— Marking the 20th Anniversary of Snow's Death

◎ 萧乾

◎ Xiao Qian

我一生有过几次幸运和巧遇,其中之一是三十年代当上了斯诺的学生。当时他的本职是任英美两家报纸驻北平的记者。一九三三至一九三五年间,他应聘在燕京大学新闻系兼了课。斯诺仅仅在燕大教了这两年书,而我恰好就在那两年由辅仁大学的英文系转到了燕京大学的新闻系。我毕业后,他也辞去这个兼差,去了延安并写出他的杰作《红星照耀中国》——即《西行漫记》。

I owe several happy events in my life to a lucky chance. One of them was when I became a student of Edgar Snow's in the 1930s. He was then a reporter for two foreign newspapers in Peiping, owned respectively by Britons and Americans. From 1933 to 1935, he was concurrently a teacher at the Journalism Department of Yenching University. During the two years when he was with this University, I happened to be a student there, having been previously transferred from the English Department of Catholic University in Peiping. Upon my graduation, he resigned the concurrent job and went to Yan'an where he wrote his masterpiece Red Star Over China.

当时燕大教授多属学院派,不管教什么,都先引经据典,在定义上下功夫。而且,大都是先生讲,学生听。课堂上轻易听不见什么讨论。斯诺则不然。他着重讲实践,鼓励讨论。更重要的是,他是通过和同学们交朋友的方式来进行教学。除了课堂,对我们更具吸引力的,是他在海淀住宅的那座客厅。他和海伦都极好客,他们时常举行茶会或便餐,平时大门也总是敞着的。一九三五年春天,正是在他那客厅里,我第一次见到了史沫特莱。当时,由于怕国民党特务找她的麻烦,她故意隐瞒了自己的真实姓名。斯诺约我去吃晚饭时,就介绍她作“布朗太太”。那阵子我正在读她的《大地的女儿》。因此,席间我不断谈到那本书给予我的感受。其实我并不知道坐在我旁边的就是那本书的作者。及至史沫特莱离平返沪后,斯诺才告诉我,那晚我可把史沫特莱窘坏了。她以为我把她认了出来。

In those days, professors at Yenching University were mostly an academic type. Whatever they taught, they would, first of all, give copious references to the classics and spend very much time on definitions. More often than not, they did all the talking while the students did nothing but listen. There was practically no classroom discussion at all. Snow, however, did otherwise. He gave priority to practice and encouraged discussion. And more importantly, he did teaching by way of making friends with his students. We found the reception room in his Haidian residence more appealing than the classroom. He and his wife Helen were very hospitable and often entertained us with tea or potluck. They would usually keep open house for us. In the spring of 1935, it was in that reception room that I met Agnes Smedley for the first time. At that time, in order to steer clear of harassment by KMT agents, she had changed her name to conceal her true identity. So, the evening when I had dinner at Snow's residence, he introduced her to me as“Mrs. Brown.”As it happened that I was then reading her novel Daughter of Earth, I kept talking at table about my impressions of it, not knowing that the very lady sitting next to me was its author. It was not until Smedley had left Peiping for Shanghai that Snow told me how apprehensive she had been that evening when I chatted about the novel, suspecting that I already knew her true identity.

在读新闻系时,我有个思想问题:我并不喜欢新闻系,特别是广告学那样的课,简直听不进去。我只是为了取得个记者资格才转系的。我的心仍在文学系——因此,常旷了新闻系的课去英文系旁听。斯诺帮我解决了这个矛盾。他说,文学同新闻并不相悖,而是相辅相成的。他认为一个新闻记者写的是现实生活,但他必须有文学修养——包括古典文学修养。我毕业那天,他和海伦送了我满满一皮箱的世界文学名著,由亚里士多德至狄更斯。他去世后,我从露易丝·斯诺的书中知道,他临终时,枕边还放着萧伯纳的著作。斯诺教导我,当的是记者,但写通讯特写时,一定要尽量有点文学味道。

While at Yenching University, I had a problem weighing on my mind: I found the study of journalism not to my liking and the advertising course particularly boring. Frankly, I had transferred myself to the journalism department of Yenching for the sole purpose of obtaining qualifications for a reporter. Now, with my heart in literature, I often cut journalism classes so as to sit in on English literature classes. Snow helped me solve this problem. He told me that instead of being contradictory to each other, literature and journalism were mutually complementary and that in order to write stories of real life, a newsman must be cultured in literature, including classical literature. On my commencement day, he and Helen gave me a suitcaseful of world literary classics, ranging from Aristotle to Dickens. Later I learned that when he was on his deathbed, a copy of Bernard Shaw's work had been found lying by his pillow. I am greatly indebted to Snow for his teachings that literary taste is a must for a reporter's news dispatches and feature articles.

一九三六年当他晓得我给《大公报》所写的冯玉祥访问记被国民党检查官砍得面目皆非——冯将军的抗日主张全部被砍掉了,他立即要我介绍他去访问这位将军——不出几天,我就在报上看到日本政府向南京抗议说,身居军事委员会副委员长的冯玉祥,竟然向美国记者斯诺发表了不友好的谈话。

In 1936, when Snow found in The Dagong Bao that the KMT had heavily censored my article Interview with Feng Yu-xiang, with Feng's anti-Japanese views completely cut out, he wanted me immediately to introduce him to Feng for a visit. A few days later, I found in the newspapers that the Japanese government had protested to the KMT government about the unfriendly remarks from Military Commission Vice-Chairman Feng Yu-xiang in an interview with the American reporter Snow.

一九四四年,我们又在刚刚解放的巴黎见了面。当时他是苏联特许的六名采访东线的记者之一。在酒吧间里他对我说,他在中国的岁月是他一生最难忘,也是最重要的一段日子。他自幸能在上海结识了鲁迅先生和宋庆龄女士。他是在他们的指引下认识中国的。

In 1944, Snow and I met again, this time in Paris shortly after its liberation. He was then one of the six reporters specially permitted by the Soviet Union to cover the east front. He told me in a barroom that the days he had spent in China were his most unforgettable experience and also the most important part of his life. He thought that he was most fortunate in having got acquainted with Lu Xun and Madame Soong Ching Ling in Shanghai and that it was through their guidance that he had come to understand China.

三十年代上半叶,在西方人中间,斯诺最早判断抗日战争迟早必然爆发,而且胜利最后必然属于中国。一九四八年,他又在《星期六评论》上接连写了三篇文章,断言中国战后绝不会当苏联的仆从,必然会走自己的路。他这种胆识,这种预见性,是难能可贵的。

In the early 1930s, Snow was the first Westerner to predict that the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression would break out sooner or later and that the final victory would certainly belong to China. In 1948, he wrote three articles at a stretch for The Saturday Review, in which he stated with certainty that the post-war China would follow its own course and never become a Soviet flunkey. His courageous foresight was highly commendable.

斯诺认为一个记者绝不可光追逐热门新闻,他还必须把人类的正义事业记在心头。不能人云亦云,随波逐流,必须有自己独立的见解观点,必须有良知和正义感。

He believed that a journalist should bear in mind the just cause of humanity instead of going after sensational reporting and that he should have independent views, good conscience and sense of justice instead of parroting other people's opinions and following them blindly.

斯诺的骨灰一部分已留在中国了。我希望他的这种抱负和精神,也能在中国生根。

Part of Snow's ashes now rest in China. I hope his aspirations and spirit will also take root in this country.

萧乾所著《斯诺精神》一文原载1992年7月3日《人民日报》。


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