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查顿村,全球简·奥斯汀迷心中的圣地

更新时间:2015/1/11 9:00:06 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Seeking Inspiration in Jane Austen’s World
查顿村,全球简·奥斯汀迷心中的圣地

Standing in the Steventon churchyard on a September morning, the dew glistening on the closely mowed grass between the gravestones, I heard the wind whispering in the 900-year-old yew tree that stands at the west end of the church. I could imagine Mr. Bingley and Jane or Eliza and Mr. Darcy bursting through the doors, arrayed in Regency wedding garb, greeted by a crowd of onlookers. But Steventon was quiet, except for the breeze.

9月的清晨,我站在史蒂文顿小村一座教堂的庭院里。墓碑之间新近修剪的草地上,露珠闪烁着光芒,教堂的西边,轻风在九百岁古老紫杉的树叶间悄然私语。我可以想象宾利先生和简,或者伊丽莎白和达西先生穿着摄政时期的结婚礼服,走出大门迎接亲友祝福的一幕。但此刻的史蒂文顿,除了轻风,只有静谧。

Hampshire County, England, where Jane Austen was born on Dec. 16, 1775. Here, the village of Chawton.
1775年12月16日,简·奥斯汀在英国汉普郡出生。而这里,是查顿小村。

This tiny village in the English county of Hampshire is where Jane Austen was born on Dec. 16, 1775, lived the first quarter century of her short life, and wrote the first drafts of three of her novels, including “Pride and Prejudice” — originally called “First Impressions.” I had come to Hampshire hoping to soak up some of Austen’s world in preparation for writing my next novel, also called “First Impressions,” which would feature Jane Austen as a character. Immediately I sensed that the first scene should be set in this churchyard.

这个村庄位于英国的汉普郡,1775年12月16日,简·奥斯汀(Jane Austen)诞生于此。在短暂一生的最初25年中,她住在这里,写出了三本名著的初稿,包括《傲慢与偏见》(Pride and Prejudice)。最开始时,这本书的名字是《第一印象》(First Impressions)。我之所以来到汉普郡,是希望从奥斯汀的世界汲取灵感,因为我正在写一本新小说,书名也叫《第一印象》,主角正是简·奥斯汀。很快我就发觉,游览的第一个景点应该是这座墓园。

Tourists tend to associate Jane Austen with the Georgian facades of Bath, a bustling city in Somerset; but she lived most of her life, and did most of her writing, in two villages in Hampshire, in south central England. She died and was buried in Hampshire’s cathedral city of Winchester. In her tribute to English books and booksellers, “84 Charing Cross Road,” Helene Hanff writes of telling a friend that if she ever goes to England, she’ll go looking for the England of English literature, to which he replies, “It’s there.”

很多游客一想到奥斯汀,就会想起萨默塞特繁华的巴斯市乔治王朝的华美建筑,但其实,她的一生几乎都生活在英格兰中南部汉普郡的两个村庄(史蒂文顿和查顿)里,著作也基本在这里完成。去世之后,她被埋葬在汉普郡的温彻斯特大教堂。在《查令十字街84号》(84 Charing Cross Road)中,海莲·汉芙(Helene Hanff)向英文名著与书商致敬时写道,她曾告诉朋友如果去英国,她将会寻找英国文学中的英格兰,也就是这个地方。

Nearly 200 years after her death, the Hampshire of Jane Austen is certainly there. Steventon feels as isolated now as it was in 1775. One would hardly guess that the busy road to London, which Jane knew as a stagecoach route, lies less than two miles away. My walk down the aptly named Church Walk from the village center to the Church of St. Nicholas, where Jane’s father served as rector, felt like stepping back in time. With woods on my right and open fields on my left, I saw no modern buildings. Even the rectory in which Austen was born and lived, and which stood along this route, was pulled down in the 1820s.

简·奥斯汀去世近200年之后,她的汉普郡当然还在。史蒂文顿依然像1775年那样遗世独立。人们很难猜到,通向伦敦的繁忙大道,即当年简·奥斯汀的公共马车路线,就在2英里之外。沿着那条名符其实的教堂之路,我从村庄中心走到了圣尼古拉斯教堂,仿佛步入了往日的时光。简·奥斯汀的父亲曾是这座教堂的牧师。我的右边是树林,左边是开阔的田野,视野中没有任何现代的房屋。路旁曾是当年的教区,奥斯汀出生与成长的地方,但早在19世纪20年代就推平了。

St. Nicholas is a simple medieval structure, little changed from the Austen years, save for the addition of a Victorian steeple. The church is generally unlocked during daylight hours and, though redecorated in the Victorian period, still has the feel of an 18th-century country chapel. On the walls hang memorials to many members of the Austen family.

圣尼古拉斯教堂是一座朴素的中世纪建筑,自奥斯汀时代以来就几乎不曾改变,只增加了一座维多利亚时期的尖塔。白天教堂一般不上锁,尽管在维多利亚时期重新装潢过,却仍有18世纪乡村教堂的氛围。室内的墙壁上挂满了奥斯汀家族的纪念品。

To the west of the church lies open farmland, backed by a small forest called West Wood. It was easy to imagine, as I wandered among the gravestones, Miss Austen enjoying long walks through this landscape. She seems to have loved Steventon: When she heard the news that her father was retiring in 1801 and moving the family to Bath, she fainted dead away.

教堂西边是开阔的农田,远处是一片叫做西部森林的林子。走在墓石之间,我不禁想起奥斯汀小姐穿过这片美景悠然漫步的模样。她是那么的热爱史蒂文顿,听说父亲即将在1801年退休并阖家搬到巴斯,竟昏了过去。

While Bath is full of Regency buildings, which would have been well known to Jane Austen, my novel would focus on Jane Austen as a writer, and her years in Bath (as well as those spent in Southampton following the death of her father in 1805) were not a time of great creative output. However, soon after her 1809 move to another quiet Hampshire village, she began to write again.

而巴斯市却到处是摄政时期的建筑,简·奥斯汀早已知晓。我的小说会着重描写奥斯汀身为作家的生活,也涉及她在巴斯的日子(还有1805年父亲去世之后,她在南汉普郡度过的时光),那段时间她的作品非常少。可是没多久,1809年,她又搬到了汉普郡另一个安静的村庄,重新开始了创作。

The village was Chawton, and it is a mecca for Janeites. Here stands Chawton Cottage, where Jane lived with her mother and sister, Cassandra, for the last eight years of her life — years of great productivity that saw the publication of four major novels. The drive from Steventon to Chawton covers just 15 miles, but while the former village is generally void of visitors, tourists disgorge in the latter by the busload, especially in the summertime. I came in the off-season, though, and found the village almost as peaceful as it was when Miss Austen lived here.

那个村庄就是查顿,全球奥斯汀迷心中的圣地。简·奥斯汀与母亲及姐姐卡桑德拉一起,在查顿小屋度过了她一生中最后的八年。在这极为多产的八年里,她出版了四部巨著。从史蒂文顿到查顿的路程其实只有15英里,但前者门可罗雀,后者却总会迎来整车整车的游客,尤其是夏天。我来的时候正值淡季,只觉得这个村庄几乎像奥斯汀小姐生活的时代那样宁静。

Chawton Cottage is now the Jane Austen’s House Museum. Here the visitor can walk through the rooms where Austen lived and worked, and view many relics of her family: her father’s bookcase; a quilt made by the Austen women; and, famously, a turquoise ring belonging to Austen, which the museum was able to purchase in 2013, preventing its export to America by Kelly Clarkson. To me, though, the most moving object was a simple 12-sided walnut table, barely wide enough to hold an inkwell, a quill pen and a few sheets of paper. Here, Jane Austen revised her early work (including transforming “First Impressions” into “Pride and Prejudice”), and wrote her later novels “Mansfield Park,” “Emma” and “Persuasion.”

而今,查顿小屋就是简·奥斯汀故居博物馆。在这里,游人可以在简·奥斯汀当年生活与写作的各个房间里穿行,浏览她与家人的众多遗物:奥斯汀父亲的书柜、奥斯汀母女手缝的被子,最知名的是奥斯汀的一枚绿松石戒指,2013年,博物馆为了防止它被美国歌手凯利·克莱森(Kelly Clarkson)带走,花大钱赎了回来。然而对我来说,最动人的物品是一张简陋的十二面胡桃木桌,宽度只够放下墨水池、鹅毛笔和一沓纸。就在这张桌前,简·奥斯汀修订了她早年的几部作品(包括将《第一印象》改名为《傲慢与偏见》),写下了后来的几本小说——《曼斯菲尔德庄园》(Mansfield Park)、《爱玛》(Emma)和《劝导》(Persuasion)。

I lingered by the table for several minutes, trying to imagine plying the trade of novelist, and plying it at Austen’s heights, on this modest surface. It is humbling enough as a writer to feel the presence of Jane Austen, more humbling still to consider with what meager tools she achieved so much.

我在书桌边停留了几分钟,想象自己就是奥斯汀,想象她的身体坐在这张粗朴的桌前是什么情景。身为一名小说作者,面对简·奥斯汀足以让我赧颜,更让我惭愧的是,她用如此简陋的工具,竟做出了那样伟大的成就。

A short walk up the road from the museum is Chawton House. Behind the chapel of this impressive country home, set in a large sheep-dotted park, are the graves of Jane’s mother and sister. The house itself once belonged to Jane’s brother Edward Austen Knight who, when he was about 15, in a scene right out of “Downton Abbey,” was adopted by childless distant relatives and became heir to the Chawton estate and other properties.

从博物馆出门步行一小段,就是查顿庄园。这座美丽的乡村宅邸里,小礼拜堂后面是一座大公园,草地上有绵羊在吃草。那是简的母亲与姐姐的墓地。过去,这座庄园是简的哥哥爱德华·奥斯汀爵士(Edward Austen Knight)的家产。他在15岁那年被过继到远亲家,由此成为查顿庄园及其他家产的继承人,简直如同《唐顿庄园》(Downton Abbey)中的情节。

The house was renovated in the 1990s by the American philanthropist and book collector Sandy Lerner and now serves as a study center housing her collection of early British woman writers. Chawton House is open only on certain days, and tours must be arranged in advance. My group consisted of myself and one other couple plus our two tour guides.

20世纪90年代,美国慈善家兼图书收藏家珊迪·勒内(Sandy Lerner)修缮了这座庄园,而今此地成了研究中心,收藏着许多早期英国女作家的著作。查顿庄园仅在某些特定日子开放,游览必须提前预约。我们一行除了我,还有一对夫妇及两名导游。

In the dining room we sat comfortably around a highly polished table. Our guides pointed out the late-19th-century decorated paneling, then casually mentioned that Jane Austen had frequently dined at the very table on which we were resting our elbows; we instantly sat upright with respect. The gem of Chawton House for me is a painting hanging in the former “Ladies Withdrawing Room.” The 1780 gouache by Adam Callender shows the house from across the park. It is now intimately familiar to me, as it graces the dust jacket of my new novel.

我们走进餐厅,在一张光洁的桌子前舒适地坐下。导游指给我们看那些19世纪晚期的装饰嵌板,又不经意地提到,简·奥斯汀常在我们落座的这张桌子前吃饭,我们好几次肃然起敬,坐直了身躯。对我来说,查顿庄园的瑰宝是挂在昔日女士休息厅里的一张画。那是一张1780年的水粉画,作者亚当·卡伦德(Adam Callender),画的是庄园对面的一座房屋。在我眼中它散发着私密的熟稔,因为它就在我新小说的封面上,为我的封面平添了几分优雅。

In May 1817 Jane Austen went to Winchester for medical treatment. Here, on July 18, she died, and six days later was buried in Winchester Cathedral. The house in which she died stands just outside the cathedral precincts and bears a plaque marking its place in literary history. After the short drive from Chawton, I arrived in Winchester in time to have a look around the cathedral before evensong began at 5:30.

1817年5月,简·奥斯汀去温彻斯特治病,7月18日,她在这里与世长辞,六天后在温彻斯特大教堂下葬。她去世时的庄园就在大教堂的界域之外,如今那里挂着一块牌子,标明它在文学史上的地位。我从查顿坐车,很快就到了温彻斯特大教堂,赶在5:30晚课开始之前,把它里里外外看了个遍。

The soaring nave of Winchester holds twin inspirations for me — one of the final scenes in my novel “First Impressions” is the death of Jane Austen, while one of the early scenes in my novel “The Bookman’s Tale” takes place on the north side of the nave at the elaborate tomb of Bishop William of Wykeham. Before paying my respects to Austen, I walked through a heavy wooden door in the north transept and up a creaking flight of stairs to the cathedral library. Well hidden, and not always open, the library displays a short manuscript by Jane Austen: “To the Memory of Mrs. Lefroy,” a poem of mourning written when Austen was just 23.

温彻斯特大教堂高耸的中殿对我来说,寓意着两处灵感:我的小说《第一印象》中,最终场景之一是简·奥斯汀之死,而我的小说《学者传说》(The Bookman’s Tale)中最初几个场景就发生在威廉·威克姆主教(Bishop William of Wykeham)精美陵墓的中殿南侧。为了向奥斯汀表达敬意,我穿过北侧袖廊一道厚重的木门,踏上一段吱吱作响的楼梯,来到大教堂图书馆。此地深藏不露,不常开放,里面陈列着简·奥斯汀的一小段手稿:《纪念勒弗罗伊太太》。写这首悼亡诗的时候,奥斯汀年仅23岁。

Back in the nave I reached the final stop in my tour — a slab of black marble marking the grave of Jane Austen. Much has been made of the fact that the stone’s inscription makes no mention of her writing career, but this was not unusual at the time. I had read for years (and still do in most sources) that the Biographical Note composed by her brother Henry for the posthumous edition of “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey” (published in December 1817) was the first public identification of her as an author.

在中殿,我抵达了游览的最后一步——一块黑色大理石板,简·奥斯汀的墓碑。碑上的铭文没有提及她的写作生涯,但在当时这不算奇怪。她去世之后,哥哥亨利为她的小说《劝导》和《诺桑觉寺》(Northanger Abbey)写了一本注释笔记(1817年12月出版),这本书我早已读过并时常查阅。那是她第一次以作家身份被众人知晓。

However, while researching my novel I discovered this note, which local residents could have read in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal on July 28, 1817, 10 days after her death:

然而,当我为自己的小说做研究时,发现了一份告示。本地人有可能在1817年7月28日,奥斯汀去世10天后的《索尔兹伯里与温彻斯特杂志》(Salisbury and Winchester Journal)上读到这条公告。它写着:

“On Friday the 18th inst. died in this city Miss Jane Austen, youngest daughter of the late Rev. George Austen, Rector of Steventon, in this county, and the Authoress of Emma, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. Her manners were most gentle, her affection ardent, her candour was not to be surpassed, and she lived and died as became an humble christian.”

“本月18日星期五,简·奥斯汀小姐在本城去世。她是已故的史蒂文顿教区牧师乔治·奥斯汀的小女儿,也是《爱玛》《曼斯菲尔德庄园》《傲慢与偏见》及《理智与情感》(Sense and Sensibility)的作者。她的仪态极其温和,她的感情格外热烈,她的正直无法超越,从生至死,她都是一位谦逊的基督徒。”

The wonderful thing about English cathedrals is that, in spite of the changes in décor and furnishings over the years, many spots remain unchanged from centuries past. The floor of Winchester’s south nave aisle, and the gravestone set into it, are, but for the wear of pilgrims’ feet, much the same as when the first mourners paid tribute to Jane Austen.

英国的大教堂真好,尽管装饰和家具在岁月的风雨中有所变化,但许多地方在几百年后依然不变。温彻斯特南侧中殿走廊地板上镶嵌的墓石,在承受朝圣者多年的足印磨损之后,依然与简·奥斯汀最早一批哀悼者所见的差不多。

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