Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas.

博尔赫斯在Kafka y sus Precursores里说他偶然地发现了一个卡夫卡在文风上的precursor,那就是韩愈。然后他附了一段《获麟解》,说这种misterioso y tranquilo的味道跟卡夫卡的文风很有一些afinidad:





It is universally admitted that the unicorn is a supernatural being of good omen; such is declared in all the odes, annals, biographies of illustrious men and other texts whose authority is unquestionable. Even children and village women know that a unicorn constitutes a favorable presage. But this animal does not figure among the domestic beasts, it is not always easy to find, it does not lend itself to classification. It is not like the horse or the bull, the wolf or the deer. In such conditions, we could be face to face with a unicorn and not know for certain what it was. We know that such and such an animal with a mane is a horse and that such and such an animal with horns is a bull. But we do not know what the unicorn is like. (translated by James E. Irby)

唔,好像是有那么点像卡夫卡。要做对比的话,我们得再去找个卡夫卡作品的英文译本。为了突出相似感,就用他那篇The Great Wall of China好了:

The Great Wall of China was finished at its northernmost location. The construction work moved up from the south-east and south-west and joined at this point. The system of building in sections was also followed on a small scale within the two great armies of workers, the eastern and western. It was carried out in the following manner: groups of about twenty workers were formed, each of which had to take on a section of the wall, about five hundred metres. A neighbouring group then built a wall of similar length to meet it. But afterwards, when the sections were fully joined, construction was not continued on any further at the end of this thousand-metre section. Instead the groups of workers were shipped off again to build the wall in completely different regions. Naturally, with this method many large gaps arose, which were filled in only gradually and slowly, many of them not until after it had already been reported that the building of the wall was complete. In fact, there are said to be gaps which have never been built in at all, although that's merely an assertion which probably belongs among the many legends which have arisen about the structure and which, for individual people at least, are impossible to prove with their own eyes and according to their own standards, because the structure is so immense. (translated by Ian Johnston)


那么问题来了,造成这种错位感的到底是韩愈的文风里有什么关键的要素lost in translation了,以至于翻译过后的《获麟解》已经变成了另一篇文章,还是我对语言文字的敏感性不足,没法从韩愈联想到卡夫卡(。



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