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如何讲故事 马克·吐温著(paths译)  

2010-04-18 07:57:10|  分类: 翻译写作 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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我不是说我能够把故事讲得如何好。我只是说我知道故事应当如何讲,因为我与讲故事的行家里手几差不多天天在一起,这样已经有好多年了。

故事有好几种,但难讲的就一种――幽默故事。我主要就谈这种。幽默故事是美国产,喜剧故事是英国产,机智故事是法国产。幽默故事,其效果取决于故事的讲述方式;喜剧故事和机智故事,其效果取决于故事的内容。

幽默故事讲述时可以拉得很长,可以游离正题,走多远都行,没有具体的终点;但是,喜剧故事和机智故事必须简洁,结尾必须有寓意。幽默故事的趣味是汽泡冒一路,而其它故事的趣味则是一次大爆发。

幽默故事纯粹就是艺术品――高级精致的艺术――只有艺术家才能讲得了;但讲述喜剧故事和机智故事不需要艺术;任何人都可以讲。幽默故事的讲述艺术――当然,我是指口头讲述,而不是书面阅读――创造于美国,而且一直没有传到国外。

讲述幽默故事要表情严肃。讲述者要竭力装着自己一点也不觉得故事有什么可笑之处;而喜剧故事的讲述者在讲故事前就告诉你这是他听到的最好笑的事,接着满怀兴致急切地讲起来,讲完后又第一个笑起来。有时,如果讲得很成功,他会很高兴很愉快而重复一遍故事的笑点,扫视听众,募集掌声,然后,再重复一遍。那情形真叫人同情。

当然,游离而松散的幽默故事结尾常常会有一个笑点、寓意、包袱,或者你叫它什么都行。那么,听者必须十分警觉,因为在很多情况下讲述者会把注意力从笑点上移开,特意地以一种漫不经心的方式讲出,装作是随意一提,好像他并不知道那就是笑点。

阿特摩斯·沃德曾经常使用这一技巧;然后,当听众过后不久恍然大悟时,他会抬起头很吃惊地望着大家,好像在纳闷他们在笑什么一样。在他之前,丹·塞彻尔使用过;今天,奈和赖利以及其他人都使用这一技巧。

但是,讲述喜剧故事的人对笑点就不会一带而过;他冲着你喊出来――每次都这样。而要是印刷出来,在英国、法国、德国和意大利,他会把笑点用斜体标识出来,其后再加上一些表示喊叫的感叹号,而且,有时还加以解释放在括号里。所有这一切都让人郁闷不已,让人想与笑话一刀两断而去过些好一点的生活。

 

附英语原文:

I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert story-tellers for many years.

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind--the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.

The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst.

The humorous story is strictly a work of art--high and delicate art-- and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it. The art of telling a humorous story--understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print--was created in America, and has remained at home.

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it; but the teller of the comic story tells you beforehand that it is one of the funniest things he has ever heard, then tells it with eager delight, and is the first person to laugh when he gets through. And sometimes, if he has had good success, he is so glad and happy that he will repeat the "nub" of it and glance around from face to face, collecting applause, and then repeat it again. It is a pathetic thing to see.

Very often, of course, the rambling and disjointed humorous story finishes with a nub, point, snapper, or whatever you like to call it. Then the listener must be alert, for in many cases the teller will divert attention from that nub by dropping it in a carefully casual and indifferent way, with the pretence that he does not know it is a nub.

Artemus Ward used that trick a good deal; then when the belated audience presently caught the joke he would look up with innocent surprise, as if wondering what they had found to laugh at. Dan Setchell used it before him, Nye and Riley and others use it to-day.

But the teller of the comic story does not slur the nub; he shouts it at you--every time. And when he prints it, in England, France, Germany, and Italy, he italicizes it, puts some whooping exclamation-points after it, and sometimes explains it in a parenthesis. All of which is very depressing, and makes one want to renounce joking and lead a better life.

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