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「服務他人是你住地球應該付出的租金。」– 穆罕默德‧阿里 (拳擊手)
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." -- Muhammad Ali, Boxer
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天天閱讀英語島,在這裡感知世界,汲取英文的養分。
 
巴黎塞納河邊,走過一個街角,彎進小巷,你會看到這間巴黎最有名的書店—莎士比亞書店(Shakespeare and Company) ,牆上似乎釘著一封信...

來自美國的喬治‧惠特曼(George Whiteman) 是一名退役軍人、純粹的文學愛好者、也是巴黎知名書店的創辦人,他在1960年代寫了一封公開信給二戰已逝受害者,安妮‧法蘭克(Anne Frank)。信中,喬治邀請安妮參觀書店,並幽默地向她介紹書店常客,像對自己的妹妹般親近。這封信最特別的地方是,喬治輕巧的口吻有如冰山一角,看不到的嘆息則是對時代的控訴,令人聞之鼻酸。 

 

 

公開信年代

這封信寫於1960年代,正好是美蘇兩大強權的軍備競賽時期,核武威脅讓人惶惶不安,是上個世紀最重大的世界事件之一。

 

書店老闆很浪漫

喬治‧惠特曼(George Whiteman)是巴黎莎士比亞書店(Shakespeare and Company) 的第一代老闆。儘管他已在1996年過世,並將書店交由獨生女持續經營,這間專門出版英文書籍的書店,依舊是歐陸最具有時代意義的書店。它過去曾出版了在英美都無法出版的書(文學巨著James Joyce的Ulysses),接待無數有名無名的作家(例如海明威、史考特‧費茲傑羅…)。這份慷慨至今依然是書店的招牌,喬治的女兒Sylvia 也歡迎走投無路的作家們以勞務換取在狹小的書架之間過夜。

 

 

 

Dear Anne Frank,

If I sent this letter to the post office it would no longer reach you because you have been blotted out from the universe. So I am writing an open letter to those who have read your diary and found a little sister they have never seen who will never entirely disappear from earth as long as we who are living remember her.

blotted out 指安妮已經永遠離開人世

 

You wanted to come to Paris for a year to study the history of art and if you had, perhaps you might have wandered down  the quai Notre-Dame and discovered a little bookstore beside the garden of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre. You know enough French to read the notice on the door - Chien aimable, Priere d'entrer. The dog is not really a dog at all but a poet called Francois Villon who has returned to the city he loved after many years of exile. He is sitting by the fire next to a kitten with a very unusual name. You will be pleased to know she is called Kitty after the imaginary friend to whom you wrote the letters in your journal.

the quai Notre-Dame 書店位置離塞納河很近,從碼頭走過來一下就到了,在聖居里安小教堂的花園旁
Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre  巴黎最古老的教堂
Chien aimable, Priere d'entrer 翻成中文是「親切的狗,請進來禱告」
Francois Villon 法國詩人維永,留下許多關於死亡、疼痛、憂鬱的作品
Kitty 安妮寫日記時,總是假想自己寫給幻想朋友凱蒂

 

Here in our bookstore it is like a family where your Chinese sisters and your brothers from all lands sit in the reading rooms and meet the Parisians or have tea with the writers from abroad who are invited to live in our Guest House.

Remember how you worried about your inconsistencies, about your two selves - the gay flirtatious superficial Anne that hid the quiet serene Anne who tried to love and understand the world.

We all of us have dual natures. We all wish for peace, yet in the name of self-defense we are working toward self-obliteration. We have built armaments more powerful than the total of all those used in all the wars in history. And if the militarists who dislike negotiating the minor differences that separate nations are not under the wise civilian authority they have the power to write man's testament on a dead planet where radioactive cities are surrounded by jungles of dying plants and poisonous weeds.

self-obliteration 自我消融,這邊指人類的矛盾,既想要得到和平,卻又以和平之名挑起戰事
armaments 軍備 

 

Since a nuclear could destroy half the world's population as well as the material basis of civilization, the Soviet General Nikolai Talensky concludes that war is no longer conceivable for the solution of political differences.

Soviet General Nikolai Talensky 蘇聯將軍說,當國家都沒了,還談什麼政治分歧呢? 

 

A young girl's dreams recorded in her diary from her thirteenth to her fifteenth birthday means more to us today than the labors of millions of soldiers and thousands of factories striving for a thousand-year Reich that lasted hardly more than ten years. The journal you hid so that no one would read it was left on the floor when the German police took you to the concentration camp and has now been read by millions of people in 32 languages. When most people die they disappear without a trace, their thoughts forgotten, their aspirations unknown, but you have simply left your own family and become part of the family of man.

32 languages 目前已被翻譯成67種語言

 

George Whitman

 


本文收錄於英語島English Island 2018年5月號
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