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埃及人

 

作者:Mika Waltari
出版社:Werner Söderström Ltd (WSOY)

▎文藝復興後西方國家對挖掘古藝術充滿熱情,將出土文物用來象徵社會地位。
   19世紀許多歐洲貴族贊助發掘者實地考古,也推動了埃及學的發展。
▎作者用優雅美麗的詩句描繪出迷人的古埃及生活,而其深度的考究也讓學者們驚嘆,
   一次滿足對文字敏感、又對神秘埃及學(Egyptology)有興趣的讀者。

文章難度:★★★★☆
預估閱讀時間:02:00

《The Egyptian》帶領我們以迷人的視角窺探古埃及的日常生活
photo credit: PnP!

Mika Waltari's 1954 classic 'The Egyptian' gives us a captivating look into the daily life of ancient Egypt, written in beautifully interwoven verses of deceptively simple language and wisdom. The book, which is set during Egypt's Amarna period 3300 years ago, has been praised by Egyptologists for Waltari's painstaking attention to detail. The book is filled with flavorful, amusing characters who are often based on real historical roots.

芬蘭作家Mika Waltari 1954年出版的經典小說《The Egyptian》,用看似簡單卻交織著智慧的美麗文字,帶領我們以迷人的視角窺探古埃及的日常生活。這本書的故事背景設定在距今約3300年的古埃及Amarna(阿瑪爾納)時期,作者在書中對於細節的講究得到許多埃及學家的讚譽,而書中也充滿著各式各樣基於史實而建立,既生動又有趣的角色。

 

Our guide on this journey through Egypt (and the lands around it) circa 1341 BCE is Sinuhe, who the reader sees rise to become the royal physician. We see him enter the priesthood of Ammon to gain access to medical school, bear witness to the pharaoh Amenhotep III in his last moments, embalm bodies in the House of the Dead, and many other adventures besides. All of this is narrated by Sinuhe himself, who is now an old man looking back on his life.

透過年邁時的自述回憶,故事主人翁Sinuhe用他一步步成為法老御醫的旅程,帶領我們回到公元前1341年左右的埃及一帶,經歷各式各樣的冒險。我們看著他從因著成為埃及主神阿蒙(Ammon)的祭司而踏上了學醫之路、親眼見證法老王阿蒙霍特三世的死、到成為禮儀師製作木乃伊。

 

The characters in 'The Egyptian' often represent their ideals. The best contrast for Sinuhe, for example, is his servant Kaptah, whom often provides him with excellent advice and guidance. Kaptah is a realist, materialistic and practical, and once given his freedom becomes a wealthy man. Sinuhe, on the other hand, places his trust in odd places.

《The Egyptian》一書中的角色通常代表著一種理想,例如對於主角Sinuhe而言,最鮮明的對比角色,就是常常給予他忠實建議與引導的僕人Kaptah。Kaptah是一位踏實又唯物的現實主義者,在他獲得自由後成為一位富人。然而,Sinuhe卻似乎信錯了人。

 

The deep valleys and high peaks of Sinuhe's fortunes show us many different layers of the Egyptian world, including the priests, the doctors, and the embalmers of the dead. The book's narrative shows profound ideas about the nature of man, most obviously apparent to this reader in its parallels to World War II. The book relates its narrative through prose peppered with wit and irony, though what one might find most-engrossing about it is that it is elegantly and methodically laid out in a way that is completely satisfying. This is a book that profoundly rewards attentive and considerate readers.

在Sinuhe人生際遇的高峰與低谷中,我們看見由祭司、醫生、與木乃伊禮儀師組成,不同層次的埃及世界。本書對於人性的深切刻畫,對於經歷過二戰的人們來說特別鮮明。本書最引人入勝之處在於,它能既優雅又有條不紊地,透過風趣又充滿諷刺的文句將段落串連起來,對於細心的讀者而言,是一個能深刻感到回饋的讀物。

 


 

文/ Max Power

本文收錄於英語島English Island 2018年4月號
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