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J·K·罗琳在哈佛大学毕业典礼上的演讲

作者: 来源: 时间:2020-09-12

一、

年6月5日是哈佛大学的毕业典礼,请来的演讲嘉宾是《哈利波特》的作者J.K.罗琳女士。

她的演讲题目是《失败的好处和想象的重要性》(The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination)。我读了一遍讲稿,觉得很好,很感染人。

她几乎没有谈到哈里波特,而是说了年轻时的一些经历。虽然J·K·罗琳现在很有钱,是英国仅次于女皇的最富有的女人,但是她曾经有一段非常艰辛的日子,30岁了,还差点流落街头。她主要谈的是,自己从这段经历中学到的东西。

去年的演讲嘉宾是比尔·盖茨,我翻译了他的演讲,影响挺大。今年,我继续翻译,有兴趣的朋友可以在网上找到原文和视频。

二、

她首先说了自己如何构思演讲稿,以及选择的两个演讲主题。

President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates.

福斯特校长,哈佛集团的各位成员,监管理事会的各位理事,各位老师,各位自豪的家长,以及最重要的各位毕业生同学,

The first thing I would like to say is 'thank you.' Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I have endured at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and convince myself that I am at the world's largest Gryffindor reunion.

我想说的第一句话,就是"谢谢"。不仅因为哈佛给了我这样非同一般的荣誉,还因为为了构思今天的演讲,我忍受了几个星期的担惊受怕、茶饭不思的生活,使得我体重减轻。这真可谓"双赢"啊!现在,我唯一要做的就是深呼吸,偷偷看一眼四周飘扬的红色旗帜,让自己相信真的来到了世界上最大的"格兰芬多"聚会。

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can't remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, the law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

在毕业典礼上发表演讲,是一项巨大的责任,令我倍感压力。直到我回忆起了自己的毕业典礼,才稍稍放松。那一次的演讲嘉宾是杰出的英国哲学家玛丽·沃诺克。回想她的演讲,极大地帮助我写作自己的演讲稿,因为我发现一点也不记得她的任何一句话了。这个发现让我如释重负,不再害怕自己在不经意间就对你们产生影响,让你们放弃在商业、法律、政治方面的大好前途,去追求成为一个快乐巫师的那种令人眩晕的愉悦。

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the 'gay wizard' joke, I've come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step to self improvement.

你们明白吗?如果多年以后,你们只记得我讲的这个"快乐巫师"的笑话,我就已经超过玛丽·沃诺克了。可以实现的目标,是自己改进的第一步。

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that have expired between that day and this.

实际上,我真的是绞尽脑汁,思索今天自己到底应该讲什么。我问自己,当年我毕业的时候,希望知道哪些事情;以及21年后的今天,我又从人生中得到哪些重要的经验教训。

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called 'real life', I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

我得到了两个回答。这个美妙的日子,我们聚集一堂,庆祝你们在学业上的成功,但是我决定跟你们说说失败的好处。以及当你们站在所谓"真实世界"的门槛之上的时候,我要颂扬想象力的重要性。

These may seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

这样的主题可能看上去有点异想天开和自相矛盾,但是请听下去。

三、

她开始回忆自己大学毕业时的情景:

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

对于一个42岁的妇女来说,回想自己21岁毕业时的情景,是一种稍稍令人不安的经历。回到21年之前,我正遭受煎熬,不知道在自己内心的追求与父母对我的期望之间,应该如何平衡。

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension. I know that the irony strikes with the force of a cartoon anvil, now.

当时,我确信自己一生中唯一想做的事情,就是去写小说。但是,我的父母出身贫寒,没有受过大学教育。他们认为,我那些不安分的想象力只是一种怪癖,根本不能用来还房贷,或者挣来养老金。我现在知道,这种人生的反讽,有着卡通片里大铁砧般的巨大打击力。

So they hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents' car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

他们希望我再去读个职业学位,而我想去研究英国文学。最后,达成了一个双方都不甚满意的妥协:我改学语言学。可是等到父母的车消失在公路的转角,我就立刻抛掉了德语,奔向古典文学的道路。

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.

我不记得将这事告诉了父母。他们可能是在毕业典礼那一天才发现的。我想,在全世界的所有专业中,他们也许认为,不会有比研究希腊神话更没用的专业了,根本无法换来一间独立的宽敞卫生间。

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

我要申明,我并不责怪父母有这种看法。父母只在一段时间内,对你的人生方向负责;当你长大以后,你自己就控制了人生方向,必须自己承担责任。而且,他们只是希望我不要过穷日子,我不能批评他们。他们自己很穷,我后来一度也很穷,所以我很理解他们,贫穷是一种悲惨的经历。它带来恐惧、压力、有时还有抑郁。它意味着许许多多的羞辱和艰辛。靠自己的努力摆脱贫穷,确实让人自豪,但是只有傻瓜才会将贫穷本身浪漫化。

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