在世界的尽头爱拉丁语
Loving Latin at the End of the World
3060字
2021-03-21 16:24
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火星译客

Left to right: Vergil, Cicero, Livy.

从左到右:维吉尔,西塞罗,利维。

Many revere Latin as the soul of Western civilization. But its beauty should not keep us from reckoning with its history.

许多人尊崇拉丁语是西方文明的灵魂。但它的美丽不应使我们忽视它的历史。

Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language

拉丁语万岁:没有利用价值的语言的乐趣

Nicola Gardini, translated from the Italian by Todd Portnowitz

尼古拉·加德尼,由托德·波特诺维茨译自意大利语

Imagine the rush to leave your doomed city—the fires, the smoke, the uncertainty of where you will go, how long you will stay when you get there. In those few moments to consider your possessions, you think, “Ah, but I might have time for a book!” What do you pull from your shelves? A sacred text? Some handy and serviceable issues of Popular Mechanics? Or perhaps, like the Oxford Renaissance literature professor Nicola Gardini, you reach for Vergil's Aeneid. “In the event of global catastrophe,” he writes in his newly translated book Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language, that would be “the book to salvage.” At that moment you become Aeneas, bending to carry the pater of a dying patria: your Anchises is the epic of Imperial Rome—and the legacy and detritus that comes with it.

想象一下,匆忙离开你那注定要毁灭的城市——大火,浓烟,不确定你将去哪里,当你到达那里时你将停留多久。在考虑你的财产时,你会想,“啊,但是我可能有时间看书!“你从架子上拿什么?神圣的文稿?流行力学中一些方便实用的问题?或者,像牛津文艺复兴时期的文学教授尼古拉·加迪尼那样,你可以接触到维吉尔的《埃涅伊德》。他在最新翻译的《拉丁万岁:无用语言的乐趣》一书中写道:“在全球灾难的情况下,你将成为埃涅阿斯,弯腰背着垂死的帕特里亚的父亲:你的锚是罗马帝国的史诗,以及随之而来的遗产和碎片。

Deeply embroiled in the culture wars, Latin remains a totemic language—attractive to religious schools, nationalists, and traditionalists alike.

深深卷入文化战争的拉丁语仍然是一种图腾语言,对宗教学校、民族主义者和传统主义者都很有吸引力。

Vergil, Anchises, patria. If these words are foreign to you—if you don't know that patria is the nominative of “country” (really, “fatherland”), or that in Latin my phrase above (pater patriae) would have used the genitive of possession—it is because, some would say, we live in a degenerate age, when the classics are no longer ubiquitous and the past is no longer cherished.

维吉尔,安切斯,帕特里亚。如果这些词对你来说是陌生的,如果你不知道patria是“country”(实际上是“fatherland”)的主格,或者在拉丁语中我上面的短语(pater patriae)会使用属格的占有,那是因为,有人会说,我们生活在一个堕落的时代,当经典不再无处不在,过去不再珍视。

Indeed Latin remains deeply embroiled in the culture wars. Conservative groups and homeschool communities have doubled down on the classical tradition, even as others—many of us classicists included—have grappled with its exclusionary and problematic reception and sought a richer contextualization of the past. (Just three months ago Christianity Today reported on “The Rise of the Bible-Teaching, Plato-Loving, Homeschool Elitists.”) Latin is no longer the bedrock of education that it used to be (along with Greek, for that matter), but all the while it has remained a totemic language—attractive to religious schools, nationalists, and traditionalists alike for its implicit cultural authority, its tradition of exclusivity, power, and prestige.

事实上,拉丁语仍然深深地卷入了文化战争。保守派团体和家庭学校社区已经加倍了对古典传统的继承,即使包括我们许多古典主义者在内的其他人也在努力克服其排斥性和有问题的接受,并寻求更丰富的历史背景。(就在三个月前,《今日基督教》报道了“圣经教学的兴起,热爱柏拉图,家庭教育的精英。”)拉丁语不再是它过去的教育基石(与希腊语一样),但它一直是一种图腾式语言,对宗教学校、民族主义者和传统主义者都有吸引力,因为其隐含的文化权威、排他性、权力和威望的传统。

It is Latin, not Greek, after all, that is most prominently paraded as intellectual exercise or cultural badge of honor. Hundreds of thousands of precollege students study the language in the United States alone (and many of them compete for olive wreaths and bragging rights in the National Latin Exam), while ancient Greek mostly survives in seminaries and university classics departments. From this perspective, the answer to the perennial question “Why study Latin?” seems clear: it is imperial, it is canonized, and it valorizes a particular identity—the dead white men who, we are told, invented Western civilization.

它是拉丁语,而不是希腊语,毕竟,最突出的出行作为智力锻炼或文化荣誉徽章。仅在美国,就有成千上万的大学预科学生学习这门语言(其中许多人在国家拉丁语考试中争夺橄榄花环和吹牛的权利),而古希腊语大多在神学院和大学古典文学系存活下来。从这个角度,回答了一个长期存在的问题“为什么学拉丁语?”?“似乎很清楚:它是帝制的,它是被封圣的,它赋予了一种特殊的身份,即死去的白人,我们被告知,他们发明了西方文明。

The answer to the perennial question “Why study Latin?” seems clear: it is imperial, it is canonized, and it valorizes a particular identity—the dead white men who, we are told, invented Western civilization.

关于“为什么学拉丁语”这个长期存在的问题的答案?“似乎很清楚:它是帝制的,它是被封圣的,它赋予了一种特殊的身份,即死去的白人,我们被告知,他们发明了西方文明。

Of course, this is not the reason Gardini wrote his book. His primary target is the claim that Latin is useless; his impassioned prologue is called “Ode to a Useless Language.” But he is also particularly irked by the “noxious cliché” that Latin is a “dead language” because it is no longer spoken (or spoken by only very few). By his argument, no language can be dead that is still producing ideas, generating responses, and prompting emulation—from the Latin aemulatio, which can also mean “rivalry.”

当然,这不是加德尼写这本书的原因。他的主要目标是声称拉丁语是无用的;他慷慨激昂的开场白被称为“无用语言颂”。但他也特别恼火于“有害的陈词滥调”,即拉丁语是一种“死语言”,因为它不再被人说了(或只有极少数人说)。根据他的论点,没有一种语言是死气沉沉的,它仍在产生想法,产生回应,并促使人们效仿拉丁语,这也可能意味着“竞争”

His official argument for studying Latin avoids talk of utility altogether. “When we study Latin,” he writes, “we must study it for one fundamental reason: because it is the language of a civilization; because the Western world was created on its back. Because inscribed in Latin are the secrets of our deepest cultural memory, secrets that demand to be read.” But his most telling and recurring counterclaim against the tedium of utilitas is love, especially love of the beautiful. “Latin is beautiful,” he asserts emphatically—the italics are his own. “This fact undergirds all that I will be saying in these pages.” What he has written, he says, is “not a grammar book, not a history of language or literature, but an essay on the beauty of Latin.”

他学习拉丁语的官方论点完全避免了实用性的讨论。“当我们学习拉丁语时,”他写道,“我们学习拉丁语有一个根本的原因:因为它是一种文明的语言;因为西方世界是在它的背后被创造出来的。因为用拉丁语写下的是我们最深的文化记忆的秘密,需要阅读的秘密。”但他对功利主义的乏味最具说服力和反复出现的反诉是爱,尤其是对美丽的爱。“拉丁语很美,”他强调说,斜体字是他自己的。他说,他写的不是一本语法书,不是一部语言或文学史,而是一篇关于拉丁语之美的文章

The problems with this approach—this ideology of the aesthetic—are legion. It fails to recognize that “civilization” is a process of selection—exclusionary by design—and that ugliness is the Janus-faced twin of beauty, the implied defect of those who don't make the cut. Gardini's Latin is that of an unrepentant New Critic, who searches the universe for “perfect,” “rational,” “well-ordered” verbal forms to elucidate (all these adjectives are his), without acknowledging the contexts and conflicts that have led him to seek out those forms in the first place.

这种方法和这种美学思想的问题是多方面的。它没有认识到“文明”是一个被设计排斥的选择过程,丑是美与丑的孪生子,是那些没有成功的人所隐含的缺陷。加尔迪尼的拉丁语是一个无悔的新批评家,他在宇宙中寻找“完美的”、“理性的”、“有序的”语言形式来阐释(所有这些形容词都是他的),却不承认导致他首先寻找这些形式的语境和冲突。

There is a real-world danger to this aestheticizing attitude toward linguistic study, this appeal to “beauty” and “pleasure.”

这种对语言研究的审美态度,这种对“美”和“愉悦”的诉求,在现实世界中是危险的

There is a real-world danger to this aestheticizing attitude toward linguistic study, this appeal to “beauty” and “pleasure.” (Both words appear in the book at least a dozen times.) It threatens to make classics into a mystery-cult rite, through which initiates gain arcane knowledge of the nature of things (to crib some Lucretius). It distorts the marvelous range of Latin-speaking culture, flattening its richness and diversity into a one-note story about the “West.” And it suppresses analysis of the political and social conditions in which the language was used.

这种对语言研究的审美化态度,这种对“美”和“愉悦”的诉求,在现实世界中是危险的(这两个词在书中至少出现过十几次)它有可能使经典成为一种神秘的崇拜仪式,通过这种仪式,启蒙者可以获得对事物本质的神秘知识(以获取一些幸运)。它扭曲了拉丁语文化的奇妙范围,将其丰富性和多样性扁平化为一个关于“西方”的单音符故事,并压制了对使用该语言的政治和社会条件的分析。

This kind of classicism limits history, makes ethics an entirely personal affair, and distances itself from the dirty confines of politics. Long Live Latin might have a different tone if it had been written not in the waning days of 2015 but rather in the shadow cast by Brexit, the presidency of Donald Trump, and the expropriation of the Greco-Roman past by ethnonationalists and hate groups. Indeed, though Gardini concedes in passing that studying Latin means different things in different contexts, this fact should be the first premise of his inquiry, rather than the last.

这种古典主义限制了历史,使伦理完全成为个人事务,使自己远离肮脏的政治界限。如果不是在2015年日渐衰弱的日子里,而是在英国脱欧、唐纳德·特朗普)担任总统以及民族主义者和仇恨团体对希腊罗马历史的掠夺所投下的阴影下,拉丁语万岁可能会有不同的基调。事实上,尽管加德尼顺便承认,学习拉丁语在不同的语境中意味着不同的东西,但这一事实应该是他研究的第一个前提,而不是最后一个前提。

• • •

• • •

If I come down too hard on Gardini, it is because I am in many ways his fellow traveler. I too love Latin. (We both received our PhDs in classics from New York University, in fact.) I am also moved by Gardini's fine writing, and the exceptional translation from the Italian by Todd Portnowitz: the book is an elegy for a world gone-by, a lament for the secret knowledge of words. And I shared his boyhood view of Latin as a cheat-code for social class. As Gardini writes in the opening of the book, reflecting on his first encounter with Latin textbooks and their description of the Roman domus, his study of “Latin became entangled with my desire to, in a certain sense, climb the social ladder: the dream of a magnificent home.”

如果我对加迪尼过于严厉,那是因为我在许多方面都是他的旅伴。我也喜欢拉丁语。(事实上,我们都获得了纽约大学的古典文学博士学位。)我也被加德尼的优秀作品以及托德·波特诺维茨对意大利语的杰出翻译所感动:这本书是对逝去世界的挽歌,是对文字秘密知识的哀叹。我和他一样认为拉丁语是社会阶层的作弊代码。正如加尔迪尼在书的开篇所写的那样,他第一次接触到拉丁语教科书,并回忆起他们对罗马多莫斯的描述,他对“拉丁语的研究与我在某种意义上攀登社会阶梯的愿望纠缠在一起:一个宏伟家园的梦想。”

The book's organizing principle is literary: it is a collection of beautiful passages, deftly mined for their stylistic differences, interwoven with biographical reflections.

这本书的组织原则是文学性的:它是一个美丽的段落的集合,巧妙地挖掘他们的风格差异,与传记性的思考交织在一起。

This book is that study's magnificent home. Its organizing principle is literary: it is a collection of beautiful passages, exquisitely turned out and deftly mined for their stylistic differences, interwoven with biographical reflections on Gardini's experience with the language. In each chapter he selects texts from specific authors and shows what is special about them. The exercise will be familiar to the classically trained as that special realm of passion and pedantry, where the best demonstrate how good they are at showing how good something else is.

这本书是那间书房的宏伟家园。它的组织原则是文学性的:它是一个美丽的段落的集合,精巧地制作出来,巧妙地挖掘它们的风格差异,交织着对加德尼语言经验的传记性思考。在每一章中,他从特定的作者那里挑选文本,并展示他们的特殊之处。这个练习对于那些受过古典训练的人来说是很熟悉的,因为这是一个充满热情和学究风范的特殊领域,在这里,最优秀的人会展示出他们在展示其他事物有多好方面的能力。

The authors named in chapter headings do not range far beyond the usual suspects, who are in no danger of being forgotten and would have been familiar several generations ago: Cicero and Seneca, Livy and Tacitus, Vergil and Horace, Lucretius and Ovid. All of them are male, and most were incredibly wealthy adjacents to imperial power who relied on slaves to ply their trade. Gardini is completely transparent that the Latin he chooses to write about is the literary Latin that shaped his character and the character of the works he loves—the Latin of the classical canon, restricted in both space and time, from around 200 BCE to 200 CE. He fails to paint the larger Mediterranean context, especially the influence of Greece—an omission that parallels the erasure of non-Western contributions in general. He offers, for example, the typical yet blinkered story of a Latin Renaissance centered in Italy and moving slowly northward, discounting the cultural importance and contribution of the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world.

章节标题中提到的作者并没有超出通常的嫌疑犯的范围,他们没有被遗忘的危险,几代人以前都很熟悉:西塞罗和塞内卡、利维和塔西佗、维吉尔和贺拉斯、卢克雷修斯和奥维德。他们都是男性,大多数都是皇权的近亲,靠奴隶做生意,非常富有。加尔迪尼完全清楚,他选择写的拉丁语是塑造他性格的文学拉丁语,他喜欢的作品的性格是古典正典的拉丁语,在空间和时间上都受到限制,从公元前200年到公元前200年左右。他未能描绘出更大的地中海背景,尤其是希腊的影响,这一遗漏与抹去非西方贡献大体相当。例如,他讲述了以意大利为中心的拉丁文艺复兴缓慢向北发展的典型故事,忽略了拜占庭帝国和 世界的文化重要性和贡献。

The authors covered—all men—do not range far beyond the usual suspects, most of whom were incredibly wealthy adjacents to imperial power and relied on slaves to ply their trade.

作者涵盖了所有的人,范围不远超出通常的嫌疑犯,其中大多数人是难以置信的富裕毗邻皇权和依赖奴隶从事他们的贸易。

The temporal restriction is telling, too. Unlike scholarly work that has sought to expand the bounds of the past, this book largely conveys a curious nostalgia—a paean to a cultural pattern created by the Renaissance, written by a professor of Renaissance literature, yet with very little of the Renaissance in it. (When Petrarch does appear in passing, Gardini's fondness for him shines through.) The logic of this structure is partly biographical and partly aesthetic. The chapter on the latest author, St. Augustine, is introduced in the following way: “In high school, we hardly touched on Christian Latin—too late in the game, too bland. And yet, in the right hands, it too can be beautiful.”

时间限制也说明了这一点。不像那些寻求扩大过去界限的学术著作,这本书很大程度上传达了一种好奇的怀旧——对文艺复兴创造的文化模式的赞歌,它是由一位文艺复兴文学教授所写,但其中很少有文艺复兴的内容。(当彼特拉克确实顺道出现时,加迪尼对他的喜爱流露无遗。)这种结构的逻辑部分是传记的,部分是美学的。关于最新作者圣奥古斯丁 的章节是这样介绍的:“在高中时,我们几乎没有接触过基督教拉丁语——在游戏中太晚了,太乏味了。然而,在合适的人手里,它也可以是美丽的。”

The book shines brightest when his exhortations get you to read the words aloud, to will them back into the world, as he did for me with his evocation of Vergil's Eclogues, finding that space between poetic verse and magic spell that is at the heart of Roman literary life. His selections of passages are worth the cover price of the book alone, especially in his chapters on Propertius, Juvenal, and Horace. Gardini makes you want to turn back to Seneca's letters, or to marvel at the novels of Apuleius and Petronius again, if not for the first time. In this vein, he is movingly clear on the formal achievements of Lucretius, and equally powerful in his rumination on semantic shifts from Latin cura (“concern, dedication”) to English care. “The most ancient words in our language,” he writes, “are like haunted houses.”

他所选的段落仅是这本书的面价格就值得一读,特别是在他关于普罗佩提乌斯、朱文诺和的霍勒斯章节中。加迪尼让你想回到塞内卡的书信,或者再次惊叹于阿普利乌斯和彼得罗纽斯的小说,如果不是第一次的话。在这一点上,他对卢克雷修斯的正式成就感人至深,对从拉丁语cura(“关心,奉献”)到英语care的语义转变的思考也同样有力。“我们语言中最古老的词语,”他写道,“就像鬼屋。”

However historical his material may be, Gardini seems persistently disinterested in history and politics.

不管他的材料是什么历史材料,加尔迪尼似乎对历史和政治始终不感兴趣。

Occasionally he goes too far, as when he claims that “Latin is the language of the relationship between the one and the many” and that “to speak of ‘Latin' is first and foremost to speak of a complete dedication to organizing one's words in a profound and measured discourse.” Enjoying this book does not require signing on to this definition, but it does require overlooking certain things—especially a richer sense of history. However historical his material may be, Gardini seems persistently disinterested in history and politics. He attempts to link the beautiful to the political earlier on when he writes, “Beauty is the face of freedom. What all totalitarian regimes have most strikingly in common is their ugliness.” Yet claims of “beauty” and “truth” were central to the discourses of fascism in the twentieth century. His avoidance of this fact is either incredible naiveté or willful denial.

偶尔他走得太远,正如他声称“拉丁语是一个与多人之间关系的语言”,“说‘拉丁语’首先是要说一种对在深刻而有量度的话语中组织自己的话的完全奉献。”享受这本书并不需要签署这一定义,但它确实需要忽略某些事情,尤其是更丰富的历史感。不管他的材料是什么历史,加迪尼似乎对历史和政治都毫不关心。他试图在他早些时候写“美是自由的脸”时,试图把美与政治联系起来。所有极权主义政权最显著的共同点是它们的丑陋,然而“美”和“真理”的主张是20世纪法西斯话语的中心。他回避这一事实,要么是难以置信的天真,要么是故意的否认。

This aestheticism becomes especially hard to take when he turns to Caesar, whose famously dry prose is held up as the epitome of “rationalism and pragmatism.” He promises not to dwell on Caesar's great “ideological and propagandistic value.” Similarly, he calls Vergil's epic “written evidence of an entire civilization—nothing short of a new gospel,” with hardly anything added on the century of death that preceded it or the scale of human suffering occluded by its tale. Form, here as elsewhere in the book, trumps content: “Vergil's enduring success is owed first of all to the beauty of his language.” Likewise troubling is the briefest nod to the troubles that attended Tacitus's imperial life (and conditioned his harsh indirectness) or the wealth, class, and power that made Seneca's stoicism possible. In reading Livy, his uncritical tale of Lucretia's rape is no surprise given his silence on Roman misogyny and its inheritance through the canon.

当他转向凯撒时,这种唯美主义变得尤其难以接受,凯撒著名的枯燥散文被视为“理性主义和实用主义”的缩影。他承诺不会详述凯撒伟大的“意识形态和宣传价值”。同样,他把维吉尔的史诗称为“整个文明的书面证据”一个新的福音,“在它之前的死亡世纪或它的故事所掩盖的人类苦难的规模上几乎没有任何增加。形式,就像书中其他地方一样,胜过内容:“维吉尔持久的成功首先归功于他的语言之美。”同样令人不安的是,最简单的一点是,塔西佗帝国生活中的麻烦(并制约了他苛刻的间接性)或财富、阶级和权力,使塞内卡的斯多葛主义成为可能。在阅读利维,他不加批判的故事卢克雷蒂娅的伤害并不奇怪,因为他沉默的罗马厌女症及其继承通过佳能。

The beauty of Gardini's phrases almost obscures a need to prove that the author is speaking the truth.

加迪尼的语句之美几乎掩盖了证明作者说的是真话的必要性。

Of his textual explications, his section on Cicero may be the least convincing. The clear and instructive tour through Ciceronian passages moves between pellucid comments on syntax and quite passionate flights of fancy: “under Cicero's direction, Latin takes the stage as a language of truth and justice.” As with Cicero's own writing, the beauty of Gardini's phrases almost obscures a need to prove that the author is speaking the truth. Such is the Ciceronian desire and ability to recast the world through the word, rather than deigning to make words faithfully represent it.

在他的文本解释中,他关于西塞罗的部分可能是最没有说服力的。通过西塞罗语段落的清晰而有启发性的旅行,在对语法的清晰评论和充满热情的幻想之间移动:“在西塞罗的指导下,拉丁语作为真理和正义的语言出现在舞台上。”正如西塞罗自己的写作一样,加迪尼的语句之美几乎掩盖了证明作者说的是真话的必要性。这就是西塞罗的愿望和能力,通过文字来重塑世界,而不是屈尊让文字忠实地代表世界。

• • •

• • •

Gardini sings the praises of Western civilization, then, without acknowledging that this also includes imperial, colonial, and enslaving misogynists. The implicit requirement for appreciating the aesthetic beauty Gardini so admires is ignoring that literature is a political discourse—and that the canon may be complicit in history rather than merely a product of it.

加尔迪尼歌颂西方文明,却不承认这也包括帝国主义者、殖民主义者和奴役厌恶女性者。嘉迪尼所崇尚的审美美的内在要求,忽视了文学是一种政治话语,文学经典可能是历史的共谋,而不仅仅是历史的产物。

We need to look to classics more critically to understand how easy it is to use what remains of Roman and Greek culture as shackles rather than means of liberation.

我们需要更批判性地研究古典文学,以理解把罗马和希腊文化的残余物当作枷锁而不是解放的手段是多么容易。

In the time that has passed since Gardini wrote the Italian edition of this book, we have learned a lot about what people do with Latin—who studies it, and why. In her recent book Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age (2018), for example, Donna Zuckerberg tracks the alt-right's appropriation of the classics, from the use of classical texts among Men's Rights Activists to the superficial use of Ovid as inspiration for pickup artists. “O tempora! O mores!” we cry with Cicero upon seeing classics used by hate groups. Scholars such as Curtis Dozier (with his Pharos project) and Sarah Bond (with her tireless public outreach) have worked alongside mainstream authors such as Myke Cole to record and expose these misunderstandings and misuses of the past.

自从加德尼写了这本书的意大利版以来,我们学到了很多关于学习拉丁语的人是怎么做的,以及为什么。例如,唐娜·扎克伯格在其最近出版的《并非所有已死的白人:数字时代的经典与厌女》(2018)一书中,追踪了另类右翼人士对经典的盗用,从男权活动家对经典文本的使用,到将奥维德作为皮卡艺术家灵感的肤浅使用。“天哪!哦,莫尔斯!“看到仇恨团体使用的经典作品,我们和西塞罗一起哭泣。学者们,如柯蒂斯多齐尔(与他的法罗斯项目)和莎拉邦德(与她孜孜不倦的公众宣传)已与主流作家,如梅克科尔记录和揭露这些误解和误用的过去。

But the fact remains that classics has been a force of imperialism, classism, racism, and colonialism since its inception. (The historian Rebecca Futo Kennedy has joined others such as Dorothy Kim in cataloguing this long legacy.) We need to look to the history of our discipline more critically to understand how easy it is to use what remains of Roman and Greek culture as shackles rather than means of liberation. Affiliating ourselves with Latin requires scrutinizing the world that has received and transmitted it.

但事实是,自古典主义诞生以来,它就一直是一股帝国主义、阶级主义、种族主义和殖民主义的力量。(历史学家丽贝卡·福托·肯尼迪与多萝西·金等人一起,对这一悠久的遗产进行了编录。)我们需要更批判性地审视我们学科的历史,以理解利用罗马和希腊文化的遗迹作为枷锁而不是解放的手段是多么容易。把我们自己与拉丁语联系在一起,就需要仔细观察这个接收和传播它的世界。

All this points to something we all know but are afraid to admit: the classical humanities have failed as humanizing enterprises. Just consider the classical educations of slaveholders such as Seneca, the classical trappings of colonialism, the superficial Latin and Greek of the so-called Founding Fathers (among them, Thomas Jefferson). German Philhellenism played no small role in Nazism and twentieth-century fascism. And, really, one needs look no further than the Oxford classical education of a buffoon like Boris Johnson to recognize that “Western Civilization” has a problem.

所有这些都表明了一个我们都知道但又不敢承认的事实:作为人性化企业的古典人文主义已经失败了。想想塞内卡等奴隶主的经典教育,殖民主义的经典服饰,所谓开国元勋(其中包括托马斯·杰斐逊)肤浅的拉丁语和希腊语。德国的希腊主义在纳粹主义和二十世纪的法西斯主义中发挥了不小的作用。而且,真的,我们只需要看看像鲍里斯·约翰逊这样的小丑所受的牛津古典教育,就可以认识到“西方文明”有一个问题。

Those who still admire the work of canon-defending may find in Gardini's book the echo of a rallying cry. But others will find the discomfort of self-recognition. When he closes his book, Gardini claims first that Latin is a worthwhile study because it is “fun,” but also because “Latin is here to remind us that meaning is not to be taken for granted.” In the latter claim, Gardini almost seems ready to gesture beyond the narrowly aesthetic, but instead he limply insists that “achieving linguistic beauty” is “one of the highest aims of being human.” Gardini's Latin thus ends as an aesthetic wonder: a form with some content, but which should teach us “the importance of historical distance” and that the “ancients speak for the ancients.” Perhaps these comments are a belated attempt to stave off the distortions of twentieth-century interpretation or political misuse—but it is a weak one, undone by the implicitly political gesture of the book's championing of a very narrow and specific canon.

那些仍然敬佩佳能辩护工作的人可能会在加德尼的书中找到号召的回声。但其他人会发现自我认知的不适。当他合上他的书时,加尔迪亚首先声称拉丁语是一门值得研究的学科,因为它“有趣”,但也因为“拉丁语在这里提醒我们,意义不是理所当然的。”在后一种说法中,加尔迪亚i几乎准备好超越狭隘的美学,但他却一瘸一拐地坚持认为“实现语言美”是“人类的最高目标之一”。因此,加德尼的拉丁语以一种美学奇迹而告终:一种具有某种内容的形式,但这应该教会我们“历史距离的重要性”和“古人为古人说话”。也许这些评论是为了避免对二十世纪的解释或政治误用的歪曲,但这是一种软弱的尝试,因为这本书暗含着政治姿态,倡导一个新的世界非常狭隘和具体的教规。

Gardini sings the praises of Western civilization, without acknowledging that this also includes imperial, colonial, and enslaving misogynists. His Latin is an aesthetic wonder, form without content.

加尔迪尼歌颂西方文明,却不承认这也包括帝国主义者、殖民主义者和奴役厌恶女性者。他的拉丁语是一个美学奇迹,形式没有内容。

For my part, I carry the Latin I have learned with me every day as a gift. The first line of Catullus's elegy for his brother (multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus) ran through my head as I travelled to arrange my father's funeral; I have regularly found comfort in Seneca's Moral Epistles, and have learned much about how life makes us all complicit from Cicero's personal letters. These gifts have come to me through chance and privilege.

就我而言,我把每天学的拉丁语作为礼物。卡图卢斯为他哥哥写的挽歌(每种植物的数量和每种植物的数量)(的第一行贯穿了我的脑海,因为我去安排我父亲的葬礼;我经常在塞内卡的道德书信中找到安慰,并从西塞罗的私人信件中了解到生活如何让我们都成为同谋。这些礼物是我偶然得到的。

But it is not enough to learn Latin alone, to excise it from its place and time for merely personal use. It may be naïve to think we can appreciate the past's beauty all the more after recognizing its horrors; that we can find comfort and hope in shared humanity; and that we can still learn from the imperfect past to improve our imperfect present. Yet isn't this the very hope for fame and glory that animated Ovid to sing?

但是仅仅学习拉丁语是不够的,仅仅为了个人的需要而把拉丁语从它的位置和时间中去掉是不够的。认为我们在认识到过去的恐怖之后能够更加欣赏它的美丽,认为我们能够在共同的人性中找到安慰和希望,认为我们仍然可以从不完美的过去中学习来改善我们不完美的现在,这也许是幼稚的。然而,这不正是奥维德演唱的名望和荣耀的希望吗?

At the end of the day, we may be what we love. Love makes Latin live through Nicola Gardini, and it is certainly lively in his hands. But part of learning to love the classics is learning what they truly are. Our engagement with literature, he admits, should make us more critical of what it—and we—do in the world; how we talk about what we love is an expression of how we view ourselves. As the Roman poet Propertius warned, sine sensu vivere amantis, et levibus curis magna perire bona: “lovers live without sense / and great affairs perish because of petty concerns.”

说到底,我们可能是我们所爱的人。爱通过尼古拉·加迪尼使拉丁语活了下来,在他的手中当然是活泼的。但学习热爱经典的一部分是学习它们的真实面目。他承认,我们与文学的接触,应该让我们对文学和我们在这个世界上的所作所为更加挑剔;我们如何谈论我们所爱的东西,是我们如何看待自己的一种表达。正如罗马诗人Propertius警告说,从某种意义上说,阿曼蒂斯和利维伯斯·居里·马格纳·佩里尔·博纳:“恋人没有理智地生活,大事因琐事而消亡。”

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