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新概念英语第四册第1课文化背景:何谓萨迦(saga)

2014-09-12 14:45

来源:新东方在线

作者:李延隆

  新概念第四册第一课出现了一个颇有来头的词"saga",课本中译为"英雄故事"。何谓“萨迦(saga)”?一起来看看相关资料吧!

新概念英语第四册第1课文化背景:何谓萨迦(saga)

  新概念第四册第一课出现了一个颇有来头的词"saga",课本中译为"英雄故事"。然而这个词要解释清楚却没那么容易,课上限于时间,我将其简单的解释为"a prose narrative recorded in Iceland in the Middle Ages. It's written about the Vikings of Norway and Iceland.(中世纪冰岛的一种叙事散文,主要描写挪威和冰岛的维京人(北欧海盗)的故事。)"其实这只是严格上的定义,在更宽泛的意义上,"saga"涵盖了相当广泛的文学作品,而不仅限于描述北欧海盗。我们通过两本百科全书的解释可以看得更清楚:

  先来看看维基百科的解释:

  萨迦(saga,冰岛语:s?gur)。语源来自德语,本意是「小故事」。后来演变成"史诗"、"传奇"的意思。

  约13世纪起,冰岛和挪威地区的人开始将平时以口传的故事记述下来,这些故事大多是9世纪中叶到11世纪时的冰岛神话和英雄传奇、维京人的远征等,带有丰富的浪漫主义色彩。13世纪是萨迦创作的黄金时期,当时创作的文学的主体是以散文叙事的方式呈现。14世纪之后的萨迦流于编年史或骑士罗曼史小说,散文叙事文学就逐渐失色了。

  萨迦的文字是浪漫的、带有幻想色彩的史诗传说,题材有关远古英雄的作为、杰出人物的故事,这些主人公主要是维京人,有的是基督徒有的是异教徒。对他们的描写非常真实,看上去和我们当代人其实并非想象中那么不同。

  在冰岛的萨迦中最为着名的作品包括《尼雅尔萨迦》等作品。

  在大英百科全书中解释得更清楚:

  In medieval Icelandic literature, any type of story or history in prose, irrespective of the kind or nature of the narrative or the purposes for which it was written. Used in this general sense, the term applies to a wide range of literary works, including those of hagiography (biography of saints), historiography, and secular fiction in a variety of modes. Lives of the saints and other stories for edification are entitled sagas, as are the Norse versions of French romances and the Icelandic adaptations of various Latin histories. Chronicles and other factual records of the history of Scandinavia and Iceland down to the 14th century are also included under the blanket term saga literature.

  In a stricter sense, however, the term saga is confined to legendary and historical fictions, in which the author has attempted an imaginative reconstruction of the past and organized the subject matter according to certain aesthetic principles. Using the distinctive features of the hero as principal guideline, medieval Icelandic narrative fiction can be classified as: (1) kings' sagas, (2) legendary sagas, and (3) sagas of Icelanders.

  The origin and evolution of saga writing in Iceland are largely matters for speculation. A common pastime on Icelandic farms, from the 12th century down to modern times, was the reading aloud of stories to entertain the household, known as sagnaskemmtun ("saga entertainment"). It seems to have replaced the traditional art of storytelling. All kinds of written narratives were used in sagnaskemmtun; secular, sacred, historical, and legendary. The Icelandic church took a sympathetic view of the writing and reading of sagas, and many of the authors whose identity is still known were monks or priests.

  记得以前在看余秋雨的《行者无疆》时,书中有篇文章曾涉及到有关"萨迦(saga)"的内容,网上一搜,果然找到了。这篇文章中余先生将维京人称为海盗,为此还遭受了不少好事者言语尖刻的攻讦,他们的理由是"Viking"表示北欧海盗,而不是广泛意义上的海盗(pirate)。其实余先生在讲述冰岛之行时提到海盗,在特定的语境之下是没有错的。文章录于下:

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