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2008-08-21 10:36:03|  分类: 听读名著,学英语 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Bookreview by R.M. Fisher Revenna

 When Charles Ludwig Dodgson first began to tell the story of Alice's adventures underground to the three Liddell sisters, he had no idea whatsoever the impact that his work would one day have in the cultural history of humanity. Is there a person alive in Western civilization that doesn't know of Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat? I seriously doubt it. Writing under the pen name of Lewis Carroll, Dodgson's quirky fairytale soon became a publishing sensation in Victorian England, quite an unusual feat for a dour mathematician who had no interest whatsoever in boys, women or most other human beings, and instead lavishing his attention on little girls - particularly one Alice Liddell, to whom he presented the original manuscript to. The story of Lewis Carroll is just as fascinating as his fictional Alice, so I would suggest following up the "Alice" books with a good Carroll biography.

In a story that is so random (basically made up of one little girl wandering about in a dream) there is plenty of room for all sorts of crazy theories as to exactly what everything means. Does "Alice" have a deep subtext, filled with hidden meaning and messages? Is it Freudian? Elaborate satire? Does it reflect the deep internal frustrations, anxieties and wish-fulfillment of a slightly-disturbed mathematician obsessed with little girls? Or is it simply a series of weird and wonderful events dreamed up for the enjoyment of children? The fact that nobody is really sure *what* to make of this story is probably the reason why it's still published, read and discussed today.

The other reason is its historical value. "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was the first book designed for children that was entirely void of any sort of moral, and instead written solely for pure entertainment purposes. Before "Alice", children were stuck with stories that preached goodliness and virtue, something that Carroll himself pokes fun at during the course of the story, when he refers to "several nice little stories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts, and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had told them." His stories came like an unexpected breath of fresh air amongst Victorian society, and it was little wonder that adults as well as children helped to make "Alice" a bestseller during its day.

Another crucial feature to the tale is Alice herself, often considered the first realistic representation of a child in literature. She's curious, but sometimes a little shy. She's polite, but manners often give way to frustration and temper tantrums. She's intelligent, but not as intelligent as she would like to think she is (relying heavily on an education that often fails her). She often holds her own against the contradictory natures of the people she meets, but more often than not is baffled and belittled by them. She possesses some degree of common sense, but often does some remarkably stupid things. She's likeable, but she's also a bit of a show-off and a snob. In other words, she's the first (and perhaps the best) example of a three-dimensional child character in literature geared toward either children *or* adults.

"Alice in Wonderland" begins with the infamous sight of a white rabbit with a waistcoat and pocket-watch muttering to himself: "I'm late! I'm late!" Abandoning her sister and the dull book that she's reading, Alice follows the rabbit down a rabbit hole and unexpectedly finds herself drifting deep down underground. What follows is a series of weird and wonderful meetings with the likes of the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat and the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle, as poor Alice - the only sane person in the madhouse - struggles to make herself heard against this twisted parody of the adult world.

Nearly every page contains a clever pun, nonsensical poem or mathematical puzzle, and there's plenty here to keep you fascinated, whether it be Alice's abrupt shrinking and growing (brought on by eating Wonderland food, and perhaps reflecting Carroll's desire to control the growth of his young protagonist), the beautiful garden that Alice cannot seem to reach (and when she does, she finds it not quite to her liking, perhaps suggesting a reverse-Eden, in which children desiring adulthood soon realize that it's not quite what they expected it to be) or Alice's internal crisis in which she debates whether the surreal circumstances she's found herself in have resulted in her loosing her own identity (I won't even try to open the jar on *that* one!) No wonder scholars can go mad trying to untangle this tale! Even the fact that the story succumbs to the ultimate cliché in fantasy-fiction, the ending that will reward you with an F if you use it in a creative-writing exercise at school (I am of course, referring to the fact that Alice wakes up at the conclusion of the story to find that it was just a dream), doesn't damage the power of Carroll's imaginative force.

Of course, not every child will enjoy the "Alice" stories. What was once vividly imaginative and innovative for a stifled Victorian audience has long since become commonplace in children's fiction, and the randomness with which the adventures take place can often unsettle young listeners (as they certainly did me, as I always felt that Alice was caught inside a nightmare). However, others will delight in the madness that abounds throughout the story, and others still will learn to appreciate the work as they get older. There are hundreds of editions out there, most probably quite as good as the next, but I would encourage buyers to track down an edition with John Tenniel's famous illustrations - you simply cannot read the "Alice" books when they are not accompanied by Tenniel's portrayal of his demure little Alice, with her hooded eyes and large forehead. It would be like reading C. S. Lewis without Pauline Baynes, or Roald Dahl without Quentin Blake. Unthinkable!

1. Once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"


①[vi.] 偷窥;窥视to look at something quickly and secretly, especially through a hole or opening
常用搭配:peep at/into/through/out

He peeped at Mary's diary. 他偷窥玛丽的日记。
The door was ajar and Helen peeped in. 门微开着,海伦向里窥视。
Henry peeped through the window into the kitchen.亨利通过窗户向厨房里看。
②[vi. + ad./prep.] 部分露出;隐现 if something peeps from somewhere, you can just see a small amount of it
常用搭配:peep through/from/out

I could see her toes peeping out from under the sheet. 我看到他的脚趾从单子下露出来。
The moon peeped out from behind the clouds.月亮从云层中隐现。
There are  green shoots peeping up through the soil. 绿芽正破土而出。

 2.   There was nothing so very remarkable in that, nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!"

out of the way
① 人迹罕至的
I'd like to find an out-of-the-way place for a picnic. 我想找个人迹罕至的地方野餐。
It's a great little pub, but a bit out of the way. 它是个很好的酒吧,但是位置有点偏僻。
② (英式英语)奇怪的;不同寻常的unusual or strange
Her taste in music is a bit out-of-the-way.她在音乐上的品味有点奇怪。

3. But when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket and looked at it and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and, burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole, under the hedge. In another moment, down went Alice after it!

① flash across one's mind 在头脑中闪现

② burning with curiosity 充满了好奇

 4.  It was labeled "ORANGE MARMALADE," but, to her great disappointment, it was empty; she did not like to drop the jar, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.

orange marmalade 橘子果酱

5.  There was not a moment to be lost. 一刻也不能迟缓。

6. She tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight, it fitted!


7.  so Alice ventured to taste it, and, finding it very nice (it had a sort of mixed flavor of cherry-tart(樱桃馅饼), custard(奶油蛋羹, 奶油冻), pineapple, roast turkey, toffy(太妃糖) and hot buttered toast, she very soon finished it off.

  (1) venture
① vi. to go somewhere that could be dangerous冒险;涉险地

When darkness fell, he would venture out. 夜幕将临后,他将冒险出去。
She paused before venturing up the steps to the door.在冒险走向门之前,她停了一下。
The child lacks the confidence to venture into libraries. 这孩子不敢进图书馆。


venture into 开拓新业务

Banks are venturing into insurance. 银行正在进入保险业。

venture on/upon 试着做有风险的或无把握的事

I thought I might venture on a new recipe.我想我应当试一下这个新食物配方。
② vt. to say or do something in an uncertain way because you are afraid it is wrong or will seem stupid试探着;斗胆;冒昧地说或做;挑战

venture to do something 偿试着;冒昧做某事

I ventured to ask him what he was writing.我试着问他正在写什么。
venture an opinion/question/word (大胆)提出一个观点/问题/说一句话

If we had more information, it would be easier to venture a firm opinion.
Roy ventured a tentative smile. 罗伊大胆做出了一个试探性的微笑。

venture that 大胆预言;大胆做某事

I ventured that the experiment was not conclusive. 我大胆预言这个实验不是决定性的。

③ finish off完成;吃光



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