帕特《文艺复兴》之一 / 张江南 翻译

by 张江南

翻译:帕特《文艺复兴》之一 2013-03-14


By Walter Pater
Sixth Edition


Dedication To C.L.S.


Many attempts have been made by writers on art and poetry to define beauty in the abstract, to express it in the most general terms, to find a universal formula for it. The value of these attempts has most often been in the suggestive and penetrating things said by the way. Such discussions help us very little to enjoy what has been well done in art or poetry, to discriminate between what is more and what is less excellent in them, or to use words like beauty, excellence, art, poetry, with a more precise meaning than they would otherwise have. Beauty, like all other qualities presented to human experience, is relative; and the definition of it becomes unmeaning and useless in proportion to its abstractness. To define beauty, not in the most abstract, but in the most concrete terms possible, to find, not a universal formula for it, but the formula which expresses most adequately this or that special manifestation of it, is the aim of the true student of aesthetics.


"To see the object as in itself it really is," has been justly said to be the aim of all true criticism whatever; and in aesthetic criticism the first step towards seeing one's object as it really is, is to know one's own impression as it really is, to discriminate it, to realise it distinctly. The objects with which aesthetic criticism deals - music, poetry, artistic and accomplished forms of human life - are indeed receptacles of so many powers or forces: they possess, like the products of nature, so many virtues or qualities. What is this song or picture, this engaging personality presented in life or in a book, to ME? What effect does it really produce on me? Does it give me pleasure? and if so, what sort or degree of pleasure? How is my nature modified by its presence, and under its influence? The answers to these questions are the original facts with which the aesthetic critic has to do; and, as in the study of light, of morals, of number, one must realise such primary data for oneself, or not at all. And he who experiences these impressions strongly, and drives directly at the discrimination and analysis of them, has no need to trouble himself with the abstract question what beauty is in itself, or what its exact relation to truth or experience--metaphysical questions, as unprofitable as metaphysical questions elsewhere. He may pass them all by as being, answerable or not, of no interest to him.

所有真正的批评,其目的恰恰在于“看到事物真实的本身” ;在美学批评中,第一步需要看清楚我们的对象之真正所是,弄清白我们的印象之真正所在,辨别清楚,区分明白。美学批评所处理的对象——音乐、诗歌以及具有完整艺术化形式的人类生活是不折不扣包容各种权力或力量的大容器:它们象自然的产物一样拥有如此多的好的品质和性质。在生活或者书本中呈现的与我的个性相关的歌曲或者绘画对我而言意味着什么?它对我产生的真正效果是什么?让我愉悦?那么那是什么样的、什么程度的愉悦?它的出现以及它的影响如何改变了我的本性?这些问题的答案就是美学批评家不得不面对的原初事实;正如对光、对道德、对数的研究一样,人们必须为自己寻找如此基本的事实,否则干脆放弃。那些切身体验过这种感受并直接对其进行区分和分析的人,对诸如美本身是什么或者美与道德、与经验有什么关系之类抽象问题,形而上学问题,毫无伤精费神的必要,在此形而上学的问题和在别处一样,毫无益处,无论这些问题是否有答案,人们都可以对此不屑一顾。

The aesthetic critic, then, regards all the objects with which he has to do, all works of art, and the fairer forms of nature and human life, as powers or forces producing pleasurable sensations, each of a more or less peculiar or unique kind. This influence he feels, and wishes to explain, analysing it and reducing it to its elements. To him, the picture, the landscape, the engaging personality in life or in a book, La Gioconda, the hills of Carrara, Pico of Mirandola, are valuable for their virtues, as we say, in speaking of a herb, a wine, a gem; for the property each has of affecting one with a special, a unique, impression of pleasure. Our education becomes complete in proportion as our susceptibility to these impressions increases in depth and variety. And the function of the aesthetic critic is to distinguish, analyse, and separate from its adjuncts, the virtue by which a picture, a landscape, a fair personality in life or in a book, produces this special impression of beauty or pleasure, to indicate what the source of that impression is, and under what conditions it is experienced. His end is reached when he has disengaged that virtue, and noted it, as a chemist notes some natural element, for himself and others; and the rule for those who would reach this end is stated with great exactness in the words of a recent critic of Sainte-Beuve: - De se borner a connaitre de pres les belles choses, et a s'en nourrir en exquis amateurs, en humanistes accomplis.

于是美学批评家们把他们要面对的所有对象,所有艺术作品、自然与人类生活中美的形式看成是产生愉悦感、或多或少有些特别或者独一无二的权力或者能力。他感受到这一影响,希望解释它,分析它,把它归结为一些要素。对他而言,绘画、风景、生活或者书籍中呈现的个性、《蒙娜•丽莎》、卡拉拉群山 、米兰多拉的皮科 ,正如我们说起一头牛、一瓶葡萄酒、一块宝石一样,是由于其好的品质而价值连城;就其性质而言,每一种都用其独特而且惟一的令人愉悦的印象感染人。随着我们对这些印象有更加深切和细腻的体验,我们的教育也就逐步完成了。美学批评家的职能就是把绘画、风景、生活或书籍里优雅的个性中产生的美的或者令人愉悦的特殊印象的诸种好的品质从其他附带物中分离出来,指出这一印象的根源是什么,在什么条件下会有这一体验。当他为自己也为他人分离出了那一好的品质,并像化学家标记出某种自然元素一样把它标记出来,他的目的就达到了;想要达到这一目的的人应该遵守的规范在近来对圣伯父 的一句批评中用极为精确的话语表述如下:“确认自己对美的事物有直接的认知,并用这些滋养自己,一如敏感的爱好者和功成名就的人文主义者所做的那样。”

What is important, then, is not that the critic should possess a correct abstract definition of beauty for the intellect, but a certain kind of temperament, the power of being deeply moved by the presence of beautiful objects. He will remember always that beauty exists in many forms. To him all periods, types, schools of taste, are in themselves equal. In all ages there have been some excellent workmen, and some excellent work done. The question he asks is always:--In whom did the stir, the genius, the sentiment of the period find itself? where was the receptacle of its refinement, its elevation, its taste? "The ages are all equal," says William Blake, "but genius is always above its age."


2013-03-28 11:27:43