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Hu Shih’s Essay: Reflections on the Sports Meet — modern chinese literature 胡适《我对于运动会的感想》

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◎ 胡 适 Hu Shih









Reflections on the Sports Meet

Hu Shih

After entering an American University, I watched, for the first time, an intercollegiate football match on the campus. Unlike the football we now play in China, American football is a very tough game. Though admission cost as much as two US dollars per person, yet there was a large attendance of several thousand. At each critical moment, the stadium would be echoing with the spectators’ chorus of wild yells for their own athletic heroes. Whenever a player of their side was injured and helped out of the football field, they would also yell by way of saluting and comforting him. At first I just couldn’t get used to the rough play and deafening roar, inwardly calling it an inhuman modern version of the bloody fights of men with men or with wild animals in the arena of the Roman amphitheater.

Among the yelling crowds were not only young boys and girls, but also many hoary-headed old professors. I was very surprised to see my professor of botany, who happened to sit nearby, also shouting frantically.

I went to watch football several times. The third time, however, found me rising to my feet in spite of myself to join my fellow students in cheering like mad.

Can I have been assimilated into the barbarous modern version of the ancient Roman practice? No. The fact is, I gradually threw away the “old-age mentality” that I’d brought with me from China. I became rejuvenated.

Now, after spending five years teaching at Peking University, I’ve been assimilated into the “scholarly dignity” of my students, so that my erstwhile “old-age mentality” has revived by and large.

Today I was very happy to hear that Peking University was about to schedule a sports meet. That reminds me of how twelve years ago I joined the football crowds in giving loud yells. I’m looking forward very eagerly to the new opportunity for me to regain some of my youthful spirit. I hope all my students will be present at the playing field to taste the joy of youthfulness and temporarily leave behind their “scholarly dignity” in the classroom or dormitory.



①“我对于运动会的感想”指“北大运动会”,英译时也省略“北大”:Reflections on the Sports Meet或Thoughts on the Sports Meet。

②“入场券卖每人美金二元”译为admission cost as much as two US dollars per person,其中as much as …的意思是“多达……”。此句也可译为the admission tickets cost as much as two US dollars each。

③“几千人同声喊着本校的‘呼声’以鼓励场中的武士”译为the stadium would be echoing with the spectators’ chorus of wild yells for their own athletic heroes,其中echoing with等于resounding with,作“充满声音”解;chorus of wild yells等于simultaneous wild yells,作“同声狂呼”解;their own athletic heroes也可译为the warriors of their own team。

④“祝贺他”实指“向他致敬”,故译为saluting … him。

⑤“这真是罗马时代的角抵和斗兽的遗风,很不人道的”中的“角抵”又作“角觝”,指人与人的搏斗,“斗兽”指人与野兽的搏斗,两者合译为the bloody fights of men with men or with wild animals,其中bloody是添加成分;“罗马时代”按“古罗马圆形剧场中的竞技场”的意思译为in the arena of the Roman amphitheater;“……的遗风”意即“……的现代形式”,故译为modern version of …。

⑥“我心里更不明白了”未按字面直译,现译为I was very surprised …,意思相同。

⑦“我也不知不觉的站起来”译为rising to my feet in spite of myself,其中成语in spite of myself作“不由自主地”或“不禁”解。

⑧“斯文样子”意即“书生的端庄模样”,故译为scholarly dignity。

⑨“跟着大家大呼大喊”中的“大家”指“观看足球的人群”,故译为football crowds。

⑩“弹去一点‘老态’”也可译为to shed some of my “old-age mentality”。现译to regain some of my youthful spirit,形式不同,意思未变。

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