我读村上春树的《挪威的森林》已是8年前的事了吧。书的内容已经基本上记不得了。记得的只有当时在哈工大的寝室里几个穿着裤衩背心儿的大老爷们将其视为经典,相互传看的情景。

就我个人而言,书里所谓的对人,性,和人性的探讨以及对人成长中所感受到的孤独与无助的描写对我并没有太大的吸引力,倒是里面的对性的描写成为我坚持把书看完的动力。不知道当时寝室里的哥们儿要是知道我是这种人,会不会对我的人格和品位嗤之以鼻,虽然在书传到我手里时中间有激情场景的那几页纸上面的不知是菜汤还是口水还是其他什么液体留下的痕迹告诉我,我跟他们之间的友谊还是很稳固的。

当然现在提起这些并不是想追忆龌龊的年轻时光,而是因为关于这本书的迷惑了我多年的一个问题。那就是书的名字。

如我所说,书的内容我已经记不太清了,但是隐约记得里面提到甲壳虫乐队和他们的这首所谓的“挪威的森林”。也记得当时花了好大一番工夫去找这首歌,也因此对甲壳虫和列侬产生了不小的兴趣。但是,当时虽然对英语的兴趣跟现在比有过之而无不及,但水平却不能与今天相比,而且主要是当时根本没有对事情刨根问底的钻研劲儿,所以真正产生怀疑还是最近几年的事。

那么这个题目到底有什么问题呢?

它的问题就是:根本就是个错误的翻译!

甲壳虫的歌的歌名是 Norwegian Wood。暂且不用看歌词,单看题目这两个词,Norwegian是挪威没错,但是wood这个词,在单数的时候一般指木材,即使复数的时候,最好的翻译也是树林而不是森林。当然在极少数的情况下单数也可以表示树林,但是很少见。那么列侬写歌时的本意是什么呢?看看歌词便清楚了:

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me…
She showed me her room, isn’t it good, Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.

I sat on a rug,  drinking her wine, biding my time,
We talked until two and then she said, “It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, Norwegian wood.

简单的翻译一下:

我曾拥有,一个女孩,或许该说,她拥有了我

她带我去,她的房间,说也不赖,挪威的木材

她请我留下,并让我随意

我环顾四周,没找到座椅

我找块地毯,坐下喝酒,伺机将就

谈话到两点,她对我道,起来睡觉

她说要起早上班并开始发笑

我说我不,便爬进浴盆睡觉

当我醒来,独自发呆,鸟儿已不在

于是放火,说也不赖,挪威的木材

点这里下载 (右键–另存为)

我的翻译有些地方有些牵强,但是挪威的木材或者说挪威的木头是按作者原意翻译的。列侬自己说这首歌的灵感来自他当时的一段婚外情:

Lennon said of the song: “I was trying to write about an affair, so it was very gobbledegooky. I was trying to write about an affair without letting my wife know I was having one. I was sort of writing from my experiences … girls’ flats, things like that.”

列侬提到这首歌时说:“我当时想写一段婚外情,所以言辞含混。想写的同时又不想让我妻子知道我有婚外情。我基本上写的都是自己的亲身经历,女孩子的房间之类的。”

He also said:

“Norwegian Wood” is my song completely. It was about an affair I was having. I was very careful and paranoid because I didn’t want my wife, Cyn, to know that there really was something going on outside of the household. I’d always had some kind of affairs going on, so I was trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair … but in such a smoke-screen way that you couldn’t tell. But I can’t remember any specific woman it had to do with.

他还说:“‘挪威的木材’完全是我自己的歌。它讲的是我当时的一段婚外情。我当时又小心又多疑,因为我不想让我妻子Cyn知道我在外面真的有事。我那个时候总是拈花惹草的,所以写的时候总是得老练一点。。。但是放很多烟雾使人看不出来。但我不记得是跟某个特定的女人有关。”

而麦卡特尼在一次访谈中揭示了歌词的真正含义:

Peter Asher [brother of McCartney’s then-girlfriend Jane Asher] had just done his room out in wood, and a lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian wood. It was pine, really, just cheap pine. But it’s not as good a title, is it, “Cheap Pine”? It was a little parody, really, on those kind of girls who, when you’d get back to their flat, there would be a lot of Norwegian wood. It was completely imaginary from my point of view, but not from John’s. It was based on an affair he had. She made him sleep in the bath and then, finally, in the last verse, I had this idea to set the Norwegian wood on fire as a revenge. She led him on and said, “You’d better sleep in the bath.” And in our world, that meant the guy having some sort of revenge, so it meant burning the place down.…

Peter Asher[麦卡特尼当时的女朋友Jane Asher的哥哥]那时刚把他的房间用木料装修过,那个时候很多人都用木头装修。挪威木。其实就是松木,便宜的松木。但是不能用这个做歌名不是?“便宜的松木”?当时有点恶搞的意思。恶搞那些你跟她回家,一看全是挪威木的那些女孩儿。当时对我来说完全是想象出来的,但是对John不是。这歌是以他的真实经历为蓝本的。她让他睡在浴室里,然后等到最后一段的时候,我想出个主意就是把这些挪威木烧了,作为报复。她一路挑逗她,最后却说你还是在浴室里睡吧。这在我们看来意味着男的必须得报复她一下,所以也就意味着把房子烧了。。。

我不知道这首歌的歌名对村上春树的书的整体有什么影响,更不晓得这首歌当时给他何种的联想,但是如果他想到的是挪威的森林,不管是浪漫还是迷茫,或是神秘而不可测,那他引用这首歌恐怕就完全误解了它的原意了。当然因为我已经记不得书的内容到底是怎么样的,或者里面到底是在什么情形下提到这首歌,甚至会不会是错误发生在由日文翻译成中文的时候都不知道,所以我也不敢妄下结论。只是想说有些时候一点点的质疑和调查,可以免去很多不必要的麻烦,当然也可能谋杀一点利润,但是应该也比道听入说,误人子弟强的多吧。

附带一首我比较喜欢的Julia,以飨读者。

[更新]:刚刚又查了一下。wikipedia上面关于这本书的那页上有提到这个问题。看来果然是日文版本身用的就是森林这个翻译。不过好像是说这首歌的日文的标准翻译就是“挪威的森林”。嗯。。。看来不是作者或者译者的错,是原来翻歌的人的错。

The novel’s title

The original Japanese title Noruwei no Mori, is the standard Japanese translation of the title of The Beatles song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.[9] The song is often mentioned in the novel, and is the favourite song of the character Naoko. Moriin the Japanese title translates into English as “forest”, not the material “wood”, even though the song lyrics clearly refer to the latter. This seemingly odd translation is based on the official translation of the song’s title. Forest settings and imagery are also significantly present in the novel.

小说的标题

原版的日文标题Noruwei no Mori 是由甲壳虫乐队的约翰列侬和保罗麦卡特尼写的这首“Norwegian Wood” 的日文标准翻译的标题。书中经常会提到这首歌。而它也是书中角色直子最喜欢的歌。日文标题中的mori翻译成英文是“forest”,而不是作为材料的“wood”,虽然歌词明显的是指后者。这个看起来很奇怪的翻译是以这首歌的官方翻译为蓝本的。森林的场景画面也是小说中很重要的一部分。

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