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在监狱里读书

在监狱里读书

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

一个人在监狱里,面对四壁徒墙和终日的孤独,是无聊,焦虑,狂躁,麻木亦或是思考?这篇文章记录了作者在监狱里的四个月零二十天里的阅读经历和思考。

——邓舒丹

👇

在监狱里读书

作者:Kian Tajbakhsh

译者:邓舒丹

校对:崔颖

策划:唐萧&刘蕊

May I take a book with me?”

“我能带本书吗?”
The arresting officer, likely amused by my assumption that detention would last no more than one book, nodded his assent.
逮捕警官点头允许,很可能对我认为拘留期限不会超过看完一本书的时间感到可笑。
The solitary cell was empty except for a blanket on the floor and a copy of the Qur’an. But I was allowed my one book and my glasses. Huddled in the blanket, angled to catch the fluorescent light coming though the small barred window of the thick metal door, I read.
单人牢房空空荡荡的,只有一张毛毯,一本《古兰经》。但我还能带一本书和一副眼镜。挤在毯子里,调整角度让荧光灯的光亮穿过厚铁门上的栅栏小窗能够照见,于是我开始读起书来。
Sometimes it was hard to sleep, the dim light bulb high above always on, nights and days became indistinct. So I read slowly, stretching out the only source of distraction that was a link to home. But it was a bitter source of comfort, for the book I had brought with me was Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, a sad and painful story of our part of the world, which I would rather have finished and put aside quickly.
昏暗的灯泡在高处亮着,昼夜不熄,让人分不清是白日还是黑夜,使得我有时睡不着。为了让这唯一连接着家的消遣得以持续,我慢慢地读书。然而,这也是一种苦涩的安慰,因为我带的是卡勒德•胡塞尼的《追风筝的人》,这本书讲述了一个发生在我们那个世界的故事,悲伤而沉重,而这样的书我宁愿早些读完,早些放在一边。
As it became clear that my stay in Tehran’s Evin Prison would not soon be over, a sense of panic gradually came over me as I struggled to imagine what I would do once my book was finished. I began to dread the prospect of a vast, empty time stretching out toward apparent infinity. In a solitary cell, where physical space is contracted yet time is frighteningly expanded, the imagination runs wild—hope, panic, optimism, panic, hope, fear, resignation, trepidation, equanimity compete and repeat, on and on.
后来得知我将要在德黑兰的埃温监狱待更长时间。当我挣扎着想象看完书后还将做什么时,一阵恐慌从心底蔓延开来。我开始害怕巨大的空虚无穷无尽的向远方延伸。牢房里的物理空间及其有限,而时间却可怕地扩张。想象如脱缰的野马– 希望,焦虑,乐观,又回到焦虑,继而希望复燃,继而又害怕,听天由命,颤抖,平静,这些情绪不断地拼比,此起彼伏,永无宁息之日。
There were other distractions. Several times a day, I would stand submerged under the rushing water of the shower, closing my eyes to become lost in the roar echoing around my skull. I washed my few items of clothing. I cleaned the rough carpeting. I paced to tire myself out. I squished mosquitoes. After some physical exercise, I felt more resolved and calm. But once that mood passed, it was again me and the walls.
一些其它让人转移注意力的事情,比如,每天几次淋浴,我会站在水流下让浑身浸透,闭上双眼,在大脑周围咆哮的水声中忘记一切;清洗几件衣物;打扫粗糙的地毯;来回踱步直到精疲力竭;拍苍蝇。运动后,我感到多一分坚定和平静。但是当这种心绪消散后,就只剩下我和四周的墙。
I tried sitting calmly and meditating as I had been taught to do—seeking to empty the mind—but in particularly maudlin moments hazy images arose of tranquil saints being burned at the stake. After a while, I thought, “This is a waste of time! I can’t keep dread at bay this way, and even if I could I don’t want to empty my mind, I’d rather fill it!” It soon became clear that the best way to focus my mind and emotions was to read, to think.
我坐下努力使自己平静下来进行冥想,就像别人教的那样— 尝试清空思想— 但是在特别伤感的时刻,却模糊地浮现出平静的圣者被绑在火刑柱上焚烧的画面。不久,我想“这是在浪费时间!我不能以这种方式来克服恐惧,即使我能做到什么都不想,但是这不是我想要的,我宁愿用用思想充实大脑”。后来我发现集中精力最好的方式是阅读和思考。
With the pen and paper I was given to prepare for the interrogations, I began taking notes and making a list of books that I would like to read. After a few months of badgering my jailers, I was finally allowed to pass my list of books to my wife, Bahar, during the weekly hourlong visit. She sent me four or five at first—history books and nonfiction, as well as novels, mostly in English, whatever she found lying around in my office at home. They were inspected. Some were allowed. Even a history of the French revolution called The New Regime.
拿着用于准备审问的纸和笔,我开始做笔记,写下我想读的书。在苦苦请求狱卒几个月后,我终于可以在每周一小时的探视期间将书单给我的妻子巴哈尔。她先给我寄了四五本— 历史,纪实文学以及小说,大多数是英文版,任何她在家里的办公室里所能找到的。这些书都要经过检查,其中一些获得阅读许可。甚至一本关于法国革命的历史书《新政权》。
Later, I asked Bahar to request deliveries from Amazon, shipped to my cousin in Paris as retailers wouldn’t deliver to Iran because of the sanctions. He couriered these books to Bahar in Tehran, who, in turn, relayed them to me through the prison system.
由于封锁,零售商不会将书寄到伊朗,后来我让巴哈尔从亚马逊上订购书籍送到巴黎的表兄那儿。他把书寄到德黑兰,巴哈尔再通过监狱系统转交给我。
I began to stack my books in a row on the floor against the far wall (three meters is farther than two!). Quietly, they began to take on the familiar quality of a bookshelf—the various sizes, colors, subjects. I started looking forward to the next book I had yet to read.
我把书放在地上,靠着墙排成一列(三米比两米长多了!)不知不觉中,这些书开始有了书架的感觉— 不同的尺寸,颜色和主题。我开始期待下一本待读的书籍。
And as I stared at the little library, I began to experience a most remarkable change in my perception of time. The more books there were facing me, the more the time ahead of me began to take on a palpable, comprehensible texture. The panic of an immeasurable span of time seemed to reverse itself. Rather than too much, there was too little time ahead. The vast, unfathomable expanse stretching to the horizon began to contract。
注视着这个小小图书馆的时候,我开始体验到自己对时间的感知发生了巨大变化。我所面对的书籍越多,我越感觉时间是可触碰的,可理解的。对时间无穷无尽地恐慌似乎出现反转。时间不是太多,而是太少了。那无边无际,无法测量,延伸至地平线的扩展开始收缩。
As the line of books waiting to be read lengthened before me, every day, every minute became too short. The worst moment of each day—the moment I opened my eyes after waking—was relieved by my eagerness to read. When I saw Bahar, she reacted to my request for a dozen more books by asking, “How long do you expect to stay in there? Will you really read all these books?” Knowing that I might never, in fact, finish all them, I realized then their value to me nonetheless: the more unread books I had in my little library, the better-equipped I was to overcome the helplessness, to manage the passing of each day.
随着要读的书越来越多,每天每分钟都变得无比短暂。我求读若渴,每天最糟糕的时候便是醒来睁开双眼的瞬间,然而却因这份对阅读的热情而得以缓和。当我见到巴哈尔问她再要十多本书时,她的反应是“你估计在那儿呆多久?你真的要读完所有的书吗?”事实上,我可能永远都读不完这些书,但我还是意识到它们的价值:我的小图书馆里未读的书越多,我越能够克服无助感,尽力度过每一天。
I began to sense that fiction was not always suitable. Reading fiction requires keeping one part of the mind free and relaxed to be able to experience the associations alluded to by the narrative. But that open door was also the way in for dread.
我发现小说不总是适合的选择,因为读小说需要大脑保持一定的自由与活力,从而才能体会其中暗示的联系。但是保持这扇门敞开也为恐惧留下道路。
Books also helped open my cell to the world outside. Imagining a worldwide network of booksellers, all in motion to bring a book to me, was exhilarating and reassuring.
书籍同时还打开了狱门,帮助我面向外面的世界。想象全球的书商形成网络,各个忙着给我送书的情景让我非常高兴和欣慰。
I ordered a book by a French writer I had met at the New School for Social Research years before, and reading it made me feel in touch with my former colleagues there. In a footnote, I saw the name of a Polish intellectual I knew, and again I felt more connected. The penciled margin notes in a book given to me years before by a friend took me to the cool hill station in Pakistan where we had last met. If I was thinking of all of them, maybe they were thinking of me. Simply being able to have these unread books appear in my little cell in a growing row expanded space, and contracted time.
多年前我在纽约社会研究新学院遇到一位法国作家,我订购了一本他的书,阅读让我感觉自己和过去的同事重新取得了联系。在注脚里,我看到了一位熟识的波兰学者的名字,这又一次让我感到与他们的连接。多年前一位朋友送了我一本书,里面用铅笔记下的批注让我回到巴基斯坦凉爽的山区小镇,我们上次见面的地方。当我想着他们时,也许他们也正想着我。仅仅有这些不断增长的新书放在房间里就足以使空间延展,时间缩短。
What did I read? Friends sent me Simenon, Hesse, Kazantzakis, Shakespeare, The Mysteries of Udolpho, Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler, Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana andThe Human Factor, Le Carré. After many years on my bookshelf, I finally finished Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy—a sprawling yet homespun novel of manners set in post-independence India. His description of the zenana (harem) as “a limited but complete world” terrified me as an analogy for what my cell-life might become.
我读了哪些书呢?朋友送了我西米农,海塞,莎士比亚,《奥多芙的秘密》,陀思妥耶夫斯基的《赌徒》,格雷•厄姆格林的《哈瓦那特派员》和《人性的因素》以及乐卡雷。搁置在书架上多年,我终于读完了维克拉姆•赛斯的《如意郎君》— 这是一本卷帙浩繁的本土风态小说,背景设在独立后的印度。他将zenana(“闺房”)描绘做一个“封闭但完整的世界”,这让我惊恐地意识到自己的监狱生活也可能变得如此。
I did get through the Qur’an, a challenging text to read, to say the least, especially in one sitting. The writings and speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini over a forty-year period was an eye-opener: I learned that, contrary to the slogans of the reformists—many of whom were also then in prison—who claimed the democratic promises of the 1979 revolution had been hijacked by hardliners, Khomeini had throughout his life remained unwaveringly faithful to his orthodox version of the Islamic republic.
我读了《古兰经》,至少可以说这本书很有挑战,特别是当你一鼓作气,连续着读完。阿亚图拉•霍梅尼在四十年里的写作和演讲令我大开眼界:不同于那些声称1979年革命的民主承诺被强硬派所操纵的改良派宣言—当时也有许多革命者被迫入狱— 霍梅尼终其一生始终忠于传统的伊斯兰共和国。
I also read, believe it or not, books by Fromm and Reich to learn about the authoritarian personality and the fear of freedom. A history of everyday life in Mussolini’s Italy provided some comfort by showing how banal and inefficient fascism could be. Ken Pollack’s praise for the effectiveness of the Iranian security services in The Persian Puzzle was especially surreal to read from within Evin.
不管读者相信与否,我还读了弗洛姆和赖克的书,了解了关于权威性人格和对自由的恐惧。关于在墨索里尼统治下的意大利日常生活史描绘了法西斯主义的陈腐和效率低下,这倒是一点安慰。肯波拉克在《波斯之谜》中赞赏伊朗安保服务高效,让我这个身处埃文监狱的人很不可思议。
That history of the French revolution I read had been recommended by a former colleague in New York only a few months before my arrest—and simply because I was following up on the suggestion made me feel less isolated. On the other hand, it was less than heartening to learn that Napoleon was able to create, in less than a decade, an authoritarian system that coerced and rather methodically administered a nation the size of France. The moral I drew from that? It can be done.
我之所以读法国革命历史,是由于一位前同事的推荐,仅离我的拘留几月之遥,实行他的建议让我不再那么孤立。但是,了解到拿破仑在不到十年的时间里就建立起了专制制度,强迫法国接受,并且有条不紊地管理这样一个大国就相当令人沮丧了。我从中得出的道理?这是可能的。
When possible, I asked that some of the books be sent over to Haleh Esfandiari, a fellow prisoner, who later wrote a memoir of her experience in captivity at Evin, My Prison, My Home. I think she found solace in the books, too.
条件允许的时候,我会要一些书送给狱友黑尔•埃斯芬迪亚里。她后来写了一本关于在埃温监狱经历的回忆录,名为《我的监狱,我的家》。我想她也在书中找到了慰藉。
Unread books are a familiar burden to most in academia (my own background). In my years of liberty, I have seen how poorly and how little most people read, and I am sometimes shocked by the number of intellectuals and academics who complain that they “don’t have time to read” and consequently read superficially, skimming more than they would like to admit.
学术界(我自身的背景)大多数人常认为没有读过的书籍是一项负担。我在外面的时候看见大多数人读书少得可怜,我甚至有时惊奇于有那么多的知识分子和学者报怨“没有时间读书”,从而只是粗浅的读一下,略过的内容多到自己都不好意思承认。
In the cell, I rediscovered the joy—as opposed to the chore—of reading. Over the course of the four and a half months I spent in solitary confinement, I read almost everything I had, cover to cover, slowly, with care. I used the practice of meditation to help me read as an art or a calling, with focus, rather than as a means of mining for information. The primary value of the attentive reading of good books, I came to realize, is to nourish the source of one’s own thoughts, to help these ideas emerge and develop, have them challenged, so as to be able to put together a view of life that could then be embraced.
在狱中,我重新发现了读书的乐趣— 而不是作为一项任务。在单独拘留的四个月零二十天中,我几乎阅读了手上的所有书籍,一页一页慢慢地读,仔细地读。通过冥想我把阅读当做一门艺术,一种召唤,而不是获取信息的一种方式。我逐渐认识到认真读一本好书的基本价值在于滋养一个人的思想,帮助观点的产生和发展,相互挑战,从而形成自己的世界观。
One day, I was standing in the car park in sight of the massive and heavily guarded gate leading out of Evin prison. I had just spent a half-hour visit with Bahar, who was five months pregnant at the time and flushed with the heat. Despite where I was, and the inexorable fact that I must return to my dingy solitary cell, for a fleeting moment I was happy: it was a crisp, bright summer morning in the Tehran foothills and the sun shone. Tall trees, the legacy of a once grand estate in whose grounds the prison had been built, stood around us, incongruously elegant and calm.
一天,在重兵把守,戒备森严的埃温监狱大门口,我站在里面的停车场内。刚刚和巴哈尔会面半个小时,她那时五月怀胎,由于炎热皮肤一片红晕。即使我当时身处那样的环境,即使我必须回到那间肮脏寒酸的牢房,我突然在某一瞬间感到快乐:那是在德兰黑山脚下一个凉爽,明媚的晨夏,阳光和煦。高大的树木,监狱下的土地曾是一座宏伟的庄园,庄园遗留下的建筑矗立四周,有着不太相称的优雅和平静。
Just as Bahar was walking back to our car, she turned, squinting into the sun, suddenly recalling some news she thought that perhaps I would want to have. She spoke with sympathy: “By the way, the American professor we had dinner with and you liked so much, Richard Rorty? He died.” As I trudged away, my sadness was eased by knowing that the world would still have the books he wrote from which I had learned so much.
巴哈尔向我们的车子走去,转身眯起双眼对着阳光,她突然想起我可能想要知道的事情。她同情地说:“顺便说一下,和我们一起吃晚餐的美国教授,你非常喜欢的那位,是叫理查德•罗蒂吗?他去世了。”当我沉重地走回监狱时,想到这个世界还有他写的书并且我从这些书中学到了这么多,我的悲伤轻了几分。
The greatest regret of my imprisonment is that Bahar had to endure those 140 days alone, when she was pregnant with our baby girl, Hasti. I now know that it can be harder for those who are outside, and that by imprisoning one person, many others might as well be shackled with the bonds of their affection. But I don’t regret the time that I spent reading.
入狱最大的遗憾是让巴哈尔独自忍受140个日夜,那时她还怀着我们的小女儿黑斯婷。我现在明白,那些监狱外的亲人可能更加痛苦,因为监禁一个人,爱他(她)的人也被爱所禁锢。但是我从未后悔用于读书的时光。
It is one of the best things we can do with our solitude.
那是我们用孤独所能做的最美好的事。

在监狱里读书

  • 本文原载于 The New York Review of Books

  • 原文链接:

    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/09/06/my-prison-reading/

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