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Female Study in Proverbs Around the World

【活动回顾】| 世界谚语中的女性研究
【Review】| Female Study in Proverbs Around the World
时间:11月25日,周日,13:00-14:30
Time: November 25, Sunday, 13:00-14:30
地点:言几又
Venue: Yan Ji You
主题:我们共享什么?
Theme: What do we share?
作家:Mineke Schipper(荷兰)
Writers: Mineke Schipper (The Netherlands)
主持人:胡传吉(中国)
Moderator: Hu Chuanji (China)

第三届中欧国际文学节第七场活动于11月25日13:00-14:30在广州言几又书店举行。活动以“我们共享什么?”为主题,邀请荷兰著名作家Mineke Schnipper与中山大学文学系教授胡传吉共同探讨女性角色在世界谚语中的体现及刻画。
The fourth event of The 3rd EU-China International Literary Festival was held during 13:00-14:30 on December 25 in Yan Ji You Bookstore, Guangzhou. In theme of “What Do We Share?”, the award-winning Dutch writer Mineke Schnipper and Professor Hu Chuanji were invited to discuss female character in worldwide proverbs.

胡传吉教授首先对Mineke Schnipper女士作简要介绍。Mineke Schnipper女士因卓越的学术研究、论文、小说等,蜚声中外。她的作品《别娶大脚女人:世界谚语中的女性》获2005年最佳非虚构小说Eureka奖。这部作品已被译成多国语言,新译本还在不断增加。此外,她的《裸体与穿衣:世界服饰史》及最新作品《权力与无力的演变史》研究自古以来,女性身体被渴求、赞美、利用及滥用的历程及原因。她有四本书被翻译成中文。目前,她是荷兰莱顿大学社会艺术中心的研究学者,同时是其跨文化文学研究的荣誉教授。
In the beginning, Professor Hu Chuanji from Sun Yat-sen University made a brief introduction to Mineke Schnipper. She is a multi-award-winning author of academic books, essays, and novels. For her internationally acclaimed non-fiction book Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from Around the World, she received the Eureka Award in 2005 for best non-fiction book. It has been translated all over the world and new translations continue to appear. Among her other books are Naked or Covered: A History of Dressing and Undressing Around the World, and her latest work A History of Power and Powerlessness, which considers how and why the female body has been desired, admired, used and abused since time immemorial. Four of her books has been translated into Chinese. She is a research scholar at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society and Emeritus Professor of Intercultural Literary Studies at the University of Leiden.

Mineke Schnipper女士向我们讲述了她有趣的经历。她生于六个孩子的家庭,其中五个孩子是男孩,只有她一个女孩。但是,她却认为在她的家庭里男孩和女孩的区别并不明显,都会有自己的渴求和恐惧,因此男女平等思想的种子就在她的心中发芽。
Mineke Schnipper shared her personal experience with the audience. She was born in a family with six children, five of whom were boys. Although she was the only daughter in her family, she didn’t find any inequality between her brother and herself. Instead, she realized that the desire and the fear were beyond gender. Therefore, the seed of equality sprouted in her mind.

她一直保有对世界的好奇心,她学过法国文学、拉丁文、哲学、比较文学等。因此她的第一份工作选择去非洲刚果。她在那生活了6年,一边教书一边做非洲文学研究。当时刚果正在内战,家人也不支持她的选择,但她出于对非洲文化的好奇,毅然决定远走他乡。
She kept the curiosity of the world. She has learned French literature, Latin, philosophy, comparative literature and so on. Her first job was to teach and research in Congo, Africa where there was going through the civil war. it sounded messy, mysterious and even dangerous to her at that time. But the curiosity drove her to live in this unfamiliar land for the next six years.

她最初分析非洲的小说时,发现非洲人与欧洲人之间有着很深的偏见:非洲人和欧洲人都认为对方很懒惰、是惯偷。这是她第一次对分析对比不同地区的文化产生兴趣。”如果你只关注不同点,只能发现不同点”,她说。因此她着力寻找不同地区中不同行文的方式,并从中寻找共通点。
When she started to analyze the African novels, she discovered the stereotype between African and European people – they both considered each other as lazy thieves. That was the first time she developed her interest in comparative literature. “If you only look into the differences, you will only find differences.”, said Mineke. Thus, she managed to look for the different way of creating literature in different areas and summarize the common points.

在非洲口口相传的小说中,她发现了很多谚语。这让她对收集谚语产生了浓厚的兴趣。她发现过去的很多谚语是描写女性的,特别是她们的身体部位、工作、生活、权力等。“男人是食客,女人是食物。”这句谚语给她留下了很深的印象。她收集来自世界各地的谚语,目前已经超过15,000条。“如果你收集的越多,那么就更有益于分析和比较研究。”所以她花了10年时间去写成《别娶大脚女人:世界谚语中的女性》这本书。写的过程很难,她无数次想放弃,但又不舍得已有的成果,所以必须坚持下去。出乎意料的是这书的反响很大,已经译成18个版本,并继续下去。
In the oral novels in Africa, she found out many proverbs, which raised her interest in collecting proverbs. Most of the proverbs were related to women, about their body, work, life, power and so on. “Men are eater while women are foods.” This one left her a great impression. So far, she has already collected 15,000 proverbs. “If you collect more, you’ll have more materials for analysis and study.” So she spent 10 years writing Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from Around the World. The process was full of obstacles. She wanted to give up for a thousand times, but she was reluctant to drop what she had done. Finally she made it and the book gained its reputation beyond her expectation. it has been translated with 18 languages and the translation will go on.

“有些谚语甚至来自你从未听过的地方,但他们都有相通之处,例如人类的繁衍、欲望、恐惧、焦虑等等人类共有的行为和情绪。”她发现在过去,重男轻女的观念很普遍。“十八个漂亮的女儿都比不上一个跛脚的儿子。”女性的社会地位从母系社会后不断被削弱,逐渐成为男性的附属品。女性被迫留在家里相夫教子,男性才能外出打拼。这就是家庭中等级制度的体现。
“Even if these proverbs are from different places that you might never hear of, they share a lot of common things, such as procreation, desire, fear, anxiety and something that could unite us.” She discovered that in the past, son preference was quite popular in many societies. As the saying goes, “Eighteen beautiful daughters are less precious than a limbed son.” The social status of females were lowering down after the matrilineal society. Women were considered as the property of men. Women were pushed inside home and outside the home is man’s field. This was the hierarchy in family.

胡传吉教授从Mineke Schnipper女士的一番话中受益匪浅。她将一个人的成长比喻成一棵树,最开始的扎根是最重要的。Mineke Schnipper女士在非洲待了六年,对于比较文学的研究而言,是个很好的起点。“读书和见识同样重要。成长一定要离开你的出生地,出去看一看,这样你的根才能长大长强长高。她从不同中得到相通性。”
Professor Hu Chuanji was deeply inspired by Mineke Schnipper’s experience and sharing. She compared the growth of a man to the growth of a tree. The beginning procedure is to take a root. Mineke Schnipper’s stay in African for six years took a root in her future study in comparative literature. “We need to have a mind of a wide scope. If you leave your birth place and travel to somewhere else, you can grow stronger.”

胡传吉教授谈到另一个关键词:身份。Mineke Schnipper学术和创作的起点是基于不同文明的考察,产生身份意识。“从身份出发的思维方式一定会回到古典社会等级制度中发出批判。古典社会的命门是等级,现代社会的命门是身份。”身体能帮助不同文明的人找到共同性。
She mentioned another key word – identity. Mineke Schnipper started her study and writing based on the researches on different civilizations. She gradually developed the sense of identity. “The thinking mode from the perspective of identity must criticize in terms of the hierarchy in ancient society. In ancient society, the life of gate was hierarchy, while in modern society, the gate of life is identity.” Identity can help people with different civilizations find commons.

胡传吉教授向Mineke Schnipper女士问了一个有趣的问题:如果从男性的角度看这些谚语,把谚语里的女性变成男性会产生什么效果呢?Mineke Schnipper女士非常喜欢这个问题。她说她曾试过这么做,但会发现,这会导致男性产生失控的恐惧感。
Professor Hu Chuanji asked an interesting question – what if we read these proverbs from male perspective and turn the subjects into men in all of these proverbs. Mineke Schnipper appreciated this question. She said she had tried this advice. But she found it unworkable. “The reason of all this is the fear of losing control”.

最后,胡传吉教授鼓励台下的学生读者们说:“大学阶段要去寻找自己的天赋所在,让自己成长为一个强大的人。” Mineke Schnipper女士也同样用一句来自西藏的谚语鼓励大家:“一百个男性和一百个女性的美德塑造一个完美的人。”
Finally, Professor Hu Chuanji encouraged students by saying, “In college, you have to find your talent and become a powerful person.” Mineke Schnipper also quoted a Tibetan proverb that “a hundred male and a hundred female qualities make a perfect person.”

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