第44回 被災者の皆様にお見舞い申し上げます


『Pride and Prejudice and Zombies』
(Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

さて、今月の1冊目。翻訳が出ているものですが、面白いので正確には2冊ご紹介。一つ目は、Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smithの「Pride and Prejudice and Zombies」。どういうわけかゾンビというのは向こうで恐ろしく人気があります。これは100万部を超えるヒットになってしまったジェーン・オースティンの名著、「高慢と偏見」にゾンビを足し込んだパロディー小説です。主人公のベネット姉妹は、英国の田舎町でゾンビを掃討するべく、訓練に励んでいます。そこに高慢と思われるダーシーさんがやってきて、次女のエリザベスは……という展開。「高慢と偏見」を読んでから、こちらを読むと楽しさ倍増。文章はこんな感じ。

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead.


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.



『The Mysterious Benedict Society』
(Trenton Lee Stewart)

The Mysterious Benedict Society

2冊目は、もともとYAだと思いますが、Trenton Lee Stewartの書いた「The Mysterious Benedict Society」。こちらも翻訳が出ていますが、シリーズで数冊既に発売になっています。今回は1冊目をご紹介しますが、とりあえず翻訳を読んでから、まだ未訳の第2巻以降を読む手もあり。平たくいうと、新聞で子供たちに不思議な試験の募集がかかります。(この試験自体がなかなか楽しい。)数十人が試験を受けますが、合格するのは4人だけ。そしてその4人を待ち受けている運命は。みたいな内容。こちらの書き出しはこんな感じ。

In a city called Stonetown, near a port called Stonetown Harbor, a boy named Reynie Muldoon was preparing to an important test. It was the second test of the day — the first had been in an office across town. After that one he was told to come here, to the Monk building on Third Street, and to bring nothing but a single pencil and a single rubber eraser, and to arrive no later than one o’clock. If he happened to be late, or bring two pencils, or forget his eraser, or in any other way deviate from the instructions, he would not be allowed to take the test, and that would be that.



『Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation』
(David Rohl)

Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation

今月の3冊目。そしてご期待通り、課題文ともなる本は、未訳です。David Rohlの「Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation」。この作者は、いま英国の考古学、特にエジプト学の権威なのですが、実はもともとロック畑の人です。Barclay James Harvestというグループの手伝いをしたり、Mandarabandというグループで2枚のアルバムを出したりしています。その後、もう一つの関心の種であった、エジプト学の方に進み、いまでは数多くの著書を残しています。(http://www.davidrohl.com/)この手のロック関係者では、元Henry CowのGeorgiana Bornがいまオックスフォードで教えています。(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgina_Born


The cold grey of the pre-dawn still enveloped the vast, sandy plain as I clambered, half asleep, from the tent. It had been a cold night and the air felt damp to the touch. The sandy dune, upon which our desert expedition base-camp had been established, sloped away to the north-east. Fifty metres below it merged imperceptibly into the floor of the Wadi el-Kash, stretching out towards the dark horizon of the surrounding mountain peaks.

結構、詩的でしょ? 本文はこんな感じ。

Chapter One
In Search of Eden

Legendary material need not necessarily be dismissed out of hand simply because it is ‘fantastical’ or miraculous’. We cannot expect ancient Man to have composed a factual history in the way we would require of a modern historian writing, for instance, about the origins of the First World War. In trying to understand events from the distant past, we should not attempt to impose our twentieth-century expectations on the ancient story-tellers. Their ancestral history was a legendary past structured around the deeds of gods and deified heroes; a world of DRAGONS and DEMONS; a time of miracles and divine intervention. Scholars refer to this material as ‘epic literature’ – a useful term which serves to separate these sagas from contemporary records and inscriptions which, by their very nature, ought to be more reliable historical sources.


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