英美文学选读考题分析(转贴)

在自考的全部专业中,英语本科的淘汰率一直高居“榜首”,同时《英美文学选读》又是整个本科专业的瓶颈课程。我们随机抽取了两刀(40本)试卷进行统计,发现该门课程的通过率大致在12%左右,可能是自考全部课程最低的。绝大部分成绩徘徊在40分到58分之间,大约占了44.7%。我们批改到的最高分大约是82分,成绩相当出色!

一、试卷构成
《英美文学选读》全国卷由四部分组成:第一部分是40分的选择题,每题1分,覆盖面十分广泛。从以往几次试卷来看,该部分主要考核英美文学史,也包括少量选读中的内容,多属于常识性知识,例如今年14题要求辨别If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?的作者;2001年11题要求辨别It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure done with caves of ice.的作者和出处;还有每年必定会有一题考核作品中出现的人物,例如2001年第8题是Sheridan’s The School for Scandal中的人物,今年28题是The Scarlet Letter的人物。由于内容大多属于大纲中的“识记”性知识,不需要多少理解,因此正确率相应比较高。但有时题目的切入点十分灵活比如2001年第6题,需要考生有较好的基本功。
第二部分是四道共16分的阅读理解。考题内容均取自选读部分,一般是两篇诗歌,两篇小说,要求指出:A)作者和作品出处(1分) B)作品中具体某个词或词组的确切意义(1分) C)表述该选段的思想内容(2分)。考生需要认真研读作品,和作品后面的注释,平时做一些读书笔记。
第三部分是四道共24分的简答题,内容的跨越比较大,既有阅读理解部分的延伸,也有某一时期的文学思潮,还有对某一断代史的简论,答对率非常低。
第四部分是两题共20分的问答题。一般是某个重要作家或作品的特色以及对他们的评价。


二、试卷评析

文学术语(俗称的名词解释)是基本的文学常识,是对文学中共性问题的抽象概括,因此对于这些术语不可等闲视之。尽管全国卷没有单列的文学术语考核(省卷的题型可能不同),但是可能糅合在选择题中和第三部分的简答中。比较重要的名词解释有:所有以-ism结尾的名词,各个时期的文学运动,heroic couplet, Gothic novel, Byronic hero, Lost Generation, dramatic monologue, stream of consciousness, metaphysical poets等等,考生可以自己总结。本套试卷中1),26),37)等题目就从不同侧面考核了对术语的了解;其中第1)题考文学题材romance,对于这个题材我们要了解以下要点:流行于中世纪欧洲各国popular literary form in the medieval period;讲述骑士的英雄经历knightly adventures or other heroic deeds;题材往往是英雄救美的故事Romantic love is an important part of the plot.而形式是叙述性韵文narrative verse or prose(P3)。

第2)题答错的比较少,考生一般总会将Chaucer和The Canterbury Tales联系起来。尽管教材中没有出现中古时期的文学选读,但是这两个时期的文学发展脉络必须十分清晰,该题目早在2001年就出现过。另外的三部作品都是中世纪的重要作品,其中Piers Plowman的作者 William Langland是当时十分具有现实主义的作家;Sir Gawain and the Green Knight是用英国北部方言书写的,压头韵,作者至今是个谜 ; Confessio Amantis(《一个情人的忏悔》)的作者是John Gower。

4)题考核了莎士比亚Sonnet 18的主题思想,该十四行诗着重描写友人的美貌,同时说明诗歌能使人的美丽横古常新,因此我们可以排除A,B和D。由于此首诗歌十分重要,我们需要补充几个注释:1)sometime: 在莎翁时代等于sometimes;2)fair from fair:第一个fair是beautiful thing,第二个fair等于抽象名词beauty;3)最后一行的this指my poetry;life意immortality。

6)也是莎士比亚的作品,有许多人判断错误。本段的内容并没有什么难度,不需要上下文就可以判断,其中第二行的Which相当于Who, 这是莎翁英语和现代英语不同的地方;最后一行的by理解为present。Bass的话只是在做陈述,而 Portia的回答才是关键,可以判断出带有“讽刺”意味。

7)的答案是B,错误的考生比较多,关键是考生没有熟悉这首诗歌。“玄学”派诗歌往往有“声东击西”的特点,正如教材所述:It begins with a certain idea but ends in quite a contrary one(P66). The Sun Rising一诗分为三个部分,In Stanza 1 the lover addresses the sun directly, as a “busy old fool”, and asks why it bothers to shine in on him and his love, who will not be pressured by its time keeping. In Stanza 2, the poet uses hyperbolic extension to dispose of space and asks the sun to agree his love is better than all treasure. Stanza 3 extends the hyperbolic comparison even further to praise this lady ---“she is all States, and all Princes”.

8)菲尔丁在文学中的地位越来越重要,原因是近年来国内外叙事学研究的进一步深入。Fielding是一个时代的开始,在他之前英国文学的题材主要是按以下方式发展的:古民谣ballad, 传奇文学romance, 叙事诗narrative poem, 散文essay和戏剧 play。一直到了十八世纪,英国才出现“小说”novel这一新的文学题材。对这一题材做出贡献的有教材中的Daniel Defore, Henry Fielding以及Samuel Richardson,因此教材中注明菲尔丁是Father of the English Novel(p.121);同时比较重要的还有1)菲尔丁四部小说的名称以及大致的内容2)comic epic in prose 3)the third person narration。

9)考核Swift的内容,关于该作家可以提及的有:1)有关“风格”的定义 proper words in proper places 2)作为讽刺名篇的A Modest Proposal 3)Gulliver’s Travels中的四个场景Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Flying Island和 Houyhnhnm;这四个场景不需要记忆,只需要识别,2001年试卷的6)题就考到了最后一个场景中的Yahoo。

12)Wordsworth在英国文学史中是一个举足轻重的人物。首先,浪漫主义和古典主义的分水岭就是他的那篇Lyrical Ballads,其次,在1800年的版本中,他发表了Prelude,阐述自己对诗歌的见解,吹响了浪漫主义的号角manifesto,其中他认为诗歌是the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings ,which originates in emotion recollected in tranquillity(P161)。教材的179页的最后两段就是他的文学主张,故该题的D是有悖于浪漫主义的。对于Wordsworth的四篇作品我们必须认真研读。浪漫主义诗人对“诗”的不同理解,以及nature和imagination在诗歌中的作用都是该时期的重点。

13)Keats的两首颠峰之作 Ode to a Nightingale和Ode on a Grecian Urn要求考生非常熟悉,尤其是诗歌的主题思想(即下面15题)。济慈挚爱一切自然和美的事物,曾说过:A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.而Beauty is truth, truth beauty.更是他的名chard Sheridan ,错误的原因在于考生只留意试题中的since Shakespear而没有考虑后面出现的social criticism,因为“社会批判”是在十九世纪末开始的,而非谢立丹的十八世纪;C)Oscar Wilde虽然也是十九世纪的剧作家,但是他与“社会批判”还有一定的距离,许多人可能记得他的唯美主义名言art for art’s sake,因此可以排除他。正确的答案在教材的318页。

22)Modernism现代主义是本教材的又一个重点内容,尽管作品通常比较晦涩难懂,但是现代主义的基本特色还是清晰的。首先,它的理论基础是irrational philosophy and the theory of psycho-analysis;其次,主题和内容是distorted, alienated and ill relationships between man and nature, man and society, man and man, and man and himself.这就是C的内容;再次,现代派作家侧重描写个人的内心活动和主观世界即concentrate more on the private than on the public, more on the subjective than on the objective 也就是备选项A的内容,其中A中的介词over应理解为“而非、不是”的意思。最后,现代派作品更加注重形式和技巧的革新,反对一切形式的理性主义,和现实主义彻底决裂;它们打破了传统文学中的时空观,强调psychic time;宣扬屏弃一切文学的基本要素例如story, character, plot and chronological narration,因此他们的作品又被成为“反小说”,“反诗歌”等,D)表达了这个意思。只有B是试题要求的答案。

25)题的答案在书的407页,文选部分的上方:Irving’s pervasive theme of nostalgia for the unrecoverable past is at once made unforgettable.和A的内容相似。其中C、D可以马上排除,因为教材406页已经说明:We seldom learn a moral lesson because he wants us amused and relaxed.有关Irving的内容需要和英国文学中Marlowe的作品一同记忆。前者的两部作品Rip Van Winkle和The Legend of Sleepy Hollow尽管被称为Spanish Sketch Book,但是他的创作灵感来自于German legends,恰好和后者的戏剧Dr. Faustus一样。

28)Nathaniel Hawthorne是近几十年来美国文学研究的热点之一,也是一个较有争议的作家,爱默生曾说他的小说“一无用处”。然而该作家给我们提供了广阔的研究空间,在以后的几次考试中很有可能出成大题。教材中的以下内容要注意:

霍桑特别关注人类的interior of the heart,他把现实社会中的许多问题归结为“人类的罪恶天性”,努力去探索人们心中“恶”便成了他作品的主题,他说There is evil in every human heart, which may remain latent, perhaps, through the whole life; but circumstances may rouse it to activity.而“恶”的一个来源,按他的看法就是自作聪明的知识分子overreaching intellect(2001年试卷35题);他揭示的手段往往是寓言式的,使用多种象征手法,例如《红字》A就有多种意义,而里面的Pearl就是该书最大的主题象征。
考生反映说,考题前三个人物Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth教材上没有,属于超纲内容。但是考生只要记住Pearl就可以做出正确的推断。

32)的答案在书500页的页端。对于这个作家我们必须扩展起来。为了教学的方便,美国现实主义文学的三巨头Howells, James 和Twain(见考题30)我们经常相提并论,但是他们之间却有许多不同(见书PP474-475),考生要自己整理成文。尽管其他两位作家时常嘲讽欧洲风情,但H.James却是欧洲古老文明的崇拜和捍卫者an admirer of ancient European civilization,原因是多方面的,一是他的家庭不同于其他作家,他的祖父是美国最富有的人之一,使James具有接受高等教育的可能;他的父亲和欧洲的许多名流交往,特别是他的弟弟威廉更是著名的实用主义哲学家,提出了“意识流”理论,因此James的作品语言晦涩,对读者的要求比较高,正如教材所述He is often highly refined and insightful.二是他经常来往于新、旧两个大陆,所以他的作品主题与其他作家不同:James’ fame generally rests upon his novels and stories with the international theme. These novels are always set against a larger international background, usually between Europe and America…(见书497页)。还有James同时也是一位批评家,著有The Art of Fiction一书,他对文学批评做出的贡献有:1)forerunner of stream of consciousness 2)founder of psychological realism 3)point of view(请与Fielding的the third person narration结合记忆)。

34)Emily Dickinson和Whitman同是美国诗歌的两座高峰,她的短诗集中体现了对death, nature, immortality, love和religion的思索(见2001年40题),而所有这些都是诗人个人的世界,没有涉及更广阔的范围,因此D)War and peace是不对的。Dickinson的诗歌特点:一、没有标题。二、多破折号(dashes)作为诗歌节奏的手段,多大写字母(capital letters)用于强调。

第一部分的全部答案如下:

1) B 2)D 3)C 4)C 5)D 6)A 7)B 8)B
9) A 10)C 11)D 12)D 13)D 14)D 15)B 16)B
17)D 18)C 19)A 20)A 21)D 22)B 23)B 24)A
25)A 26)C 27)B 28)A 29)C 30)C 31)C 32)D
33)C 34)D 35)D 36)A 37)A 38)A 39)C 40)B

第二部分的答案如下:
41
A. John Galsworthy: The Man of Property
B. A face does not show any emotion or reaction so that it is impossible to know how that person is feeling or what he is thinking about.
C. It presents the inner mind of Soames in face of his wife’s coldness. He can never know what is on his wife’s mind because the makeup of his and her mentality is different. His wife Irene, whose mind is romantically inclined, is disgusted with her husband’s possessiveness. Being unable to read his wife’s mind is as good as saying that he really can’t regard her as his property---this is the very reason why he is enraged beyond measure.

42.
A. T.S.Eliot: The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock
B. The ends of cigarettes, meaning trivial things here.
C. Here, Prufrock’s inability to do anything against the society he is in it made strikingly clear by using a sharp comparison. Prufrock imagines himself as a kind of insect pinned on the wall and struggling in vain to get free. This image vividly shows Prufrock’s current predicament.


43
A. Wahington Irving : Rip Van Winkle
B. The social environment is changed
C. When Rip is back home after a period of 20 years, he finds that everything has


changed. All those old values are gone, and he can hardly feel at home in a changed society. One of the functions that Rip serves in the story is to provide a measuring stick for change. It is through him that Irving drives home the theme that a desire for change, improvement, and progress could subvert a stable society.

44
A. Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken
B. Many many years later.
C. The speaker is telling his experience of making the choice of the roads. But he is conscious of the fact that his choice will have made all the difference in hislife. He seems to be giving a suggestion to the reader: “Make good choice of your life.”


以上A,B各1分,C部分2分。

第三部分
45 A. Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Spenser’s The Faerie Queene
B. It is usually concerned with moral, religious, political, symbolic or mythical ideas.
说明:仅A点全对的就很少。不过有些考生答了Moby Dick, Scarlet Letter, Young Goodman Brown,Gulliver’s Travels都是正确的,但是Paradise Lost不属于寓言。判断寓言其中第一个标准看它是否有两层意义:An allegory refers to a story or visual image with a second distinct meaning partially hidden behind its literal or visible meaning. In written form, allegory involves a continuous parallel between two levels of meaning.后一部分只要谈到moral, religious, political就可以了。


46A. The French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau and the German writer Johan Wolfgang von Goethe.
B. It is Rousseau who established the cult of the individual and championed the


freedom of the human spirit; his famous announcement was “I felt before I thought.” Goethe and his compatriots extolled the romantic spirit.
说明:本题考核的内容明显超纲了,只有一位考生几乎全对,三位考生大致正确。教材中只提到了卢梭,而没有歌德的内容,从世界文学的范围来看,提到浪漫主义,首先想到卢梭(1712-1778),在他的作品《新爱洛漪丝》中,对自然、情感和自我的颂扬,以及宣扬的感情至上,都为19世纪的浪漫主义作家所继承,因此是浪漫主义的先驱。紧接着德国的狂飙突进运动The Storm and Stress Movement为整个欧洲的浪漫主义开辟了道路,在这个运动中起重要作用的是Goethe(1749-1832)和Schiller(1759-1805),而前者的作品就是著名的《少年维特之烦恼》。绝大部分考生都写了Wordsworth,Coleridge,Byron等,这些都是leading writers而不是great shapers of thought。
以上两题A点2分,B点4分。

47
A. To Ahab, the whale is either an evil creature itself or the agent of an evil force that controls the universe, or perhaps both.
B. To Ishmael, the whale is an astonishing force, an immense power, which defies rational explanation due to a sense of mystery it carries. It is beautiful, but malignant at the same time. It also represents the tremendous organic vitality of the universe, for it has a life force that surges onward irresistibly, impervious to the desires or wills of men.
C. As to the reader, the whale can be viewed as a symbol of the physical limits that life imposes upon man. It may also be regarded as a symbol of nature, or an instrument of God’s vengeance upon evil man. In general, the multiplicity and ambivalence of the symbolic meaning of the whale is such that it becomes a source of intense speculation, an object of profound curiosity for the reader.
说明:一般来将考生只要按三点分别讲述就可以了,不必像答案这么全面。但是许多同学只谈了一个方面,是不够的。


48
A. The Oversoul is believed to be an all-pervading power for goodness, omnipresent and omnipotent from which all things come and of which all are a part. It exists in nature and man alike and constitutes the chief element of the universe.
B. According to Emerson, it is a supreme reality of mind, a spiritual unity of all beings, and a religion regarded as an emotional communication between an individual soul and the universal Over-soul of which it is a part.
C. He holds that intuition is a more certain way of knowing than reason and that the mind could intuitively perceive the existence of the Oversoul and of certain absolutes.
说明:以上两题每点3分,最高不超过6分。

第四部分:49题
A. Neo-classicists upheld that artistic ideals should be order, logic, restrained emotion and accuracy, and that literature should be judged in terms of its service to humanity, and thus, literary expressions should be of proportion, unity, harmony and grace. Pope’s An Essay on Criticism advocates grace, wit, and simplicity in language; Fielding’s Tom Jones helped establish the form of novel; Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard displays elegance in style, unified structure, serious tone and moral instruction.
B. Romanticists tended to see the individual as the very center of all experience, including art, and thus, literary work should be “ spontaneous overflow of strong feelings,” and no matter how fragmentary those experiences were(Wordsworth’s “ I Wandered as a Cloud,” or “The Solitary Reaper,” or Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”), the value of the work lied in the accuracy of presenting those unique feelings and particular attitudes.
C. In a word, Neo-classicism emphasized rationality and form but Romanticism attached great importance to the individual’s mind(emotion, imagination, temporary experience…)


50题
A. Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The story takes place along the Mississippi River before the Civil War in the United States, around 1850
Along the river, floats a small raft, with two people on it: One is an ignorant, uneducated Black slave named Jim and the other is a little uneducated outcast white boy about the age of thirteen, called Huckleberry Finn or Huck Finn.
The novel relates the story of the escape of Jim from slavery and, more important, how Huck Finn, floating along with Jim and helping him as much as he could, changes his mind, his prejudice, about Black people, and comes to accept Jim as a man and as a close friend as well.
During their journey,they experience a series of adventures: coming across two frauds, the “Duke” and the “King”, witnessing the lynching and murder of a harmless drunkard, being lost in a fog and finally Tom’s coming to rescue.
B.The theme of the novel may be best summed in a word “freedom”: Huck wants to escape from the bond of civilization and Jim wants to escape from the yoke of slavery. Mark Twain uses the raft’s journey down the Mississippi River to express his thematic contrasts between innocence and experience, nature and culture, wilderness and civilization.
以上A、B各5分。需要注意的是答案仅是参考,考生无须完全按照答案要求,只要能够有理有据,自圆其说就可以有高分。

三、 学习方法

经过我们的教学观察,《英美文学选读》学习过程中暴露出来的问题有:
1) 教材不便于自学。许多考生反映,如果没有经验十分丰富的教师指导,自学只能停留在教材的前30-40页,无法继续下去。书中的古代诗歌占了相当的比重,然而古诗词的注解太少,考生对中古英语的句法和诗歌的基本特征不了解(例如2000年41题涉及“格”和“音步”问题),相当的词汇在一般词

典上查不到,学生看不懂,甚至部分教师也不明白,例如The Faerie Queene中 Upon a great adventure he was bond(P16)中bond的意思不明确; Enforst to seeke some covert nigh at hand(P18)enforst字典上查不到。其实在当时的英语中前者相当于bound,后者是 enforced的变体。莎士比亚的《威尼斯商人》有一句Not on thy sole but on thy soul, harsh Jew/ Thou mak’st thy knife keen.(2000年19题),为什么答案说是双关的修辞手法?书上却没有答案!关键在于sole和soul谐音,前者是指在“鞋底”,后者说是在“心头”磨刀,暗指心比石头还坚硬。所有这些都对自考学生带来了许多阻碍,尤其是偏远地区的考生,他们一无参考资料,二无教师请教,苦难相当大。
但是另一方面,考生的学习指导思想还停留在大专的方式上,希望教材能提供一切,这是十分错误的。本科段的大纲要求我们在这个阶段要培养:具有从事科学研究的初步能力。也就是说我们要善于自己发现问题和解决问题。我们要学会充分使用图书馆和各种工具书,我们列举一些参考书供大家选择:
1)陈嘉 《英国文学史》四册 商务印书馆
2) 陈嘉 《英国文学作品选读》三册 商务印书馆
3) 杨岂深 《英国文学选读》三册 上海译文出版社
4) 杨岂深 《美国文学选读》三册 上海译文出版社
5) 裘克安 《莎士比亚注释丛书》 商务印书馆
6) 王佐良 《英国文学名篇选注》 商务印书馆
7) 王佐良 《英国诗选》 上海译文出版社
8) 辜正坤 《英文名篇鉴赏金库诗歌卷》 天津人民出版社
9) 刘炳善 〈〈简明英国文学史〉〉 河南人民出版社


二、学校、考生的课程安排不科学。一些社会助学单位由于不了解英语专业的特点,往往在课程的安排上简单地从开考计划出发,安排课程设置,例如在四月份的课程刚结束,就进入《英美文学选读》的学习,希望在当年的十月份进行考试,学习的时间仅仅只有五个多月;还有相当的考生是从其他专业转报的,英语的基本功薄弱,他们从本科的第一学期就开始学该门课程,固守着专科的学习方式来看待本科的课程学习,同样是非常错误的。
《英美文学选读》属于高年级课程。在全日制高校中,一般是三、四年级的两年

时间里学完。对于自考生来将,我们建议大家先学《高级英语》,《英语词汇学》和《英语语法》,同时穿插其他的课程,例如《翻译》、《写作》和《英美文学选读》,但是考试最好安排在稍后的时间,目的是让考生先流利地掌握一些语言点,这些内容和基本功对文学的欣赏会起一定的促进作用。

三、学习方法过于僵化。从第一部分的试卷构成可以看出,复习的时候绝对不能搞什么单??的基础上再研读重点作家的作品。文学史的部分和选读的部分同等重要,不可偏废;考生可以先从“史”出发,以点带面,将作家串联起来。当教材进入“浪漫主义时期”之后,英国文学可以美国文学齐头并进,要求同学进行横向比较,例如要求同学自己整理英国浪漫主义和美国浪漫主义的“异”与“同”,美国现代主义和英国现代主义的联系。如此一来,学生产生了兴趣,也牢固记忆了各时期的作家。培养在熟读的基础上打破时间的界限,进行横向和纵向的对比的能力,学会自己进行罗列和总结。每一个时期的文学导言十分重要,也是考核的重点。