Bridge across the Bosporus

MORE than 80 years after being ★supplanted[1] by the Turkish republic, the Ottoman empire will not die. Bloodshed in the Balkans; Arab and Kurdish nationalism across the Middle East; ★Turcophobia[2] in Armenia; (1)all are echoes of a dynasty that survived for 600 years▲ and whose dominions e____ ① ____ from the Danube through the Levant to Algiers. Few historians have dared compress the story of this extraordinary enterprise into a single volume. “Osman's Dream” shows why.


Osman led one of several Turcoman tribes, of Central Asian descent, that were competing for control of Anatolia at the beginning of the 14th century. (The dream in question was interpreted to mean that Osman would found an imperial house; (2)“Ottoman” is the European corruption of his name▲). By the mid-16th century, Osman's descendants had killed off the Byzantine Empire and t____ ② ____ its capital, Constantinople (renamed Istanbul), into the world's greatest mosque city. They also had control of the Muslim holy places, Mecca and Medina, in Arabia.

The empire's expansion was driven in part by Islamic notions of a just war against the ★infidel[3], but the Ottomans were also notable for their relative tolerance. Jews fleeing the ★Spanish inquisition[4] were welcomed to Istanbul. Christian converts became key figures in the bureaucracy, armed forces and the ★harem[5]. Even at the empire's peak, however, the tide of history was turning in Europe's f__ ③ .___ Challenged by the Europeans' intellectual and military ★prowess[6], hampered by the fiscal ineptitude of its leaders, and powerless to suppress the petty nationalisms that infected its Balkan possessions, (3)the empire began to unravel—at times abruptly, at others imperceptibly. ▲

With her doctorate in the ★fiendishly[7] complex discipline of Ottoman studies, (4)Ms Finkel is ideally placed to make sense of this. ▲But “Osman's Dream” leaves one with the impression that the author's scholarship—she includes a 30-page bibliography—could have been put to better use. Her apparent desire to record every event of significance sometimes r___ ④ ___ in a dispiriting succession of military campaigns and diplomatic intrigues; (5)one would have preferred a ★pruning[8] of the ★thicket[9] of events and more discussion of what it all means.▲

(6)The author offers glimpses of a more satisfying book. ▲She includes a suggestive aside on the blending of French and Persian inspirations in the Ottoman palace-building of the early 18th century—as good an emblem for the empire's strained multiculturalism as you could wish for. There are ★tantalising[10] allusions to both the fascination and the repulsion which animated the later Ottomans' ★ambivalence[11] t___ ⑤ ___ Europe. And one wishes that (7)Ms Finkel had developed her intriguing defence of the empire in the 19th century, “multi-confessional, geographically incoherent and economically backward”▲, in the face of demands, on the part of ★impertinent[12] Europeans, that it reform internally.

The limitations of Ms Finkel's approach are most apparent in her ★perfunctory[13] treatment of the empire's final, ★tumultuous[14] years. She deals no more than cursorily with the Armenian massacres during the first world war, preferring to observe that scholarship has suffered from the highly-charged contemporary d___ ⑥ ___ over whether the killings constitute genocide. This point would have made a worthwhile ★footnote[15].(8) As a substitute for an account of what happened, it is a ★cop-out[16].▲


14世纪初,几个从中亚衍生而来的土库曼人部落,为控制安纳托利亚(译者注:土耳其的亚洲部分,一般认为等同于小亚细亚)而干戈相向,此时奥斯曼成了其中一个部落的首领。(曾有人认为奥斯曼的 “梦想”就是要兴建一座王宫;“Ottoman”一词是欧洲人在使用奥斯曼名字时的讹误。)到16世纪中叶,奥斯曼的后人消灭了拜占庭帝国,并将其首都君士坦丁堡(后改名为伊斯坦布尔)建设成为世界上最著名的清真寺城市。与此同时,阿拉伯半岛上的穆斯林圣地麦加和麦地那也为其所统治。



相比之前,这本书还是有不少出彩之处。作者在文中特意提到,18世纪初期奥斯曼兴建王宫时,曾融合了法国人和波斯人的灵感——这种糅合再好不过地寓示了奥斯曼帝国牵强的多文化主义色彩。书中引经据典描述了奥斯曼人对外来文化的着迷和排斥,生动再现了奥斯曼人后期对欧洲的矛盾心态,很是引人入胜。芬克尔女士辩解说,对于作为旁观者的欧洲人而言,19世纪的奥斯曼帝国“教义信仰多样化、地域不连贯,甚而经济倒退”,完全是为形势所迫。这一观点令人感到好奇,有人希望芬克尔女士应当进一步展开阐述。(文中的that it reform internally令人匪夷所思,尤其是主语为单数it,而reform又给出复数形式,为什么呢?)


如:The word processor has largely supplanted electric typewriters. Word处理程序已很大程度上取代了电动打字机。
It is my view that the new historical disciplines complement rather than supplant traditional history.我认为这些新的历史学科对传统历史学起到了补充而非排挤作用。

replace, supplant, supersede
 Replace是指成为或提供代替他人或他物的物或人的相等物或替换物, 尤其是对已经丢失、耗尽、用竭或被辞退:
“A conspiracy was carefully engineered to replace the Directory by three Consuls” (H.G. Wells).
“细心策划密谋以三个执政官取代督政府” (H.G,威尔斯)。
“I succeed him [Benjamin Franklin, as envoy to France] ; no one could replace him” (Thomas Jefferson).
“我接替他[本杰明•富兰克林,作为派往法国的特使];没有人能够取代他” (托马斯•杰弗逊)。
 Supplant通常指用阴谋诡计或卑鄙的手段来取代他人的位置:
“The rivaling poor Jones, and supplanting him in her affections, added another spur to his pursuit” (Henry Fielding). “对抗的可怜的琼斯,以及用她的影响取代他的位置的举动进一步刺激了他的追求” (亨利•费尔汀)。
 Supersede 是指用另一个被认为更优秀、更有价值、更有用或者更年轻的人或物代替某人或某物:
“In our island the Latin appears never to have superseded the old Gaelic speech” (Macaulay). “在我们的岛上古老的盖尔语似乎永远被拉丁语所取代” (麦考利)。
“Each of us carries his own life-form—an indeterminable form which cannot be superseded by any other” (Carl Jung).我们每个人都有自己的生活方式-一种无法查明、不能被其它任何一种方式取代的方式” (卡尔•荣格)

[2]turcophobia:n.憎恶土耳其风俗习惯的人, 憎恶土耳其的人
如:xenophobia 仇外,惧外;
Americanophobia 对美国(或美洲)文化的憎恶,美国(或美洲)文化仇视心理
Anglophobia反英, 恐英病
thanatophobia [心]死亡恐怖(症),死亡恐惧(症)

[3]infidel:adj. & n. 不信教的(人);异端的(人)

[4]Spanish inquisition:西班牙宗教法庭,1480-1834年的天主教法庭,以残酷迫害异端著称。1543年将数以万计再洗礼教派教徒在火刑柱上烧死。西班牙国王伊莎贝拉一世创建。


[6]prowess:n. 卓越的技能;杰出的才能;本领
如:He is a football player of great prowess. 他是一名技能卓绝的足球选手。
The young student from the theatrical school showed great prowess at acting in the play.这个戏剧学校的学生在这出戏中显示出了非凡的演技。

[7]fiendishly:adv.恶魔似地, 极坏地;
如:a fiendish blizzard 极大的暴风雪 a fiendish problem 极大的难题

[8]prune:vt.(常与down, off, away连用)修剪(树、花木);(常与of连用)删改;删除
如:prune the slang from a speech删去演说中的俚语

如: the thicket of unreality which stands between us and the facts of life 在我们和生活的现实之间存在着无法穿越的虚幻

如:The very thought that a human being would deliberately starve herself for any reason provoked, intrigued, and tantalized the public.(“Psychobiology and Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa” by Katherine A Halmi)有人认为,不管出于何故,一个人会故意忍饥挨饿。这种想法让公众既生气,又好奇,还有点着急。(凯瑟琳•A•哈尔米《神经性食欲缺乏和易饿病的精神生物学研究和治疗方法》)

ambivalent adj.(对人、事物)有矛盾心理的
如:There is an ambivalent feeling towards rural workers.人们对于民工的心情是复杂的。

如:He deemed all such inquiries on the part of a slave improper and impertinent, and evidence of a restless spirit.他认为一个奴隶如此多嘴多舌,是不合礼仪的,很显然这个奴隶还很不安分。(“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglass)

irrelevant, extraneous, immaterial, impertinent
an irrelevant comment; 一句不相干的评语;
a question extraneous to the discussion; 与讨论不相关的问题;
an objection that is immaterial after the fact; 和该事实无关的反对意见;
mentioned several impertinent facts before finally coming to the point.在最后谈到要点之前先说了几个不相关的事实

如:The operator answered the phone with a perfunctory greeting.接线员接通电话,象征性的打了招呼

如:These details have also had a tumultuous effect on the nation of Bolivia. (“Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life” by Jon Lee Anderson)这些详细资料也引起了波利维亚的动乱。(乔恩•李•安德森《切•格瓦拉:革命人生》)

如:a political scandal that was but a footnote to modern history.一件对现代历史无足轻重的政治丑闻

[16] cop out:逃避,躲开;临阵退缩 cop-out n.逃避,自首,托词;违约者
如:You've got to take it up. Don't try to cop out of it by telling me you're too busy!"这件事你一定得做,不要推诿说你忙不过来。"
Jimmy was known to the team as a cop-out because he never showed up for important games.(A Concise Collection of College-student’s Slang) 队里都知道吉米是个喜欢临阵脱逃的人,凡是重要比赛都不见他人影。

(1) all are echoes of a dynasty that survived for 600 years
(2) “Ottoman” is the European corruption of his name
(3) the empire began to unravel—at times abruptly, at others imperceptibly.
(4) Ms Finkel is ideally placed to make sense of this.
(5) one would have preferred a pruning of the thicket of events and more discussion of what it all means.
(6) The author offers glimpses of a more satisfying book.
(7) Ms Finkel had developed her intriguing defence of the empire in the 19th century, “multi-confessional, geographically incoherent and economically backward”, in the face of demands, on the part of impertinent Europeans, that it reform internally.
(8) As a substitute for an account of what happened, it is a cop-out.

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