UNIT I. LEARNING ENGLISH THROUGH CLASSICS
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UNIT I. LEARNING ENGLISH THROUGH CLASSICS



I. Give a literary translation of the following extracts. Speak on Shaw’s style.

 

1. Shaw’s plays, as a whole, give the impression of his creative powers in a spontaneous unity. We can well believe that, when he told Ellen Terry that “Candida” came easily enough, he was expressing a general truth about his work. The component of plot, stagecraft, characterization and dialogue grew into one natural unforced creation. Shaw himself, in the Postscript to “Back to Methuselah,” declared: “When I am writing a play I never invent a plot: I let the play write itself and shape itself, which it always does even when up to the last moment I do not foresee the way out. Sometimes I do not see what the play was driving at until quite a long time after I have finished it.” Certainly his method of developing a play often involves a turn which takes the audience half by surprise, as it may have taken the dramatist himself. Thus his success lies partly in the command of stagecraft which instinctively knows how to turn stage situation to profit.

 

2. As for Shaw’s style, it never failed from the earliest plays to the last, or in his pamphlets, prefaces or letters. Shaw himself refused to admit the existence of style apart from the matter. Style arose, he held, “from the having something to say. Effectiveness of assertion is the Alpha and Omega of style. He who has nothing to assert has no style and can have none; he who has something to assert will go as far in power of style as its momentousness and his conviction after it is made, yet his style remains.”

With the union of assertion and provocation his style is never dull.

In the plays it rarely has a chance to be dull, for there is the further animation given by the dramatic clash of dialogue.

 

(From “English Literature of the 20th Century” by A.S.Collins)

 

II. Render the texts in English. Use the key words given above the texts.

а) a reformer; to represent; symposium; clash; to be highly appreciated; to mark the 75th anniversary; innumerous striking blows; narrow-mindedness; banality; to ridicule; valuable; an autobiographical novel

 

Б.Шоу называли реформатором английского театра. Сцену Шоу представлял как место дискуссии, как площадку для столкновения идей, постановки проблем. Он создает новую структуру драмы – проблемную пьесу-симпозиум. Шоу пользуется особым способом изложения проблем – парадоксом.

Шоу высоко ценили лучшие и крупнейшие представители литературы его времени. Среди них были Горький и О’Кейси.

В 1931 году Горький писал Шоу, приехавшему в Москву на празднование своего 75-летия: “Три четверти столетия прожили Вы, и неисчислимы сокрушительные удары, нанесенные Вашим острым умом консерватизму и пошлости людей”.

Высказав ряд ценных наблюдений о творчестве Шоу в своих литературно-критический статьях, Шон О’Кейси посвятил драматургу целую главу – “Уголок Шоу” – в автобиографическом романе “Заход солнца и вечерняя звезда”.

 

b) the goddess Aphrodite; а Cyprian sculptor; to live a lonely life; to avoid marriage; to carve a statue out of ivory; to be about to do smth; to fall in love with one’s own handiwork; precious earrings; necklaces and wristlets; to whisper smth to smb; to be dumb (mute); festivals (festivities) in honour of (honouring) smb; to sacrifice smth (smb); not (to) dare (to) do smth; to breathe life into smth (smb); to make smb angry; Olympus Gods (Olympians)

 

Афродита дарит счастье тому, кто верно служит ей. Так дала она счастье кипрскому художнику Пигмалиону. Пигмалион ненавидел женщин и жил уединенно, избегая брака. Однажды он сделал из белой слоновой кости статую девушки необычайной красоты. Как живая стояла эта статуя в мастерской художника. Казалось, она дышит; казалось, что вот-вот она начнет двигаться и заговорит. Часами любовался художник своим произведением и полюбил наконец созданную им статую. Он дарил ей драгоценные ожерелья, браслеты и серьги, одевал её в роскошные одежды. Как часто шептал Пигмалион:

- О, если бы ты была живая, если бы могла отвечать на мои речи, о, как был бы я счастлив!

Но статуя была нема.

Наступили дни празднеств в честь Афродиты. Пигмалион принес богине любви в жертву белую корову с золотыми рогами. Пигмалион не решился просить богов оживить его статую, он боялся прогневать такой просьбой богов-олимпийцев.

Когда художник вернулся домой, он увидел, что статуя ожила. Так дала богиня Афродита красавицу-жену Пигмалиону.

 

III. Translate Bernard Shaw’s famous aphorisms and comment on them.

· A doctor’s reputation is made by the number of eminent men who die under his care.

· A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

· A nation’s morals are like its teeth: the worse they are decayed, the more it hurts to touch them.

· All autobiographies are lies. I do not mean unconscious, unintentional lies: I mean deliberate lies. No man is bad enough to tell the truth about himself during his lifetime, involving, as it must, the truth about his family and his friends and colleagues. And no man is good enough to tell the truth to posterity in document which he suppresses until there is nobody left alive to contradict him.

· Beware of the man who does not return your blow; he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself.

· Cases of chronic lifelong love, whether sentimental or sensual, ought to be sent to the doctor, if not to the executioner.

· Curious, how little use mere brains are! I have a very fine set; and yet I learnt more from the first stupid woman who fell in love with me than ever they taught me.

· Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

· England and America are two countries divided by a common language.

· Fools must be governed according to their folly, and not to a wisdom they do not possess.

· Games are for people who can neither read nor speak.

· He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

· He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.

· If you begin by sacrificing yourself to those you love, you will end by hating those to whom you have been sacrificing yourself. Self – sacrificing is suicide.

· Life levels all men, death reveals the eminent.

· Never take advice. Do everything you were told not to do to break away from the tyranny of the past.

· Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

· The best place to seek God is in a garden, you can dig for him there.

· The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

· The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation.

· The worst sin to our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.

· There are only two qualities in the world: efficiency and inefficiency, and only two sorts of people: the efficient and the inefficient.

· Those who have been taught most know least.

· We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.

· When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when the tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity. The distinction between Crime and Justice is no greater.

· You will never write a good book until you have written some bad ones.

 

IV. Retell the following story in English.

 

In Atlanta there was a couple who heard that “My Fair Lady” was running on Broadway in New York. They attempted to procure tickets but could not secure reservations for ten months. They planned their whole vacation around going to the play. After ten long months they finally arrived in New York. Their seats were seven rows from the orchestra. The place was packed except for the seat right next to the husband. A lady sat two seats over. He could not imagine why anyone would not occupy that seat since the tickets were so hard to come by. At the intermission he asked the lady why no one occupied the seat between them, saying, “Since it is so difficult to obtain a seat for this show, why is this seat empty?” She said, “Well, this is my husband’s seat. But he died.” The man said, “I am sorry to hear that. But since these tickets are so scarce, why didn’t you bring a friend?” She answered, “They are all at his funeral!” “My Fair Lady apparently meant more to her than the death of her husband!

 

V. Watch the film “My Fair Lady”, be ready to discuss it in class using the questions given below.

 

1. Where does Pickering come to see Higgins from?

2. What is Higgins doing at Covent Garden?

Why does he choose this place for his occupation?

3. What is phonetics? What irritates Higgins in the English nation?

4. What are Eliza’s mistakes in pronunciation?

5. How old is she? What does she look like? Has she a family?

6. Within what period does she have to be taught by Higgins? What are the terms of the bet? Who agrees to bear all expenses for her lessons?

7. What attracts Eliza in Higgins’ proposal? Could Eliza suffer from the bet?

8. How does Higgins treat Eliza? Who treats her like a lady?

9. Why does Alfred Doolittle come to Higgins’ place?

10. Where does the first meeting of Eliza with Freddy Eynsford Hill take place? What is he doing there? Could Eliza marry Freddy?

11. Can you prove that Mr. Higgins’ manners leave much to be desired? Does Mrs. Higgins like her son’s behaviour?

12. Why does Colonel Pickering want to call off the bet after their visit to Ascot? Why is it unhuman to continue it?

13. Why is Higgins a confirmed bachelor?

14. Who is Eliza taken for at the Embassy ball? Who finds it out?

15. Why does nobody understand she is just a flower girl?

16. She wins the bet, doesn’t she? Why is Eliza not happy about that?

17. What is the difference between a lady and a flower girl? (in Eliza’s opinion)

18. Does Eliza touch Higgins’ feelings? Prove it.

19. Why is Bernard Shaw’s play called “Pygmalion”?

20. Which of the characters do you like best and why?

21. Does this story remind you of any fairy-tale?

22. Do you like the songs of the movie?

 

VI.Winner of 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture and timeless songs, “My Fair Lady” is a feast for both the eyes and the ears.Now listen, enjoy and learn through the songs!

 

 

Assignment for song 1:

Read and translate the song to answer the following questions:

1. What is Higgins indignant at in his song?

2. What examples does he give and what comparisons does he make?

3. “An Englishman’s way of speaking absolutely classifies him.” What does Higgins mean by saying this? Can it be applied to the Russian language?

Why Can’t the English?

 

Place: London, Covent Garden Market.

 

Higgins.

Look at her – pris’ner of the gutters;

Condemned by ev’ry syllable she utters.

By right she should be taken out and hung

For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue!

 

Eliza.

A-o-o-o-w.

 

Higgins. (Imitating her)

Aoooow! Heavens, what a noise!

This is what the British population

Calls an element’ry education.

 

Pickering.

Come, sir, I think you picked a poor example.

 

Higgins.

Did I?

Hear them down in Soho Square

Dropping “H”s everywhere,

Speaking English any way they like.

(To one of the costermongers at the fire).

You, sir, did you go to school?

 

Costermonger.

Whatya tike me fer, a fool?

 

Higgins. (To Pickering).

No one taught him “take” instead of “tike”.

Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse,

Hear a Cornishman converse.

I’d rather hear a choir singing flat.

Chickens cackling in a barn…

(Pointing to Eliza).

Just like this one - !

 

Eliza.

Garn!

 

Higgins.

I ask, you, sir, what sort of word is that?

It’s “Aooow” and “Garn” that keep her in her place.

Not her wretched clothes and dirty face!

 

Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?

This verbal class distinction by now should be antique.

If you spoke as she does, sir,

Instead of the way you do,

Why, you might be selling flowers, too.

 

Pickering.

I beg you pardon, sir!

 

Higgins.

An Englishman’s way of speaking absolutely classifies him.

The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him.

One common language I’m afraid we’ll never get,

Oh, why can’t the English learn to set

A good example to people whose English is painful to your ears?

The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.

There even are places where English completely disappears.

In America, they haven’t used it for years!

Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?

Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks are taught their Greek.

In France every Frenchman knows his language from “A” to “Z”.

The French never care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.

Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning.

The Hebrews learn it backwards, which is absolutely frightening.

But use proper English, you’re regarded as a freak.

Why can’t the English,

Why can’t the English learn to speak?

 

Assignment for song 2:

Find the Russian equivalents for the English words and word combinations from the song:

to desire nothing more than; to live exactly as you like and do precisely what you want; to live one’s life without strife; one’s serenity (sabbatical) is through if …; an ordinary man; to redecorate one’s home from the cellar to the dome; to be up against the wall; to have something in mind; to invite eternal strife; a gentle man; an even-tempered man; a good-natured man; a patient man; down to one’s fingertips; to complain of (about); not to let an insulting remark escape the lips; to be a man of grace and polish; not to speak above a hush; to use the language that would make a sailor blush; to plunge in a knife; to tie the knot around the neck; a pensive man; to meditate; to contemplate; to jabber; to chatter.









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