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Британский характер




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Национальный характер повсюду живуч. Но ни к какому наро­ду это не относится в большей степени, чем к англичанам, которые судя по всему, имеют нечто вроде патента на живучесть своей на­туры. Такова первая и наиболее очевидная черта англичан. Ста­бильность и постоянство их характера. Они меньше других под­вержены веяниям времени, преходящим модам. Важно, однако, подчеркнуть, что при своей стабильности характер этот составлен из весьма противоречивых и даже парадоксальных черт, одни из которых весьма очевидны, другие же трудноуловимы; так что каж­дое обобщение, касающееся англичан тут же может быть оспорено.

Материалистический народ — кто усомнится в этом? — англи­чане дали миру щедрую долю мистиков, поэтов, идеалистов. Народ колонистов, они проявляют пылкую приверженность к собствен­ной стране, к своему дому.

Неутомимые мореплаватели и землепроходцы, они одновре­менно страстные садоводы.

Их любознательность позволила им познакомиться с лучшим из того, чем обладают другие страны, и все-таки они остались вер­ны своей собственной. Восхищаясь французской кухней, англича­нин не станет имитировать ее у себя дома. На редкость законопос­лушный народ они обожают читать о преступлениях и насилиях. Являя собой воплощение конформизма, они в то же время заяд­лые индивидуалисты, и среди них полно эксцентриков.

Все эти парадоксы, к которым, пожалуй, следует добавить еще один: при всей своей парадоксальности английский характер ред­ко бывает загадочным и непредсказуемым.

Генри. Стил Коммаыджер (США), Британия глазами американцев. 1974

Я не пытаюсь утверждать, будто англичане никогда не меня­лись. Перемены происходят всегда. Но эти различия, столь замет­ные внешне, не проникают вглубь, до корней. К лучшему или к худшему, исконные черты английской натуры по-прежнему оста­ются неким общим знаменателем, оказывают глубокое влияние на национальный характер и общий стиль жизни.

Джон Б. Пристли (Англия), Англичане, 1973

XVI, Comment on the following proverbs and sayings. (Explain their meaning, give their Russian equivalents.):

East or West, home is best. There is no place like home.

So many countries, so many customs. When at Rome, do as the Romans do.

Rome was not built in a day. To carry coals to Newcastle.



ХVII. Read the following passage and a) discuss it in detail; b) give a short summary of the passage; c) comment on the following:

the beauty of Britain as the author sees it;

the variety of geographical features;

a happy compromise between Nature and Man.

We live in one of the most beautiful islands in the world. This is a fact we are always forgetting. When beautiful islands are mentioned we think of Trinidad[67] and Tahiti.[68] These are fine, romantic places, but they are not really as exquisitely beautiful as our own Britain. Before the mines and factories came, and long before we went from bad to worse with our ar­terial roads and petrol stations and horrible brick bungalows, this country must have been an enchantment. Even now, after we have been busy for so long flinging mud at this fair pale face, the enchantment still remains. Sometimes I doubt if we deserve to possess it. There can be few parts of the world in which commercial greed and public indifference have com­bined to do more damage than they have here. The process continues. It is still too often assumed that any enterprising fellow after quick profits has a perfect right to destroy a love­liness that is the heritage of the whole community.



The beauty of our country isas hard to define as it is easy to enjoy. Remembering other and larger countries we see at once that one of its charms is that it is immensely var­ied within a small compass. We have here no vast mountain ranges, no illimitable plains. But we have superb variety. A great deal of everything is packed into little space. I suspect that we are always faintly conscious of the fact that this is a smallish island, with the sea always round the corner, We know that everything has to beneatly packed into a small space. Nature, we feel, has carefully adjusted things — mountains, plains, rivers, lakes tothe scale of the island itself. A mountain 12,000 feet high would be a horrible mon­ster here, as wrong as a plain 400 miles long, a river as broad as the Mississippi; Though the geographical features of this island are comparatively small, and there is astonish­ing variety almost everywhere, that does not mean that our mountains are not mountains, our plains not plains.

Our children and their children after them must live in a beautiful country. It must be a country happily compromis­ing between Nature and Man, blending what was best, worth retaining from the past with what best represents the spirit of our own age, a country rich in noble towns as it is in trees, birds, and wild flowers. (From "The Beauty of Britain" by J. В. Priestley)

XVIII. Role-playing:

Mr. Nice, a lecturer, in his early forties. His topic:

"Don't Spoil Nature".

The audience: Alex, a sceptically-minded young man of 21, a student of Geography; Miss Dorothy Peach, an ardent lover of nature, age 73;



Mr. Frederick Healey, a journalist work ing on a popular newspaper, middle-aged.

Rest of class: make offers and suggestions relating to the problem.

Don't Spoll Nature

Both in densely and in thinly populated countries the au­thorities make regulations and give hints to would-be tour­ists to protect the countryside from pollution.

Here's what the Tourist Office of Finland advises would be visitors: While you are enjoying the uniqueness of the Finnish landscape, the forests, the lakes, the rivers, the seas, the wild life and vegetation, you should obey the unwritten laws of nature. Sheer carelessness and thoughtlessness can cause great damage. As you travel about, please remember you are a guest in the Finnish countryside.

It is forbidden to break off branches of trees and bushes. Picking flowers (except protected species) is allowed. When you travel by car please avoid throwing litter and rubbish about. Put it in plastic bags and take it to the next place where waste is collected. In Lapland, the beauty of the land­scape is extremely fragile and easily damaged. Remember that it can take over 200 years for the tracks left by your car to disappear.

Although it may be tempting to drive over moors of Lap­land you must always keep to the roads. Because the climate in Lapland is so cold, metal glass and plastic waste remain unchanged for centuries.

Suggested phrases: Right, can we begin, then, do you think? Can you all hear me at the back! Good, that's fine. I'm going to talk about: as you know; anyhow. I'd just like to run through the main points... The first thing of course, is... And on top of that... Now has anybody got any points he'd like to raise? Now, that's a good question. The thing here is — er we've thought a lot about this one. I think that's it then. Thanks very much for your attention.

XIX.Film "Mr. Brown's Holiday". Film Segment 7 "How do I Get to...?" (Sallsbury), a) Watch and lislen, b) Do the exercises from the film.


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