Vorobei, O
Kitaêznavčì doslìdžennâ 2021, 1:261-278
Section: Translations of Chinese Literature
Language: Ukrainian

The oeuvre of Xia Yan (夏衍, 1900–1995), a Chinese playwright, writer, journalist, screenwriter and stage director, had a significant impact on history of modern Chinese drama: his unique type of dramatic art marked a new stage in the development of Chinese drama. Xia Yan is often called “a peer of the XX century”, who travelled a peculiar life and creative journey. The themes of the works by Xia Yan always met the public needs: the author used to keep in touch both with intellectuals and ordinary people. He was cognizant of the Chinese outlook and public sentiments; thus, his dramas usually rendered his vision of the causes of the socioeconomic crises, and his characters transmitted potential solutions to the problems. “The Fascist Bacillus” by Xia Yan discusses the spread of the idea of fascism in the world, which was relevant in the early 40s. The playwright describes the life of a bacteriologist who consciously lives a sheltered life and strives to be engaged in research. Consequently, over ten years, he was escaping from war by constantly changing a place of residence and attempting to separate science from politics. As a result, the scientist found himself in occupied Hong Kong, in which Japanese looters barged into his house and killed each other during the reckless arbitrariness and under the influence of uncontrolled aggression. Having suffered the severe trauma of losing a loved one, Professor Yu realized that it is impossible to hide from the fascist bacillus, which has spread to almost all countries, it must be resolutely fought. Although Xia Yan’s play demonstrates an out-of-the-box solution of relations between science and politics in the middle of the XX century, it hasn’t lost its imagery, strength and relevance. Therefore, the spiritual decline of Professor Yu’s friend, Zhao Antao, reminds a modern reader that even adherence to subjectively correct ideological principles will never guarantee the preservation of moral virtues. “The Fascist Bacillus” is a play about the relations between politics and science in which the playwright leads a reader to the obviously disappointing idea that science will never be ideologically independent and serve its higher purposes – it will be constantly dependent on public opinion and political perturbations. Xia Yan was confident that scientific advances would be able to bring undeniable benefits to humanity only if scientists are politically aware and, at the same time, non-partisan.

Keywords: drama, interrelation, politics, science, Xia Yan

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