Заклятье даоса. Китайские повести ХVII в.
The collection offers articles dedicated to the Russian-Chinease literary relations, the image of China in the Western literary tradition and the vision of Russia in Chinese literature.
The article examines a novel written by the one of the most popular Chinese women writer of the late XX century – Wang Anyi. The author analyzes social and cultural changes taking place in the history of Shanghai from the period of 1940’s until 1980’s. On the surface, the novel reads as the story of beautiful woman Wang Qiyao, "Miss Third Place" in the Shanghai Beauty Contest. Throughout the story, this girl from traditional Shanghai slum is trying to get the pass to the high life, become an icon of luxury and splendor in semi-colonial Shanghai. Finally, when she has almost reached such level, the fate of the city and her own changed radically. The novel is divided into three parts, representing changing course of the Chinese nation and Wang Qiyao herself. Part 1 chronicles heroine’s brief moment in the limelight, her love affair with a powerful government official. Part 2 tells of Wang Qiyao’s life during the years of Communist rule, and finally, part 3 starts after the Cultural Revolution and introduces last decade of Wang’s live through the prism of China’s new economic growth and the massive changes to the nature of Chinese society. While reading the novel we can see, that it’s not just a live story of Chinese new “liberated” woman of XX century, but it is the city's modern history that forms the backbone of the tale, creating the "everlasting sorrow" and melancholy of the modern consumer society in which the identity of the heroine is completely dissolved. Just like Wang Qiyao, modern Shanghai has never controlled its fate, following to the forces of Western colonization, communist "liberation," and finally Deng Xiaoping’s Chinese way of capitalism. Shanghai, historically the most "foreign" Chinese city, has been the quintessential symbol of modernity in China. The young and talented girl Qiyao grew up in an atmosphere of parties, jazz, beautiful dresses and fashion shops. Wang Qiyao indulges in the decadent pleasures of pre-liberation Shanghai, secretly playing mahjong during the antirightist Movement and exchanging lovers on the eve of the Cultural Revolution. She is going through difficult years of the Cultural Revolution, trying to keep small grains from a past life. She surrounds herself with people who also are nostalgic for the past. This past deprived of a real human feelings, it illusive. In the same way, new Shanghai, absorbed by greed, money, and the new capitalist values, seems empty and illusory.