Gao Xingjian biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Gao Xingjian

Gao Xingjian

How to pronounce Gao Xingjian: gow shing-jen

Gao Xingjian Biography

Novelist and playwright Gao Xingjian is the first Chinese recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was born January 4th, 1940. He has lived in France since 1987. In 1980 Gao became a screenwriter for the Beijing People's Art Theatre. His novel Soul Mountain was inspired by his 10-month trek along the Yangtze River.



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Interview

A short excerpt from Xingjian's acceptance speech on receiving the 2000 Noble Prize for Literature.

Gao Xingjian was awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature "for an œuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama." The following is an excerpt from his acceptance speech.

Language is not merely concepts and the carrier of concepts, it simultaneously activates the feelings and the senses and this is why signs and signals cannot replace the language of living people. The will, motives, tone and emotions behind what someone says cannot be fully expressed by semantics and rhetoric alone. The connotations of the language of literature must be voiced, spoken by living people, to be fully expressed. So as well as serving as a carrier of thought literature must also appeal to the auditory senses. The human need for language is not simply for the transmission of meaning, it is at the same time listening to and affirming a person's existence.

Borrowing from Descartes, it could be said of the writer: I say and therefore I am. However, the I of the writer can be the writer himself, can be equated to the narrator, or become the characters of a work. As the narrator-subject can also be he and you, it is tripartite. The...

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Books by this Author

Books by Gao Xingjian at BookBrowse
Soul Mountain jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Gao Xingjian but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • John Dalton

    John Dalton

    John Dalton is the author of the novel, Heaven Lake, which won the Barnes and Noble 2004 Discover Award in fiction. It was also awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for best first fiction of 2004 from the American Academy of Arts ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Soul Mountain

    Try:
    Heaven Lake
    by John Dalton

  • Annie Dillard

    Annie Dillard

    Annie Dillard has written several books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Soul Mountain

    Try:
    The Maytrees
    by Annie Dillard

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