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Interview with Gao Xingjian in the Guardian:

Gao Xingjian author of Soul Mountain.

Nicholas D. Kristof reviewed the book in the NYT the year Gao won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Gao Xingjian and “Soul Mountain” : Ambivalent Storytelling is a long critique of Soul Mountain by Robert Nagle.


“Literature can’t merely be an expression of self – that would be unbearable,” Gao says. “You have to be critical not just of society and others, but of yourself: each subject has three pronouns: ‘I’, ‘you’, and ‘he’ or ‘she’.” He sees such self-scrutiny as a safeguard: “If you’re not perfectly conscious of yourself, that self can be tyrannical; in relationship to others, anyone can become a tyrant. That’s why no one can be a Superman. You have to go beyond yourself with a ‘third eye’ – self-awareness – because the one thing you cannot flee is yourself. That’s why Greek tragedy is still the tragedy of human beings today.”

August 4, 2008 - Posted by | Gao Xingjian |

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