GAO XINGJIAN QUOTES II

Chinese novelist & playwright (1940- )

Loneliness is a prerequisite for freedom. Freedom depends on the ability to reflect, and reflection can only begin when one is alone.

GAO XINGJIAN, speech presented on receiving the Golden Plate Award at the Forty-first International Achievement Summit of the American Academy of Achievement, Jun. 8, 2002

0 likes

Tags: loneliness


I don't want to be a strong hero who can save society. I just want to save myself.

GAO XINGJIAN, The Guardian, Aug. 1, 2008

0 likes


When I came overseas, I realized that there are many ideologies and many trends, and it's also very hard to produce honest art and honest literature. I decided that I didn't want to follow any of these ideologies or trends, because that's also a kind of pressure that doesn't allow absolute freedom. So I decided that I was only going to produce works that were satisfactory to me, and that meant not following any trends and being anti-ideological.

GAO XINGJIAN, "A Conversation with Gao Xingjian", Asia Society

0 likes


In my view the time for rousing revolutionary literature has passed, because the revolution has already revolutionised itself to death and has left behind only bitterness and a sort of weariness, listlessness and even nausea.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Cold Literature", The Case for Literature

0 likes

Tags: revolution


Literary revolution and revolutionary literature did not create a beautiful new world but instead divested literature of its basic nature, promoted violence, and, by resorting to linguistic violence, made a battlefield of this domain of spiritual freedom.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Literature as Testimony: The Search for Truth", Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium

0 likes


If, while observing the boundless universe, the writer is able to scrutinize his own self as well as others, the resulting incisiveness of his observations will far surpass objective descriptions of reality.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Literature as Testimony: The Search for Truth", Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium

0 likes

Tags: writing


There are numerous layers to truth, and the simple and superficial statement of facts cannot satisfy the writer.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Literature as Testimony: The Search for Truth", Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium

0 likes

Tags: facts


Since it was announced that I had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has condemned my works and criticized them harshly. All of my works are now banned from getting into China or being published in China. What author would want to return to a country that banned his or her books?

GAO XINGJIAN, One Man's Bible

0 likes


Language is inherently not concerned with logic. As an expression of the psychological activities of humankind, it simply follows a linear process as it seeks actualisation. Moreover, it does not obey the objective concepts of time and space that belong to the physical world. When the discussion of time and space is imported into linguistic art from scientific aims and research methods, that linguistic art is entirely reduced to trifling pseudo-philosophical issues.

GAO XINGJIAN, The Case for Literature

0 likes


A good work can be communicated across languages ... [provided one does not] fall into the trap of narrow-minded nationalistic or chauvinistic thinking.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Translation is like rewriting from scratch: Nobel literary laureate Gao Xingjian", The Sunday Times

0 likes


You're safe only when you can't see anybody.

GAO XINGJIAN, Escape

0 likes


If literature is to transcend political interference and return to being a testimony of man and his existential predicament, it needs first to break away from ideology. To be without "isms," is to return to the individual and to return to viewing the world through the eyes of the writer, an individual who relies on his own perceptions and does not act as a spokesman for the people. The people already have rulers and election campaigners speaking in their name.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Literature as Testimony: The Search for Truth", Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium

0 likes

Tags: literature


I decided that I did not want to follow any of these ideologies or trends, because these also exerted a kind of pressure, and obstructed absolute creative freedom.

GAO XINGJIAN, One Man's Bible

0 likes


Ah, in those revolutionary years even women were revolutionized into lunatics and monsters.

GAO XINGJIAN, One Man's Bible

0 likes


The feeling of loneliness is unique to humans. A tree or a bird may seem to be lonely, but this is an attribute bestowed by the person making the observation. The tree or the bird is incapable of perceiving loneliness. This feeling occurs when a person is alone, and, moved by his emotions, associates his own circumstances with those of the bird or the tree that he sees before him. Since this feeling entails an element of self-examination, it is not a purely objective observation. The feeling of loneliness produced is thus a form of aesthetics, in that while observing one's external environment, one is at the same time examining the self that is located within it, and to a certain extent this is an affirmation of one's own personal worth.

GAO XINGJIAN, speech presented on receiving the Golden Plate Award at the Forty-first International Achievement Summit of the American Academy of Achievement, Jun. 8, 2002

0 likes

Tags: loneliness


On the first level, I think that in the 20th century, the problem of exile or alienation is particularly pronounced for writers and artists. A second level is the more spiritual level, that exile also means overcoming ideology and overcoming attitudes and overcoming trends, and so exile has also been a way of pursuing nothingism or overcoming ideology. A third level is that artists tend to be on the margins of society. So from that perspective, exile is a kind of appropriate mental state, at least for artists. This is a good thing. If you were in the center of society, you'd be receiving input and pressure from too many different areas, and that's not the kind of environment that an artist needs to cultivate his own creativity and his own thoughts.

GAO XINGJIAN, "A Conversation with Gao Xingjian", Asia Society

0 likes


It wasn't that the girl failed to attract him, but he preferred casual sex with uninhibited women who had already wallowed in the mire at the bottom of society. There was no need for him to waste his energy teaching this girl about life.

GAO XINGJIAN, One Man's Bible

0 likes

Tags: sex


Literature remains an indispensable human activity, in which the reader and the writer are engaged of their own volition. Hence, literature has no duty to the masses or society, and ethical or moral pronouncements added by busybody critics are of no concern to the writer.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Cold Literature", The Case for Literature

0 likes


With the beginning of life, comes the thirst for truth, whereas the ability to lie is gradually acquired in the process of trying to stay alive.

GAO XINGJIAN, "Literature as Testimony: The Search for Truth", Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium

0 likes

Tags: lying


Men always look differently at women, even if it's not your intention it is wrongly interpreted as such.

GAO XINGJIAN, Soul Mountain

0 likes

Tags: men