Narrating the Pre-modern across Borders


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The Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 2000 was awarded to Gao Xingjian, a diasporan writer who was born on the mainland of China and spent nearly five decades of his life there before he left the country in 1987 to take up permanent residency in France. The reactions to this event vary from extreme pride on the part of many overseas Chinese (including those in Hong Kong and Taiwan) to utter indifferent of most, if not all, mainland state agencies. The two different attitudes came to a confrontation when Gao Xingjian visited Hong kong less than two months after he gave his acceptance speech at the Swedish Academy. Hong Kong was not at all new to Gao: he did many of modernist dramatic experiments there, published several of his books with Hong Kong Cosmos Books LTD, and held numerous painting exhibitions in the city. This time he was invited by the Chinese University of Hong Kong to speak about his "literary" creation, but the questions he received after his talk were mostly "political", despite his repeats efforts to shun the topic. One question which kept popping up during the subsequent Q&A session and which was taken over by the local media in the next few days was whether the chief executive of Hong Kong yielded to the pressure from the central government when he decided not to give an audience to whatever achievement an individual of Chinese origin makes is an honor for all Chinese, a view which I believe in against the philosophical conviction of the writer himself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOther modernisms in an age of globalization
EditorsDjelal KADIR, Dorothea Löbbermann
PublisherUniversitats Verlag, C. Winter
Pages169 - 181
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9783825313067
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Publication series

NameAmerican Studies : a monograph series
PublisherUniversitätsverlag C.


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