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Gao Xingjian(gou` shĭing`jyän`), 1940–, Chinese-French novelist and playwright, b. Ganzhou. He earned (1962) a degree in French in Beijing and embarked upon a literary life, which was cut short by the Cultural RevolutionCultural Revolution,
1966–76, mass mobilization of urban Chinese youth inaugurated by Mao Zedong in an attempt to prevent the development of a bureaucratized Soviet style of Communism.
..... Click the link for more information. (1966–76) and six years of forced farm labor. During this period he destroyed all of his early work, fearing imprisonment. Upon his release, Gao resumed writing, but again fell afoul of the government for his modernist tendencies, rejection of socialist realismsocialist realism,
Soviet artistic and literary doctrine. The role of literature and art in Soviet society was redefined in 1932 when the newly created Union of Soviet Writers proclaimed socialist realism as compulsory literary practice.
..... Click the link for more information. , and political views. His writing was banned in the 1980s, and he emigrated (1987) to France, where he settled in Paris and became (1998) a French citizen.
Influenced by BeckettBeckett, Samuel
, 1906–89, Anglo-French playwright and novelist, b. Dublin. Beckett studied and taught in Paris before settling there permanently in 1937. He wrote primarily in French, frequently translating his works into English himself.
..... Click the link for more information. , IonescoIonesco, Eugène
, 1912–94, French playwright, b. Romania. Settling in France in 1938, he contributed to Cahiers du Sud and began writing avant-garde plays. His works stress the absurdity both of bourgeois values and of the way of life that they dictate.
..... Click the link for more information. (both of whom he has translated into Chinese), ArtaudArtaud, Antonin
, 1896–1948, French poet, actor, and director. During the 1920s and 30s he was associated with various experimental theater groups in Paris, and he cofounded the Théâtre Alfred Jarry.
..... Click the link for more information. , and BrechtBrecht, Bertolt
, 1898–1956, German dramatist and poet, b. Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht. His brilliant wit, his outspoken Marxism, and his revolutionary experiments in the theater made Brecht a vital and controversial force in modern drama.
..... Click the link for more information. , he has a global vision, experimental technique, absurdist leanings, and a skepical point of view that place him squarely in the ranks of literary modernism. In his plays, Gao often mixes avant-garde elements with techniques of traditional Chinese theater, such as shadow plays, masked drama, dance, and music. Among his theatrical works are the Beckettian Bus Stop (1983) and the openly political Fugitives (tr. 1993), a love story set against the 1989 Tiananmen SquareTiananmen Square,
large public square in Beijing, China, on the southern edge of the Inner or Tatar City. The square, named for its Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen), contains the monument to the heroes of the revolution, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of
..... Click the link for more information. massacre. Five of his translated plays are collected in The Other Shore (1999). His best-known novel is Soul Mountain (1990, tr. 2000), an epic and lyrical odyssey inspired by his own 10-month walking trip along the Chang River (Yangtze) that is a unique mixture of literary styles, techniques, and genres. His other fiction includes the semiautobiographical One Man's Bible. Gao is also a critic, essayist, short-story writer, director, and a painter known for his works in inkwash. In 2000 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.