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Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation By Gao Xingjian

Chapter 1:  The Position of the Writer
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Gao Xingjian:

Chapter 1

The Position of the Writer

I was invited by National Taiwan University to present a series of lectures on literature, theatre and aesthetics. “The Position of the Writer” was the first of these. The second was “The Art of Fiction,” the third “The Possibilities of Theatre,” the fourth “The Aesthetics of the Artist,” and the fifth a conversation in which I responded to questions that had been raised. Because I had not fully recovered from my illness, I was unable to make the long trip and instead presented the video lectures that I have now revised and written as texts for publication.

In considering the “position” of the writer, I am concerned with the position of literature in contemporary society and with the writer’s relationship with society and the times. Of course, this is a huge topic, and my view is simply one way of looking at it, purely my choice as an individual, and writers will make different choices because each has a different view of literature. That different views lead to different choices is in fact not a dialectical issue about what is right or wrong. However, during the past century the interference of politics in literature changed this garden of free thought into a battlefield, and relentless debates spread from the West to the East and from Europe and America to the Third World, so that no place has had the good fortune of remaining unscathed.