Gao Xingjian Analysis

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

What are some of the key encounters of the protagonist of Gao Xingjian’s novel Soul Mountain, and how do they affect him?

Do you feel that the journey of the protagonist of Soul Mountain is successful, or not? Give reasons for your viewpoint.

According to One Man’s Bible, how did the Cultural Revolution affect the lives of the narrator and his friends and neighbors?

How would you characterize the relationship between the narrator of One Man’s Bible and the character of Margarethe? How is this relationship affected by the narrator’s past experiences?

Gao Xingjian has stated that his plays aim to overcome the barriers of language and realism. Looking at one of his plays, what are some means by which he attempts to reach this goal?

For one of his short stories, discuss Gao Xingjian’s formal experimentation with the concepts of characterization, narrative structure, and realistic storytelling.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Loden, Torbjorn. “World Literature with Chinese Characteristics: On a Novel by Gao Xingjian.” The Stockholm Journal of East Asian Studies 4 (1993). The author is the chairman of the department of Chinese language and literature at Stockholm University. This is one of the most important critical articles on Soul Mountain in English.

Tam, Kwok-Kan, ed. The Soul of Chaos: Critical Perspectives on Gao Xingjian. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2001. This collection of articles provides critical readings of Gao’s major works in the context of his contribution to the rejuvenation of Chinese tradition and his significance in world literature. Includes bibliographical references and indexes.

Zhao, Henry Y. H. Towards a Modern Zen Theatre: Gao Xingjian and Chinese Theatre Experimentalism. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2000. An excellent, thorough book on Gao’s works. Includes “Checklist of the Publications, Translations and Performances of Gao Xingjian’s Major Works,” “Gao Xingjian’s Books in Chinese Original,” and “Critical Works on Gao Xingjian.”