Journal directory listing - Volume 60 (2015) - Journal of NTNU: Linguistics & Literature【60(2)】September (Special Issue: A Special Issue on Gao Xinjian and Mo Yan)

【A Special Issue on Gao Xingjian and Mo Yan】Gao Xingjian’s Early Theory and Practice of the Art of Fiction: A Focus on A Preliminary Examination of Modern Fictional Techniques
Author: Wai-Siam Hee(Division of Chinese, Nanyang Technological University)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 60, No. 2
Date:September 2015


    This article reviews and examines Gao Xingjian’s early theory and practice of the art of fiction. Its main focus is A Preliminary Examination of Modern Fictional Techniques, but several essays that were not included in this book are also incorporated. This article explores the modern context and advocacy of innovation in fictional forms seen in Gao Xingjian’s early theories of the art of fiction. The most crucial attempted breakthrough in A Preliminary Examination of Modern Fictional Techniques was its focus on the question “what are modern fictional techniques” rather than emphasizing the negative question “do we want modern fictional techniques?” like the mainland Chinese literary world did at the beginning of the 1980s. This article holds that the most critical proposal in the above mentioned theoretical works was related to the reinterpretation and reformulation of the “stream of consciousness.” This reformulation was not only the source of Gao Xingjian’s subsequent advocacy of a “stream of language” but was also a driving force behind the renewal of the Chinese novel in the 1980s. In Gao Xingjian’s early conception of fiction, this renewal originated throught reference to the Western Modernist formal aesthetic technique of thestream of consciousness. This technique was subsequently extended in the development of two of Gao Xingjian’s crucial early proposals for the renewal of the fictional form: advocating a “change of perspective in narrative language” and “nonplot-driven and nontypical fiction writing.” This article discusses the degree to which these two proposals for the reform of the fictional form were applied in Gao Xingjian’s early novella Such a Pigeon Called Red Lips and the short story Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather and assesses their effectiveness.

Keywords:Such a Pigeon Called Red Lips, Gao Xingjian, A Preliminary Examination of Modern Fictional Techniques, Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather, stream of consciousness

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