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Ink Dances in LimboGao Xingjian's Writing as Cultural Translation$
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Jessica Yeung

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099210

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099210.001.0001

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Fictions and Plays 1990s: Writing in Exile

Fictions and Plays 1990s: Writing in Exile

(p.125) 7 Fictions and Plays 1990s: Writing in Exile
Ink Dances in Limbo

Jessica Yeung

Hong Kong University Press

Gao Xingjian's works published after he left China in 1987 show a comparable impulse on cultural self-translation. Some of his plays including Nether City and Stories in the Books of Mountains and Seas take material from Chinese mythology and folklore. In this way, the “Chineseness” embodied in this material is carried over into these plays, and therefore into their exilic existence. A more conspicuous attempt to translate the self's past in China into his present exilic existence is found in Yigeren di shengjing, translated into English as One Man's Bible by Mabel Lee, in which the narrator's past and present are interwoven together throughout the novel. One Man's Bible is a companion novel to Soul Mountain. The links between the two are at the same time thematic and structural. Both texts talk about the same scepticism towards language, literature, and representation.

Keywords:   Gao Xingjian, cultural self-translation, exilic existence, China, One Man's Bible, Soul Mountain, skepticism, language, literature, representation

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