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Palgrave Macmillan

Transcultural Aesthetics in the Plays of Gao Xingjian

ISBN 9781137442529
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

Gao Xingjian has been lauded in many countries for his inventive use of Chinese culture in his paintings, plays, and cinema. In spite of this attempt to locate the aesthetics of his work within a Chinese frame, Gao denies that his current work participates in any notion of Chinese. However, Gao's work consciously draws on many aesthetic forms from both Chinese and French theatrical traditions. Absurdism and jingju (commonly known as Beijing Opera in American English) are the two immediate forms apparent in Gao's dramaturgy. This book traces the development of these forms and how the relate and interact in the French language plays of the Nobel Laureate. Gao Xingjian, through the unique blending and borrowing of these forms, creates an aesthetic of transcultural identity. Coulter approaches Gao's work from a cultural studies point of view, offering a new perspective on the work of this significant artist and his insistence that identity is a personal apolitical conception born in movement and flight.

Todd J. Coulter is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at Colby College, USA. His work has been published in Contemporary Theatre Review, Theatre Journal, and Dance Chronicle.

Introduction: International Recognition and Confusion
1. Reactive Theatre
2. Physical Division: Jingju and Performance Theory
3. The Actor in Thirds: Gao's Theory of Performance
4. An Individual in the Void: Au bord de la vie
5. An Individual in Company: Quatre quatuours pour un week-end
6. An Individual in Night: Ballade Nocturne and Gao's Philosophical Woman
Conclusion: The Obligation of Creation


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