Guest Lecture by Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian

Literature and Ideology

Gao Xingjian, born January 4, 1940 in Ganzhou (Jiangxi province) in eastern China, is today a French citizen.

Writer of prose, translator, dramatist, director, critic and artist. Gao Xingjian grew up during the aftermath of the Japanese invasion, his father was a bank official and his mother an amateur actress, who stimulated the young Gao's interest in the theatre and writing.

Gao was the recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature for his book "One Man's Bible". A number of his works have been translated into various languages, and today several of his plays are being produced in various parts of the world.

"Literature must be liberated from ideological slavery. In communist states, literature was in the service of ideology, acting as a kind of party political propaganda. Such is a death sentence for literature. Today the old ideologies have perished, and belief in the market dominates where once ideologies ruled. It will also be the death of literature if it enslaves itself to these new market principles. If literature is to have any meaning, it must be free of all ideologies, market forces, social mores, etc. Literature should not serve any higher purpose. It should be independent, according to its own autonomy. It should be guided by neither philosophy nor modernism nor post-modern literary theory. Rather, it should listen to the author's inner voice and bring forth the aesthetics relating to humanity's existential condition. What matters here is the individual and his/her relationship with the world."

Date and time: Monday 9 May, from 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Venue: NIAS, Leifsgade 33, 3rd floor, 2300 Copenhagen