Cambria Press congratulates Gao Xingjian and Mabel Lee on the glowing review of Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation by Dr. Kwok-Kan Tam (Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences at the Open University of Hong Kong) for the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC).
The book review accurately captures the essence of the work and the reasons why this book is a must-read title for all in literary studies, not just in the field of Chinese literature for “Gao Xingjian has a special place in world art, literature, and culture. He is known internationally as a writer of fiction and drama, a stage director, translator, painter, and film director. However, he is also a literary critic and theorist, and has been involved in various debates over the role of literature in politics and life.”
The huge impact of Gao’s works are properly noted: “Reading Gao’s works, whether fiction or drama, one feels caught in a maze of human relations in which distinctions are so blurred that it is difficult to know what the self is or what the other is not. Yet, it is in such relations that the complexities of the human mind and sense of self can be explored in depth.”
Reading Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation, which Gao himself has described to being the key to understanding his works, is a rewarding and enriching experience: “The essays translated and collected in this volume cover most of the issues Gao has faced in his creative writing, and they also constitute a dialogue between Eastern and Western aesthetics. Unlike many writers, Gao Xingjian is a seasoned critic and theorist who effectively and clearly expresses his arguments. Often at the forefront of debates on Chinese culture, politics, and literature, his views carry great weight with scholars and students in these fields. Mabel Lee, has done a very good job in rendering accurately the arguments in Gao’s theoretical works. Futhermore, the organization of the essays is well thought out, elucidating a pattern to Gao’s arguments that can lead to a better understanding not only of his ideas, but also of the various positions and debates underlying the important issues and topics he addresses.”
Kudos also go to Dr. Mable Lee, who has translated Gao’s previous works including the award-winning Soul Mountain and has outdone herself this time: “Mabel Lee deserves credit for doing far more than simply translating Gao’s writing. The essays are chosen and arranged carefully so as to allow the reader to discern a pattern of dialectical relations in the way Gao Xingjian has developed his ideas. It is also through Mabel Lee’s translations that many of Gao’s critical concepts, and their deep cultural connotations, are clarified and revealed in a new light.”
This book also provides a rare insider’s look: “As Gao Xingjian’s authorized translator, Mabel Lee has had the privilege to be engaged in continuous conversation with the author on many of his philosophical ideas. Hence, there is always ‘some insider’s insight’ in Lee’s translations.”
Finally, the review concludes with stating that “the book is a timely addition to the growing critical works and translations in Gao Xingjian studies. It also announces Gao (to English-language readers) as a major voice in literary aesthetics and politics, a Chinese Nobel Prize winner who remains a leading figure in creative circles and in dialogues and debates between China and the West. The English translations are easy to read and help to explain concepts of Gao’s that are not readily understood in Western languages. The work has been edited carefully and, while the language is appropriate for a critical work, technical terms have been explained and translated into common usage for lay readers. It is a beautifully produced book, with a cover that shows the writer Gao Xingjian engaged in deep introspection … highly readable and engaging.” Read the full MCLC review for Gao Xingjian: Aesthestics and Creation.
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