Cambria Press Author Liu Jianmei – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Professor Liu Jianmei, Professor of Chinese Literature at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, gave a speech about her book, Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics, coedited with Mabel Lee, at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Professor Liu Jianmei’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

Cambria Press Publication Author Liu Jianmei

“I will jump right to the first question people ask about our book, which is what does your book bring that is new to Gao Xingjian studies? Previous studies on Gao Xingjian usually focus on particular areas of his fiction, plays, painting, film or poetry, or used his essays to explore his ideas on literature and creative aesthetics. This new book, which I have coedited with Mabel Lee, aims to cross the boundaries of these media, and to provide a comprehensive investigation of Gao Xingjian’s creations and ideas. The purpose of this is to showcase his transcultural, transdisciplinary, and transmedia explorations, and examine how he has persistently projected the struggles and agonies of the individual’s inner landscape into vivid images on stage, in films, in black-and-white paintings, and in the multilayered narrative expressions in fiction and poetry, and even in dance and music.

The second question people ask is what is different in your approach to this volume? Well, this volume crosses the boundaries of traditional academic writing and takes the reader to the in-between spaces of different styles of writing, research, and commentary, which help us better understand Gao’s endeavors in literary, theatrical, and pictorial creation and their accompanying philosophical insights. The chapters in this book transgress the boundaries of different media and genres—fiction, drama, poetry, painting, film—in their deliberations, and these diverse approaches serve to broaden the scope of Gao Xingjian research through what can be described as a dimension of heightened freedom, that is suggestive of Chan Buddhist comprehension. Gao Xingjian often states that for him creative innovations emerge at boundaries and in-between space. The aim of this collection thus seeks to explore such boundaries and in-between spaces in academic research on Gao Xingjian.

Finally, I want to thank Toni Tan and Victor Mair for their strong support of our new book. I also want to thank our contributors for their excellent essays and David Armstrong for his patience and help through the whole process of publication. We are really grateful to Cambria Press.

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About the book

Since Gao Xingjian’s Nobel win in 2000 he has demonstrated his profound erudition across cultures in his creative explorations in literature and the visual arts. His intense intellectual curiosity can seldom be matched by his contemporaries, and his creative achievements in literature, the dramatic arts, painting, and film have been extraordinary, and have been reflected in his aesthetic treatises on art and literature. English-language publications have been in the forefront of Gao Xingjian research since the 1980s, and this book fills a Gao Xingjian research hiatus simply because it is hard to keep abreast of his stridently innovative creations. This volume brings readers up to date on Gao Xingjian, who is probably in this age of uncertainties, one of the foremost aesthetes in literature and the visual arts.

Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics demonstrates the extensive reach of Gao Xingjian’s transcultural, transdisciplinary and transmedia explorations. Showcased here is the panoramic aesthetics of a polymath who has successfully personified modern-time renaissance by projecting the struggles of the individual’s inner landscape into vivid images on stage, film, black-and-white paintings, and in the multilayered narrative expressions of fiction and poetry, even dance and music, to evoke a sense of sincerity and authenticity that penetrates a viewer/reader’s heart. The volume is divided into four parts: philosophical inquiry; transdiscipline, transgenre, transculture; cine-poems with paintings, dance and music; and identifying and defining the self. The chapters probe different aspects of Gao Xingjian’s work, bearing testimony to their diverse specializations.

This book will appeal to Chinese literature scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and general readers with an interest in the broad subjects of contemporary Chinese literature, high arts, avant-garde culture, women’s and gender studies, Sinophone film and transmedia culture, comparative literature, and cultural studies.

Title: Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics
Editors: Mabel Lee and Liu Jianmei
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979466
362 pp.  |   2018   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage:

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Double Book Launch & Distinguished Professor Lecture by Mabel Lee

Professor Mabel Lee, Distinguished Professor in the “Chinese Culture in a World Context” research project at the Open University of Hong Kong, will be giving a lecture “Transcending Cultural Traditions: Lu Xun and Gao Xingjian” on March 19 (Monday) at 2:30 p.m. at the OUHK Main Campus in the B0614, 6/F. Professor Lee is best known for her translations of Nobel Laureate of Literature Gao Xingjian’s writings and as coeditor of The University of Sydney East Asian Series (1986–2000). There will also be a double launch of Professor Lee’s latest books, Painting History: China’s Revolution in a Global Context by Shen Jiawei and Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics (coedited with Liu Jianmei, HKUST). The two books have just been published and will also be launched at the Cambria booth (109) at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Mabel Lee

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MCLC book review nails it on why this book by Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian needs to be read by all in literary studies!

Cambria Press Gao Xingjian Nobel laureate

“A beautifully produced book … highly readable and engaging.” – MCLC

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.

This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Dr. Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

This will be an amazing gift for the holiday season! Enjoy a 35% discount + FREE shipping on this impressive hardcover book by using the web coupon code WINTER35.
Click on Buy for Regular Book, and enter the web coupon code. The discount and free shipping will apply during the checkout. The offer ends on December 15, 2013! Questions? E-mail sales[at]

Get the Cambria Press e-book version of this book today and read it on your kindle, iPad, or e-reader of your choice today. Don’t forget to recommend this Cambria Press book to your colleagues and librarians!

This book will be on display at the Cambria Press MLA booth in January and at the Cambria Press AAS booth in March. Cambria Press will be right in front of the exhibit hall entrance at both conferences.

See also the 2013 MLA book launch reception (videos included!) for Gao Xingjian–all his sessions were packed and many also enjoyed meeting him at the Cambria Press booth.

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#LiteraryStudies #CreativeWriting #aesthetics #LiteraryCriticism #WorldLiterature

Editors’ Favorite: Book by Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian!

Cambria Press - Editors' Favorite! Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation

Editors’ Favorite! Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation

Congratulations to Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian and Mabel Lee for Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation being picked as an editors’ favorite by Cerise Press, a journal of literature, arts, and culture!

The book review praises the “long-awaited” book “an illuminating read” casting light on how “Gao relentlessly probes the boundaries between languages, literature, theater, cinema and painting.”

To commemorate this and by request, this beautiful hardcover book will be made available for only $39.95 (list price $109.99) until August 12, 2013.

Find out why Gao states that “The pressure of globalisation on serious literary creation continues to increase unabated” as well as other important insights he provides. This is most rewarding book for writers and literary scholars, so be sure to take advantage of the special price for this brilliant book by a Nobel Prize Winner in Literature! This book is part of the prestigious Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Dr. Victor Mair. It was launched at the 2013 MLA annual convention and it was received with great enthusiasm both at sessions for Gao Xingjian and at the Cambria Press booth.

All you need to do is:

  1. Register on the Cambria Press website
  2. Click Buy Book
  3. Enter Nobel39 in the Coupon Box and click GO
  4. Proceed to Checkout

This special price is available to individuals and organizations, so spread the word!

If you have any problems ordering, please send an e-mail to sales[at]

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AAS 2013 Highlight: Cambria Sinophone World Series (Editor: Victor H. Mair)

The "maneki-neko" (beckoning cats, bidding good fortune)

The “maneki-neko” (beckoning cats, bidding good fortune) is featured for this post, just as it is on the 2013 AAS program cover that showcases a photo taken in Shizugawa by Dr. Theodore Bestor.

Cambria Press  will be showcasing five new books for the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Professor Victor H. Mair at the 2013 Asian Studies Association (AAS) annual conference in San Diego next week!

These new books, which were published by Cambria Press between August 2012  and January 2013, are:

  1. Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World by E. K. Tan
    Rethinking Chineseness was published just in time for the MLA annual convention in Boston, thanks to the incredibly diligent Professor E. K. Tan who worked relentlessly with Cambria Press to accomplish this. The book is being extremely well received and has been lauded by top Sinophone studies experts, including Shu-mei Shih, the scholar who is widely credited for coining the term Sinophone and is on the Cambria Sinophone World Series editorial board.
  2. Confucian Prophet: Political Thought In Du Fu’s Poetry (752–757) by David K. Schneider
    Professor Jonathan Chaves (George Washington University) praises this book for being “the best study of a single Chinese poet I have seen in decades. And the best study of Du Fu known to me.” He further adds that “David Schneider goes beyond previous works in revealing what might be called the source of Du Fu’s gravitas” and “gives us some of the very finest translations of Du Fu we now possess.” This book has been published just in time for the 2013 AAS annual conference!
  3. A Study of Two Classics: A Cultural Critique of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and The Water Margin by Liu Zaifu (translated by Shu Yunzhong)
    Not a work of literary criticism in the conventional sense but rather a cultural/ideological critique, this book by renowned critic Liu Zaifu is the first to focus exclusively on how the harmful cultural values of the two classics  are received and reinforced in contemporary China. Drawing draws inspiration from May Fourth intellectuals, particularly Lu Xun, and from a wide range of works by Western scholars, Liu Zaifu engages in cultural comparison both implicitly and explicitly and poses critical questions about modernity and modernization. This is a highly illuminating must-read.
  4. Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation by Gao Xingjian (translated by Mabel Lee)
    In this long-awaited book by Nobel Prize Winner in literature Gao Xingjian, he exposes the political dynamics of so-called “modernity” in Western literature and art and how this has been enthusiastically embraced in China since the 1980s.analyses traditional and modern European and Chinese notions of fiction, theatre, and art, and elaborates on what aspects of writers and artists from both cultures have informed him in developing his own aesthetics in narration, performance, and the visual arts. This extremely rewarding and thought-provoking read throws open how literature and art as a creative human pursuit should not be demarcated by national or cultural boundaries. Not surprisingly, this book was a huge hit at the MLA, and sessions with Gao Xingjian and Mabel Lee were packed.
  5. The Classic of Changes in Cultural Context: A Textual Archaeology of the Yi jing by Scott Davis
    Focusing on the archaic core of the Classic of Changes, this unprecedented study proposes a structural anthropological analysis. Indeed a bold and powerful attempt at modeling an ancient culture in a way never before conceived sociologically, this study is a profound auto-ethnography that teaches about the philosophical anthropology of its makers and prepares the way for further understanding of later classical texts. A truly innovative study, this has been hailed as “the most empirically rigorous and interpretively challenging material that I know of right now in Yijing studies.” by Denis Mair, the well-known yijing expert (Read the entire review at the Cambria Press blog.)

Some of these titles were recently launched in January at the MLA annual convention in Boston. See Cambria Press authors Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Gao Xingjian and Professor E. K. Tan with their newly published books and watch the speeches given at the MLA reception for the Cambria Press book launch of Gao Xingjian’s book!

Cambria Press is offering  the following special promotions to celebrate the publication of these titles for the series:

1) A 30% discount is being provided for AAS members and their institutions until April 30, 2013. Use web coupon code NobelGXJ. Libraries can use this too. You can also pick up a book list and order form at the Cambria Press booth (#201). An online version of the booklist will be made available soon too.

2) A booth sale special—$40 on ALL titles for purchases made at the Cambria Press booth (#201) in the AAS exhibit hall!

3) A lucky draw will be held for a complimentary copy of Gao Xingjian’s latest book (Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation) signed by Gao Xingjian himself!

To enter this draw, all you need to do is drop off your business card at the Cambria Press booth (#201) at the AAS exhibit hall!

Spread the word! Like Cambria Press on Facebook at and share this link on your Facebook page!

See also outstanding reviews for other Cambria Press titles in Asian studies!  

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Must-See Videos of Speeches at MLA Reception for Gao Xingjian, Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature – Cambria Press Book Launch

The 2013 MLA annual convention in Boston was extremely well attended–Rosemary Feal and the wonderful MLA staff should be congratulated not only for reaping such outstanding numbers this year but also for having Gao Xingjian, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, in attendance!

It was the best conference experience for Cambria Press yet! There were also other factors that contributed to this particular convention being a stellar one for Cambria Press.

First, Professor Victor Mair, general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, along with esteemed editorial board members such as Professor Shu-mei Shih (UCLA), Professor Haun Saussy (University of Chicago), and Professor Liu Jianmei (University of Maryland / Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), attended this MLA annual convention to participate in critical sessions on Sinophone studies. Unfortunately, Professor David Der-wei Wang (Harvard University) and Professor Jing Tsu (Yale University) were not able to attend as planned due to unexpected circumstances.

Second, it was encouraging to see a greater (and much-needed) international representation in the MLA sessions. As far as Sinophone studies is concerned, many individuals have pressed hard for this, but special credit must be accorded to Professor Christopher Lupke for his steadfast pushing, which was definitely fruitful–there were not only more sessions this year, but every session saw rooms so crowded that atttendees had to stand or sit on the floor!

Third, Professor E. K. Tan (SUNY Stony Brook) was on hand to see his book, Rethinking Chineseness, for the first time, as were Gao Xingjian and Dr. Mabel Lee (University of Sydney) who flew in from France and Australia respectively for the launch of Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation.

A reception was held for Gao Xingjian, during which Dr. Mabel Lee, Professor Victor Mair, and Professor Song Xiaoping delivered brilliantly eloquent speeches about Gao Xingjian and his works. This was then followed by Gao Xingjian himself giving a moving, heartfelt speech and participating in a question-and-answer session. Watch the various speeches (in order of sequence) below:

Cambria Press MLA Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian Reception – Speech by Dr. Mabel Lee

Cambria Press MLA Reception for Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian – Book Launch by Professor Victor Mair

Cambria Press MLA Reception for Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian – Introduction

Cambria Press MLA Reception for Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian – Gao Xingjian’s Speech (Part 1)

Cambria Press MLA Reception for Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian – Gao Xingjian’s Speech (Part 2)

Gao Xingjian also participated in two sessions, Gao Xingjian on Literature and Theater and A Creative Conversation with Gao Xingjian that were all, unsurprisingly, packed.

Cambria Press Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation

MLA 2013: A Creative Converstion with Gao Xingjian

Cambria Press Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation

Gao Xingjian’s sessions were packed, with all seats taken and no standing room left.

It will be a challenge to top such an exceptional experience, but we will certainly try as we look forward to the 2014 MLA annual convention in Chicago!

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Visit the Cambria Press booth at the Asian Studies Association (AAS) conference in San Diego in March!
You can also see us at the Cambria Press booth at the International Studies Association (ISA) convention in San Francisco in April!

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MLA 2013: Reception for Gao Xingjian and Cambria Press Book Launch by Victor Mair

Cambria Press Gao Xingjian Mabel Lee Victor Mair MLA

MLA 2013 (Jan 3): Book Launch Reception – Dr. Mabel Lee (University of Sydney); Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Gao Xingjian; and Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania), general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series.

Cambria Press Gao Xingjian MLA Book Launch Mabel Lee Victor Mair

MLA 2013: Book Launch Reception for Gao Xingjian – Dr. Mabel Lee (University of Sydney) introduces Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania), general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series.

Cambria Press MLA Book Launch Reception Gao Xingjian Victor Mair

MLA 2013 Reception for Gao Xingjian: Speech by Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian after Professor Victor Mair’s launch

MLA 2013 Reception for Gao Xingjian: Professor Victor  Mair (University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Mabel Lee (University of Sydney) with Gao Xingjian.

Cambria Press MLA Reception Gao Xingjian Mabel Lee Song Xiaoping Diane Burrowes

MLA 2013 Reception: Song Xiaoping (Norwich University), Toni Tan (Cambria Press), Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian, Mabel Lee (University of Sydney), and Diane Burrowes (HarperCollins).

MLA 2013 Reception (left to right): Professor Song Xiaoping (Norwich University), Toni Tan (Cambria Press), Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian, Dr. Mabel Lee (University of Sydney), and Diane Burrowes (HarperCollins).

A reception for Gao Xingjian was held on Jan 3 at the 2013 MLA annual convention. Dr. Mabel Lee commenced the reception by introducing Professor Victor  Mair, general editor of the  Cambria Sinophone World Series, who delivered an eloquent and meaningful speech about Gao Xingjian and the evolution of his work, which include his paintings, films, presentations, and writing (such as his books published with HarperCollins: Soul Mountain, One Man’s Bible, and Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather), leading up to his new book Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation (which is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series). Following Professor Mair’s launch, Gao Xingjian made a speech, which was helpfully translated by Professor Song Xiaoping to the audience, which included French consulate dignitaries and scholars from all over the world. We were thrilled and honored to have Rosemary Feal, executive director of the MLA, as well! A video of the speeches will be posted, so check back in soon!

There were also two large screens that displayed slideshows of Gao Xingjian‘s famous ink paintings. Gao Xingjian’s exquisite masterpieces have been displayed at many museums and festivals, including the Prague Writers’ Festival.

There were also many MLA attendees who came specially for Gao Xingjian, including Professor Christopher Lupke (Washington State University), who organized many events, and Professor Liu Jianmei (University of Maryland), who flew in all the way from Hong Kong.

Cambria Press is deeply grateful to Mabel Lee, Song Xiaoping, Victor Mair, the French consulate, Diane Burrowes and Harper Collins, and Rosemary Feal and the wonderful MLA staff for making this incredible event happen.

A video of the speeches will be posted, so check back in soon!

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