Top 24 Gao Xingjian Quotes

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“It’s in literature that true life can be found. It’s under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth.”

― Gao Xingjian

“If you want to do anything, do it now, without compromise or concession, because you have only one life.”

― Gao Xingjian

“If you’re not perfectly conscious of yourself, that self can be tyrannical; in relationship to others, anyone can become a tyrant. That’s why no one can be a Superman. You have to go beyond yourself with a ‘third eye’ – self-awareness – because the one thing you cannot flee is yourself.”

― Gao Xingjian

“I don’t want to be a strong hero who can save society. I just want to save myself.”

― Gao Xingjian

“When you use words, you’re able to keep your mind alive. Writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Love is so holy, so confusing. It makes a man anxious, tormented. Love, how can I define it?”

― Gao Xingjian

“The destruction of Chinese traditional culture didn’t start in 1949. It started long before that, with the succession of revolutions. It was particularly bad during the Cultural Revolution, the destruction of traditional Chinese culture.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Observing humans and observing oneself yields a clear-minded starting point for literature.”

― Gao Xingjian

“As a male writer, women are always what men pursue, and their world is always a mystery. So I always tried to present as many views as possible on women’s worlds.”

― Gao Xingjian

“In the history of literature there are many great enduring works which were not published in the lifetimes of the authors. If the authors had not achieved self-affirmation while writing, how could they have continued to write?”

― Gao Xingjian

“Experience has taught me that any kind of political grouping is oppressive. It’s the blind mass that crushes the individual.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Literature is higher than politics, if not actually above politics.”

― Gao Xingjian

“I was born Chinese, and I write in Chinese. I don’t think there’s any need to evade this… to a writer, as to a person, what matters is not his political label or his nationality, but whether he is a person and whether his work is worth looking at.”

― Gao Xingjian

“A writer has to fully defend his rights and his own worth.”

― Gao Xingjian

“When fashion sweeps in, artists follow suit. I think this is the malady of contemporary art.”

― Gao Xingjian

“When I lived in China, my works were already being banned, and I couldn’t publish. In those days, when I was in China, I was writing for myself, so that’s the process of writing for myself that was the most important thing.”

― Gao Xingjian

“When I completed writing ‘Soul Mountain,’ I more or less closed the accounts with China for myself. I was 50 years old when I left, so China is already within me.”

― Gao Xingjian

“When I first heard that I had won the prize, I thought that it was something for myself, that it was something personal, recognition of my writings. But there is such a strong reaction from Chinese people in particular. It’s been very passionate, overwhelming and passionate, Chinese people from all over the world.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Various political parties, even if they’re in direct opposition with one another, still say they are the spokesperson for the people. The writer must speak his own words and not get mixed up with politics.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Freedom is the basic prerequisite for writing.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Literature transcends national boundaries, racial boundaries. It goes deep into the issues that concern all human beings. That is why, when people read Greek tragedy – it doesn’t matter who reads it – they are still moved by it.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Literature hasn’t come up with any new themes. The literature of all different times – it’s still dealing with how one resolves issues of existence.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Many intellectuals feel themselves to be Supermen who are spokesmen for the people. But in my opinion, they’re to be pitied. Under Mao’s dictatorship, these poor sheep suffered the same fate as everyone else.”

― Gao Xingjian

“Since childhood, I’d dreamed of making a film, but producers in France and Germany wanted to make commercial films with chinoiserie. I refused.”

― Gao Xingjian
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