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Mazzilli, Mary (2009) Gao Xingjian vs. Martin Crimp in between modernism and postmodernism. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis deals with the plays by Gao Xingjian- a Chinese contemporary playwright and Nobel Prize winner for literature in 2000- and Martin Crimp a contemporary English playwright. The plays from both authors will be looked at from a comparative perspective within the theoretical framework linked to the debate between modernism and postmodernism, as inspired by Calinescu's theory. Calinescu's theory is based on the idea that Postmodernism is a 'face of modernism': he speaks about recurrent aspects ('similarities') of Modernism in Postmodernism, not only in terms of the repetition of patterns from the past in the present culture, but in terms of a natural historical evolution of Modernism into new cultural forms. The aim of this thesis is, therefore, to prove Calinescu's idea of continuity between Modernism and Postmodernism through the work by the two playwrights and by doing this it inevitably demonstrates a link between two writers coming from two different continents, hence a connection between Eastern and Western Literature. This thesis carries out an investigation into the two \vriters' dramatic texts and searches for signs of modem and postmodern elements and highlights how these elements coexist. In particular, in each chapter the thesis will carry out a close reading analysis of one or more plays by each author: in the case of Gao, we focus on post-exile plays, written after he left China in 1986 and are analysed chronologically; in the case of Crimp, the plays in question are not in strict chronological order but almost in parallel order to Gao's plays as they were written from the 1990s up to the present day.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:15

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