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A year after receiving the 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature, Gao Xingjian, who had been exiled from China in 1987, remarked that he had to embark on a “second escape” from the “public’s halo, flowers, prizes, and crown.” In this paper, I argue that Gao’s “second escape” is not a literal rejection of fame, but rather the situating of the monumentalizing effects of the Nobel’s prestige as a subject of his transmedial reflection. In his first major post-Nobel project – l’année Gao (The Year of Gao, 2003–2005), Gao portrays death in five different expressions (paintings, poetry, theatre, opera, and cinema) that echo and respond to each other, thereby presenting a coherent attempt to restore his sense of fragility and autonomy as a Nobel laureate.

Open Access
In: Journal of World Literature