Intellectual consciousness and the negation of the intellectual class: Kuo Pao Kun’s pre-detention drama and its context
ABSTRACT Kuo Pao Kun (1939-2002) is the most important dramatist in contemporary Singapore. His post-1980s works are extensively analysed but his artistic practices of his early years, though equally important, have rarely been discussed, partly due to the fact that relevant materials are available mainly in Chinese. This article provides a close examination of Kuo’s work in the 1960s and 1970s. Starting with a detailed delineation of his personal experience in relation to the development of his social and intellectual and consciousness, my discussion situates Kuo and his work within several layers of context, including modern Chinese cultural and intellectual thought and activism, especially the May Fourth movement, and the anti-colonial social and political activism of the Chinese-speaking intellectual community in Singapore from the 1950s.
KEYWORDS: Kuo Pao Kun; Singapore theatre; Singapore Performing Arts School; intellectual class; cultural activism
Notes on contributor
Quah Sy Ren is Associate Professor of Chinese literature at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His publications include Scenes: A Hundred Years of Singapore Chinese Language Theatre 1913-2013 (2013), Gao Xingjian and Transcultural Chinese Theater (2004) and Keywords: Critical Terms for Chinese Literary Study (co-authored; 2013). He is also editor of several anthologies of Singapore Chinese-language literature, and general editor of The Complete Works of Kuo Pao Kun (2005-2012).