Buck, Pearl


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Buck, Pearl (Comfort b. Sydenstricker)

(1892–1973) author; born in Hillsboro, W.Va. She was raised among Chinese children by American missionary parents in Chinkiang, China, and apart from attending Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Virginia, lived in China until she was 40. In 1922 she began writing on Chinese life for American magazines. Her second novel, The Good Earth (1931), won the Pulitzer Prize; still her best known book, it sold two million copies, established Buck as the foremost Western interpreter of China, and gained her the Nobel literature prize (1938). The literary establishment disdained Buck's prolificacy, sentimentality, and didacticism, and many of Buck's 80 volumes of novels, translations, and memoirs quickly faded; her Chinese fiction in particular lost its immediacy after her move to the U.S.A. (1935); nevertheless, she engendered widespread sympathetic public awareness of China. She established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation (1964) and sponsored humanitarian work on behalf of Asian-American and retarded children.

Buck, Pearl

 

Born June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia. American writer.

A missionary’s daughter, Pearl Buck spent her childhood and youth in China. In 1929 she published the novel East Wind: West Wind. In 1931 she published The Good Earth, a novel about a Chinese village (Russian translation, 1936). After moving to the USA, she continued to write about China, publishing Sons (1932; Russian translation, 1935) and A House Divided (1934; Russian translation, 1936).

During World War II, Pearl Buck wrote antifascist essays and pamphlets, including one on American-Soviet friendship (A Conversation About Russia, 1945). She published social and family novels about American life in the 1950’s under the pseudonym J. Sedges. Her novel, Command the Morning (1959), presents American scientists who are forced to create, an atomic bomb and who react to this in different ways. Proceeding from the point of view of abstract Christian democratism, Buck demands equality for Negroes and the abolition of colonialism. She was awarded the Nobel Prize (1938).

WORKS

Big Wave. New York, 1948.
One Bright Day. New York, 1950.
My Several Worlds: [A Personal Record]. New York, 1954.

REFERENCES

Krupskaia, N. K. [Retsenziia na kn. B. Zemlia.] Krasnyi bibliotekar’, 1934, no. 11.
Elistratova, A. “Kitai vne istorii.” Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1935, no. 9.
Elistratova, A. “Perl Bak—Mat’.” International’naia literatura, 1936, no. 9.
Eishiskina, N. “Mirnyi li atom?” Inostrannaia literatura, 1960, no. 6.