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Pearl S. Buck entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
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Pearl S. Buck, first US woman to win the Nobel prize in literature, was raised in a missionary family on illicit reading of novels from Victorian England and from a Chinese tradition of melodramatic, popular tales that were scorned by the literati. She began by writing stories and articles about China for American magazines. Her first book-length text (consigned not to publication but to a forgotten drawer) was a life of her recently-dead mother which simmers with rage at the forces which had shaped and warped her mother's life. Her first completed novel was destroyed in one of China's many local outbreaks of political violence. Her second published novel, The Good Earth, 1932, brought her unexpected international fame. After that she wrote for money and for good causes, reworking the rich material of her own experience in fiction and non-fiction (including memoir) which combats misogyny, xenophobia, racial and gender prejudice, and war.
Milestones
26 June 1892 Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker (later PSB, the first US woman Nobel laureate in literature) was born at her maternal grandparents' home in Hillsboro, West Virginia; her parents had already spent ten years in China as missionaries. Bibliographic Citation link.
2 March 1931 PSB shot to fame with her second novel, The Good Earth, published in the USA while she was in China, the first sympathetic, realistic portrayal in Western literature of a Chinese peasant family. Bibliographic Citation link.
6 March 1973 PSB, first US woman Nobel laureate in literature, died of lung cancer at Danby, Vermont, USA. Bibliographic Citation link.
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