Pearl S. Buck

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PSB , 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.
Black and white photograph of Pearl S. Buck, shown from the shoulders up. She is wearing a light dress and a dark cardigan, with her wavy hair pulled loosely back.
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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.
Schlessinger, Bernard S., and June H. Schlessinger, editors. The Who’s Who of Nobel Prize Winners, 1901-1995. Oryx Press, 1996.
Spurling, Hilary. Pearl Buck in China. Simon and Schuster, 2010.
2-3
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.
Spurling, Hilary. Pearl Buck in China. Simon and Schuster, 2010.
192
Bitonti, Tracy Simmons. “Pearl S. Buck (26 June 1892-6 March 1973)”. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature, Part 1, Gale Research, 2007, pp. 210 - 25.
210
6 March 1973
PSB , first US woman Nobel laureate in literature, died of lung cancer at Danby, Vermont, USA.
Schlessinger, Bernard S., and June H. Schlessinger, editors. The Who’s Who of Nobel Prize Winners, 1901-1995. Oryx Press, 1996.
Spurling, Hilary. Pearl Buck in China. Simon and Schuster, 2010.
252

Biography

Birth and Background

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.
Schlessinger, Bernard S., and June H. Schlessinger, editors. The Who’s Who of Nobel Prize Winners, 1901-1995. Oryx Press, 1996.
Spurling, Hilary. Pearl Buck in China. Simon and Schuster, 2010.
2-3