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Pearl S Buck

Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction-1932 ( The Good Earth) ;Nobel Prize in Literature-1938,

Born: 26/06/1892 in Hillsboro, West Virginia, US

Died: 06/03/1973 in Danby, Vermont, USA of Lung Cancer. The grave marker was inscribed with Chinese characters representing her name Pearl Sydenstricker.

Citizen: American

Language: English

   Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu was born in US but soon after her birth, the family moved to China and stayed in Huai'an, Zhenjiang. Pearl mostly stayed in China till 1935 when she shifted to USA. She had a very thrilling experience of her childhood and early adolescence when she moved in two completely different worlds-- one protective, clean ambience of her home and the other of Chinese neighborhood with different language & customs. During Boxer Uprising, the family moved to Shanghai as the country sides were not safer.

     In 1911, Pearl went to USA to continue her college studies in Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia. In 1914, she returned to China, married in 1917 and stayed in Suzhou, Anhui Province which was a small town on the banks of Huai River. It was here that most parts of her novel Good Earth was written. From 1920-33, she stayed in Nanjing and taught English Literature in the University of Nanjing. In between, she had a brief stint in USA when she did her Master's Degree from Cornell University.

    The Nanking Incidence in March, 1927 changed her desire to stay in China. It was a period of clash between the Communist forces and the Nationalist troops of Chiang kai-Shek and assorted Warlords in which many  westerners were killed. Pearl and her family fled their home which was ransacked and took shelter in a poor peasant's house. Finally, they were rescued by American gun boats, moved to Shanghai and then to Japan. They returned back to China in late 1927.

    In 1929, Pearl went to USA for long term treatment of her daughter Carol who was suffering from Phenylketonurea, a rare genetic disease. While in USA, she came in contact with Richard Walsh, Editor of John Day Publishers in New York who volunteered to publish her novel, East Wind: West Wind. They had a romantic relationship which culminated in marriage after Pearl divorced her first husband in 1935. Walsh was a constant source of encouragement and stability to Pearl.

 Apart from writing, Pearl was engaged with a lots of issues such as feminism, child adoption, women's rights , immigration etc which were reflected in her writings. She was also instrumental in creating a healthy understanding about the land and people of China to the Western World.

Influence: Charles Dickens   

    Landmarks:* Pearl was heartbroken when she was prevented from visiting China with Richard Nixon in 1962. * She was honored in  1983 with a 5 Great Americans series postage stamp issued by the United States Postal Service

Notable Works: East Wind:West Wind(1930), The House of Earth Trilogy -- The Good Earth(1931), Sons (1933) , A House Divided(1935), Dragon Seed(1942), The Townsman (1945), Peony(1948), The Big Wave(1948), Imperial Woman(1956), Letter from Peking(1957), The Three Daughters of Madame Liang(1959), A Bridge for Passing(Autobiography,1962)

Pearl S Buck

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