through her numerous books toward correcting Westerners' distorted image of the
Chinese" ( H. Liu65). These articles are politically partial and have done much
injustice to her and her books.
Furthermore, Pearl Buck was, after all, an American, and so, when the
representative works of Chinese-Americans were selected or anthologized, she
was ineligible for consideration. For instance, The Heath Anthology of American
Literature is now the most multicultural collection, and one of the editors is Professor Amy Ling, whose specialty is multi-ethnic literature in the United
States and Chinamerican literature. She selected works on Chinese themes by Edith Maud Eaton [ 1865-1914], Maxine Hong Kingston [b. 1940], Amy Tan [b. 1952], Gish Jen [b. 1955], Cathy Song [b. 1955], and David Henry Hwang [b. 1957] among others. Pearl Buck would bridge the chronological gap between Eaton and Kingston nicely, but Pearl Buck was not anthologized, not because her
works have less artistic value than theirs, but because she had no Chinese blood.
In the traditional classification of literature by nationality and race she was again
an outsider, as she was when living in China, when attending Randolph-Macon
Woman's College, and when settling down in the United States. An excerpt of Younghill Kang East Goes West is included in the anthology, and in the
headnote, Elaine H. Kim mentioned that Kang once commented that "it was his
great misfortune that Pearl Buck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about China, The
Good Earth, was published in the same year as The Great Roof, eclipsing his
own tale of Asia" ( 1949). If Kang could live to see Ling's selection, he would
sigh, "Such is the fate of an outsider!"
See page 109 of Paul Doyle Pearl S. Buck. A passage is quoted from Dragon
Seed to demonstrate that it is "not far from the tone and manner of A Farewell to Arms."
It is really strange that she should judge so. See George A. Cevasco essay "Pearl Buck's Best Books" in Notes on Modern American Literature Summer 1981: 5 ( 3),
Even among those who defended Pearl Buck, some assumed that the Swedish
Academy was thinking of only The Good Earth, as Henry Seidel Canby put it in Saturday
Review of Literature on 11 November 1938: "[ The Nobel Committee] must be crowning
one book, a masterpiece which richly deserves exalted recognition . . . a unique book, and
in all probability belongs among the permanent contributions to world literature of our
See the New York Times. 24 December 1938: 13. The translations of the citation
are often slightly different. The word "genuine" instead of "generous" appears in most
of later quotations.
Pearl Buck's first response to the news that she had won the Nobel Prize was not
to believe it, thinking it was a practical joke the reporters played on her. After a verifying
phone call to Stockholm, she said the prize should have gone to Theodore Dreiser. See New York Times, 11 Nov. 1938: 1 or My Several Worlds, 77.
See My Several Worlds, p. 283.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Pearl S. Buck:A Cultural Bridge across the Pacific.
Contributors: Kang Liao - Author.
Publisher: Greenwood Press.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1997.
Page number: 44.
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