Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Bridge across the Pacific

By Kang Liao | Go to book overview

American literature as far as understanding China is concerned. Some scholar said, "China changed, but Pearl Buck did not change with it" (qtd. in Thomson 15). How different is China now from what we read in her books? How much is it still fundamentally the same? How different are the three-quarters of China's population, the peasants and farmers, from what they were at her time? How different is their relationship with land and with each other now from then? How valuable is it still to learn about China by reading Pearl Buck? What in her suggestions about the issues of racial and sexual equality and cultural conflict and confluence is still valid or valuable to us? How much influence, if any, did she have on the mainstream of American literature? Has any Chinese literary theory or style used in the books she wrote and translated been adopted by other writers of this country? What did we Chinese learn about ourselves from her books? What more can we learn now that we are no longer haunted by rabid nationalism and radical ideologies as we were in those fifty years from the 1930 to 1980?

With these questions rather than answers to them I end this book in the ope that more students and scholars will read and study Pearl Buck, who, I believe, is an indispensable figure in the cultural exchange and studies across the Pacific.


NOTES
1.
These "Rural Literature" writers' representative works are: Wang Renshu (Ba Ren's) "The Tired," Peng Jiahuan "The Cow of Uncle Chen Sih," Wang Sidian "The Paralytic," Pan Hsun "The Heart of the Country," Hsu Chinwen "The Native Land," and Hsu Yunor "A Worn-out Shoe." For detailed discussion of the Chinese "Rural Literature" in the mid-1920s, see Huang Hsujee A Concise History of the Contemporary Chinese Literature, pages 90-95.
2.
For details of the creation, revision, and reviews of the opera see section 2, chapter 16, volume 3 of A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature by Tang Tao and Yan Jiayan, pp. 259-269. The responses to the opera quoted later are also from this part of the book. The English translation is mine.

-137-

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Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Bridge across the Pacific
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of World Literature ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - A Paradoxical Enigma 1
  • Notes 15
  • 2 - A Neglected Laureate 17
  • Notes 44
  • 3 - A Single-Handed Crusader 47
  • Notes 82
  • 4 - A Multicultural Mediator 83
  • Notes 118
  • 5 - A Historic Mirror 121
  • Notes 137
  • Index 173
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