This book is a relatively solitary undertaking of studying a relatively solitary American writer. All the more, therefore, I appreciate the help, advice, and encouragement so kindly and generously offered to me by a few friends, professors, and family members. Without them, I could not have completed my studies.
First of all, I must give my thanks to Governor Gaston Caperton, who not only has supported me in studying Pearl S. Buck at West Virginia University but also has been encouraging me to study English and the Western culture ever since we met at Beijing Normal University in the autumn of 1979.
I am also grateful to Professor R.W.B. Lewis of Yale University, who first gave me a hand to make it possible for me to be a visiting scholar and to do research work in this country. He has continuously given me advice and encouragement to study Pearl S. Buck, among other American writers.
I am in debt to Professor Avery Gaskins, the director of my dissertation committee, and to Professor Wesley Bagby, Professor William French, Professor Frank Scafella, and Professor Hayden Ward, all members of the committee, who have gone out of their way to direct my studies of a subject unpopular in the academic world. I thank them for giving me confidence when I desperately needed it and for offering me valuable advice on how to improve my dissertation. I should also mention Professor Rudolph Almasy, Professor Patrick Conner, Professor Elaine Ginsberg, and Professor Arthur Buck, whose advice and assistance helped me keep working on my dissertation from which this book is converted.
Among many professors in Beijing Normal University, I want to thank Professor Nengjee Shih as a representative teacher, from whom I learned more English than from any other professors. I also want to thank Professor Hsingju Yuan, who alone expressed regret but understanding of the decision I made under the stern circumstances of 1989, for this book is one of the fruits of that