Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Another View of China June 6, 2010

Filed under: Ageing,Authors,Books,China,History,Hong Kong,Writing — Janet @ 12:04 pm

Just published this year is a new biography of Pearl Buck by Hilary Spurling.  Pearl lived in China for most of her younger years and she identified strongly with the Chinese people.  Of missionary background, she had conflicting loyalties all her life.  She was born in 1882 in West Virginia.  Her missionary parents returned to China when she was 3 months old.   Most of her years were spent in China until 1934 when she left China for good.  She is possibly remembered best for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Good Earth.  It topped the best seller lists in the early 1930’s.   However, she had a prodigious literary output and in 1938 she was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

  Burying the Bones by Hilary Spurling

  you can see that the subtitle of the book is Pearl Buck in China.  Most of this biography is devoted to that time in her life.  Much of her writing is indeed autobiographical and derives from her years in China.  When she left in 1934 she was in her early 50’s and lived to the age of 80, writing prodigiously all that time.  The picture shown here is Pearl in 1938 when she won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

  Pearl in 1932 (from wikipedia)

  photo from wikipedia

Pearl died in 1980 and is buried in Vermont.  If she had lived longer, I wonder what she would have thought of the handover ceremony in Hong Kong in 1997.

  Robin Cook, Cheri Blair, Prince Charles, Chris Patton – Hong Kong, 1997   (photo from wikipedia)

In any event, I found Burying the Bones a fascinating biography and I plan to reread The Good Earth and be on the lookout for some of her other writing.


3 Responses to “Another View of China”

  1. Joanna Says:

    I have never read a Pearl Buck novel. I will have to amend that. Maybe then, I will know the name of the character who keeps turning up in crossword puzzles.

  2. Freyalyn Says:

    My grandparents had a couple of Pearl Buck books, very old hardbacks, that I read when we were staying with them every summer (they lived in Devon). I think I read the first one when I was under ten, and that was over thirty years ago now. I must re-read, as my memories are a bit confused, but I know it greatly moved me.

    Your blog is so interesting, and reminds me of so many things in my own life even though it’s so different.

  3. Leigh Says:

    I really enjoyed her autobiography, “My Several Worlds.” I read several of her works after that, but it was a very long time ago.

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