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Pearl S. Buck Return to the Timeline
Pearl S. Buck
Author Pearl Buck sitting at her desk with typewriter and paper, December 31, 1942.

Peter Stackpole/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Pearl S. Buck, (1892-1973), an American author, won the 1938 Nobel Prize for literature. She became best known for her books dealing sympathetically with life in China. Many of her works urged greater understanding between the peoples of Asia and the West.

Buck's best-known novel, THE GOOD EARTH (1931), won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize. It describes the life of Wang Lung, a Chinese peasant, whose love of the land sustains him through years of hardship. The book is the first in a series of three novels called THE HOUSE OF EARTH, which also includes SONS (1932) and A HOUSE DIVIDED (1935).

Pearl Sydenstricker was born in Hillsboro, W. Va. She grew up in China, where her parents were missionaries. She attended college in the United States but returned to China to teach. In 1917, she married John Buck, a U.S. agricultural expert living in China. They were divorced in 1935. That year, she married Richard John Walsh.

Pearl Buck's first book of fiction, EAST WIND: WEST WIND, was not published until 1930, when she was 38. But from that time until her death, she wrote more than 65 books, plus hundreds of short stories and essays. Her other novels set in the Far East include DRAGON SEED (1942), IMPERIAL WOMAN (1956), and THE LIVING REED (1963). She also wrote several novels with an American setting under the name John Sedges. Buck wrote two autobiographical works, MY SEVERAL WORLDS (1954) and A BRIDGE FOR PASSING (1964).

Bert Hitchcock, Ph.D., Hargis Professor of American Literature, Auburn University.

From THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA © 2007 World Book, Inc. By permission of the publisher. Visit World Book Encyclopedia for more information on Pearl S. Buck and related subjects.

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