Friday, June 26, 2015

Pearl Buck was Born (June 26, 1892)

This week (June 26 – July 2) in literary history – Pearl Buck was born (June 26, 1892); First Newbery Medal for Children’s literature was awarded (June 27, 1922); Alice McDermott was born (June 27, 1953); Robert Louis Stevenson sets sail for the South Pacific (June 28, 1888); Western writer Emerson Hough was born (June 28, 1857); The Globe Theater burned down (June 29, 1613); Robert McCloskey died (June 30, 2003); Novelist George Sand was born (July 1, 1804); Novelist Hermann Hesse was born (July 2, 1877); Ernest Hemingway committed suicide (July 2, 1961)

Highlighted Literary Story of the Week -

On June 26, 1892, Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl Buck was born in West Virginia to parents on furlough from their missionary work in China. The family soon returned to China, where Buck lived for the better part of 40 years.

As a young child she learned to speak Chinese before English. Buck returned to the U.S. to attend college, then married an American agriculture specialist in China. The two settled down to live in the province. The couple later moved to Nanking to teach college.

In 1930, Buck created a literary sensation with The Good Earth. Her novel won the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes and was translated into 30 languages. In the 1930s, The Good Earth and other novels and stories by Buck were more widely read in Europe than those of any other American author. However, today few of her 80 novels and books retain as much interest as The Good Earth. She was awarded the Noble Prize in Literature in 1938, the first female American writer to win the award.

Buck created several charitable foundations for Asian-American children abroad, including an adoption agency. She spoke strongly against the internment of Japanese during World War II and wrote a letter of protest to The New York Times in 1954 that helped change immigration policy. She received many awards for her humanitarian activities. Buck died on March 6, 1973 in Danby, Vermont and was buried at her estate, Green Hills Farm in Perkasie, Pennsylvania.

Check back every Friday for a new installment of “This Week in Literary History.”

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of six nonfiction books that includes the award winning Literary Legends of the British Isles and America’s Literary Legends. Visit Michael’s website for more information. His books can be purchased from Amazon through the following links:

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