Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Chinese are promoting Pearl Buck's work?

Wonders never cease. Author Pearl Buck's work used to be banned in China. Now it's being studied by academics, places associated with her are being turned into museums, and in general her books are being smiled upon even by government officials, according to The Resurrection of Pearl Buck by Sheila Melvin (The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2006). China’s Central Television network has even produced several documentaries and docudramas about Mrs. Buck, according to Melvin.

Who would have guessed?

The article includes a fair amount of biographical and historical background, including a short passage recounting the troubles MGM ran into when it tried to film part of The Good Earth in China in the mid-1930s. The movie, finally released in 1937, is available on DVD, by the way. (Barnes & Noble link: Good Earth)


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see the Chinese are acknowledging the value of literature.

I didn't care for The Good Earth when I read it in high school. Like the Chinese, I'm perhaps a bit more enlightened today. I should read it again.

Like the blog, by the way...


Kathryn Judson said...

Eric, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

I should probably duck for cover when I say this (I've met some fervent Pearl Buck fans) but I don't remember reading The Good Earth. I seem to remember making a stab at it but giving up. I'll probably give it another look, though, now that I know Buck's gaining in importance.

I just hopped over to your blog to check it out, by the way. I'll be back. It's interesting.

Anonymous said...

The Communists didn't like an American living among them, especially one who wrote about how hard life could be. When Ms. Buck returned to the USA, McCarthy didn't like her for being an American living among the Communists.

Besides her writing, she did some incredible things for woman's rights and devoted her life to helping children. She started the first adoption program for biracial children, and was the first white woman accepted into the NAACP.

Her farmhouse is now a national historic landmark, where her charitable foundation works. Admittedly, I'm biased because I work there - check out some of her stuff at

Anonymous said...


My real point was that we hosted a Chinese delegation several weeks ago. One reason the modern Chinese appreciate her so much is that she wrote about Chinese life during the Communist period, of which there is very little said in literature because of the oppressive censorship during the period. She helped them preserve a history of their rural spirit from a time when propaganda was the order of the day.

Kathryn Judson said...

Chris, Thanks so much for the info!