Pearl S. Buck

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by Rippon, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    She was born 123 years ago --June 26,1892. She was quite the writer. I disagree with her theology --she openly declared she was not a Christian. She even received missioary support as a non-believer for a while. There are times when she mentions passages from the Bible that rankle her. And then I want to tell her "What in the world are you talking about?!" But her stories are fascinating. Most of her books are novels. Yet the first volume I ever read was non-fiction : My several Worlds, --back in 2011 when I first came to China.

    I had already read : Sons, A House Divided and Dragon Seed before I read her classic : The Good Earth.

    I never did finish : Peony

    I read only the Reader's Digest versions of Three Daughters Of Madame Liang, Imperial Woman and Letter From Peking.

    Others that I read and enjoyed were the full versions of : The Promise, Pavilion Of Women, The Patriot, Kinfolk, The Exile and Fighting Angel. The last two were non-fictional accounts of her mother and father respectively.

    One that touched me in particular was The Mother. In this novel she uses no character names --quite the feat. and it was written so simply. It just flows and you don't want it to end.

    Something tells me I am missing one or two from my listing. Oh well.

    Have any of you read her works?
     
    #1 Rippon, Jun 27, 2015
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  2. Scarlett O.

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    I've read The Good Earth and it disturbed me so. I understand the reasoning behind its winning the Pulitzer Prize. It is a profoundly well-written book.

    I know that this is what she saw happening, but it was difficult to read none the less.

    I've got the summer off, what else of hers would you suggest I read?
     
  3. Rippon

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    As I said, The Mother is very good. It's a unique book.

    The Exile is a bio of her mother. She wrote it shortly after her mother's death (in `1921)to keep her memory alive. But the book wasn't published until much later. It would have been awkward to have released in the last year of her father's life. He died in 1931. In The Exile Pearl was very critical of her dad --sometimes harshly so. Nonetheless she learned to love him in his final decade.

    Her dad's bio she called :The Fighting Angel. Both her parents were Presbyterian missionaries. Her dad was gone a lot --which she resented. And he was aloof. His bio is a shorter work than The Exile. In the latter Pearl repeats herself often.

    But both books offer a glimpse into Pearl's world. She was her mother's daughter, but not her father's daughter, at least that's how I would word it.

    Inter-library loans can save money.
     
  4. wpe3bql

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    FWIW, the so-called "New Mennonite Church" which my family attended (See some of WPE3BQL's postings in the "Mennonites and Anabaptists" thread for more of my "ramblings" on Mennonites.) considered Pearl S. Buck to be somewhat equivalent to more contemporary "Mother Teresa."

    Pearl Buck's home wasn't too far away from 18964. I don't recall exactly which town/area in "Bucks(!)" County (That is a real SE PA county, btw. BB's "Deacon" lives there.), but there was even a family in that "New Mennonite Church" who had adopted some Chinese children via Pearl Buck. (I guess that, among other things, adopting Chinese children was one of her various Chinese-related enterprises.)

    The nearest I ever came to having any "personal interfacing" with Pearl Buck would have been in 1956. WPE3BQL was 10 YO then, and my oldest sister & "former" BIL graduated from what was then Kutztown (PA) State Teachers College. (Kutztown is located approximately midway between the E PA cities of Reading & Allentown [about 10 mi. W of the major metropolis of Maxatawney!]. Crystal Cave is about 10 mi W of Kutztown.)

    Anyhow, Pearl Buck was KSTC's "featured speaker" for this graduation. Of course, WPE3BQL didn't actually physically attend the graduation services. Oh no! I was sentenced to stay in our 1952 Dodge 4-door sedan and, literally, "sweat it out" for what seemed to be several hours of "cruel & unusual punishment"!! :smilewinkgrin:
     
  5. Scarlett O.

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    I'm going to the library next week anyways to check out an Elisabeth Elliot book and some others. I'll see if my library has The Mother, too.

    Thanks.
     
  6. Deacon

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    Yeah, Pearl Buck lived for a while in Bucks County, in Perkasie, not too far away from where I live.
    I've passed her home many times but never visited. I think she was a Quaker.

    Her House of Earth Trilogy is a classic! The Good Earth sits on the top shelf of my fiction bookshelf, near Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.
    Both are disturbing and paint a picture of a historical reality we hopefully will never experience.
    Both were made into passable black and white movies that are still worth watching.

    I like reading dystopian and post apocalyptic novels - reality (even fictionalized) often is more harsh.

    Many authors lived nearby, James Mitchner (New Hope, PA) and Chaim Potok (The Promise, I've got a signed copy).

    Rob
     
    #6 Deacon, Jun 27, 2015
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  7. Scarlett O.

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    Ah, James Michener. Centennial!! Read it twice! The book was much better than the miniseries.
     
  8. Deacon

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    Ah the miniseries, your can't be that old!
    It's on Youtube in its entirety - I watched the whole thing a few months ago.
    The book was much better.

    Centennial, The Source and Chesapeake are my favorites.

    Rob
     
  9. Scarlett O.

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    I was in junior high or high school - it was the mid to late 70's, right?

    My dad was captivated by it and I was a "captive" audience! :laugh: I read it years later.
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I've read most of what Michener wrote....I loved his novels. Didn't know he lived in New Hope though!
     
  11. wpe3bql

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    Yeah, old Mitch & Buck were residents of Bucks County, PA. But neither of them can hold a candle to BB's "Deacon" :laugh::laugh:

    These days New Hope is somewhat of a "artist's/craft persons "commune." I haven't been there for years, but the last time I was there I bought a fairly nice sweatshirt there.

    The sweatshirt was probably made somewhere else (China or Bangledesh probably), but it did have "New Hope" on it.

    And, for you history buffs, once you visit New Hope, you can travel about 5-10 miles SE of New Hope and visit Washington's Crossing. Yep, that's where our 1st POTUS spent early Christmas morning in 1776 crossing the Delaware River into NJ to give the Hessians camped in/around the Camden NJ area a "Christmas present they probably didn't really care to receive." :thumbsup:
     
    #11 wpe3bql, Jun 27, 2015
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  12. Jerome

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    [AP] April 18, 1933

    Yeah, this is the same Dr. Cleland McAfee who supposedly invented the TULIP mnemonic. Oh, joy.
     
    #12 Jerome, Jun 27, 2015
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  13. Deacon

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    So Pearl Buck was a Presbyterian and not a Quaker....

    And I've been passing on some more bogus information (my memory seems to be failing)
    I looked up Michener, his home was in Doylestown, just a little bit more up the road from New Hope.

    I do remember rowing Jack Kelly, (a Philly politician and Princess Grace’s brother) across the Delaware one cold Christmas morning in the mid '70's during a Washington Crossing reenactment.

    Rob
     
    #13 Deacon, Jun 28, 2015
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  14. rsr

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    Her notoriety in a controversy over missions helped bring to a head the struggle between the modernist and traditional elements within the PCUSA (which Jerome referred to earlier). Gresham Machen, who unsuccessfully led the fight to reverse the trend within the mission board, eventually helped form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
     
  15. Jerome

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    Chester (Pa.) Times, May 2, 1933

    Not long after this she divorced him and married her publisher.
     
  16. Jerome

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    Syracuse Herald, May 18, 1933

    [Lucy Peabody was president of the Association of Baptists for Evangelism in the Orient.]
     
    #16 Jerome, Jun 28, 2015
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  17. Jerome

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    Huntingdon Pa. Daily News, May 18, 1933

     
  18. Rippon

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    Wow, Jerome is on a tear. This thread is centrally about P.S.B's books. I had mentioned in my OP that she was openly not a Christian, yet received missionary support despite that fact. She was hostile to the Christian faith. I know all that.

    I admire Gresham Machen very much. He was an ardent Calvinist. He had many correspondences with Ms. Buck. This is part of what she siad in tribute to him upon his death:

    "The man was admirable. He never gave in one inch to anyone. He never bowed his head. It was not in him to trim or compromise, to accept any peace that was less than trimph. He was a glorious enemy because he was completely open and direct in his angers and hatreds. He stood for something and everyone knew it."
     
  19. Crabtownboy

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    Another very good book by Pearl Buck is Letter from Peking. I did not see it mentioned it while looking at the replies on this thread.

    Concerning her faith:

     
    #19 Crabtownboy, Jun 28, 2015
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  20. wpe3bql

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    FWIW, Doylestown (pop. 8,380) is the county seat of Bucks County PA. The AAA claims that it is located in "one of PA's finest farming areas."

    It would be about 20 mi. southwest of New Hope. Its main highways would be US Rt. 202 & PA Rt. 611.

    One of my mother's sisters ("Aunt Kathryn Wimmer") worked for Bucks County as a secretary.

    She & my uncle lived in a nearby town called New Britain. New Britain is too small a town to appear in my atlas, but I'm sure "Deacon" would know where it is located.

    The location at which they lived in during the 1940's - early 1960's did have a rather large garden & WPE3BQL would often pick (& consume!) strawberries from it.

    They later moved to another part of New Britain in a house that my uncle practically built himself.
    This was the last house in which "Aunt Kathryn & Uncle 'Web'ster lived.

    She became quite bedridden and could do very little in her latter years (esp. make the best fried chicken WPE3BQL ever tasted!).

    Sadly, one day "Uncle Web" was cleaning the roof & the gutters after a storm when he lost his balance & fell to his death. Aunt Kathryn was in her wheelchair looking outside but could do nothing to help her husband.

    This was before the "cell phone" era. She had to literally wheel herself to the landline phone in their house to call for help for him.

    I sure that was probably the saddest day of her life.

    After he died, she was forced to enter a Lutheran nursing home near WPE3BQL's hometown. The last I saw her was in July, 2003, when I drove her to my mother's nursing home so she could be with her "older sister's" 90th [and last] birthday party.
     

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