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Program in British Studies

‘Pearl Buck and China’

Hillary Spurling LONDON

Fri, March 1, 2013 | Tom Lea Rooms, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center 3.206

2:45 PM - 4:30 PM

The Lecture by General Ramsbotham will be rescheduled: Hilary Spurling will instead speak on Pearl Buck.

Pearl Buck was the first person to make China accessible to the British as well as the American public, especially the latter.  She recreated the lives of ordinary Chinese people in The Good Earth, published in 1932. Overnight it became a worldwide bestseller and was read in India and elsewhere in the British Empire but above all in America. Later, during the cultural revolution in China, she was denounced as an ‘American cultural imperialist’.  Yet she carried on with her work, not only on China but on women’s rights,  becoming a dedicated publicist against racism, sex discrimination and the plight of the thousands of babies born to Asian women left behind and unwanted wherever American soldiers were based in Asia. During her life Buck combined the multiple careers of wife, mother, author, editor and political activist.


Hilary Spurling is a biographer, critic, and former literary editor of the Spectator.  Her books include a two-volume biography of Ivy Compton-Burnett (1974), Paul Scott: A Life (1990), and a two-volume life of Henri Matisse (1998-2005) listed by the New York Times as one of the Ten Best Books of the year. Pearl Buck in China was published in 2010. She is now writing a biography of Anthony Powell.

Sponsored by: Faculty Seminar on British Studies

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