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'Pearl Buck In China': A Child Across The Good Earth

来源:npr.org 作者:Maureen Corrigan 时间:2010-07-06 Tag:biography   author   literature   点击:

 

A portrait(肖像) of Pearl S. Buck taken during the 1920s, during the time she lived in Nanking. As a child, she lived in a small Chinese village called Zhenjiang.

July 1, 2010
Ever since her 1931 blockbuster(重磅炸弹) The Good Earth earned her a Pulitzer Prize(普利策奖) and, eventually, the first Nobel Prize for Literature ever awarded to an American woman, Pearl S. Buck's reputation(名誉) has made a strange, slow migration(迁移). These days, it's her life story rather than her novels (which are now barely read — either in the West, or in China) that's come to fascinate(使着迷) readers.

The big shift was set in motion(运转中) almost 15 years ago, when literary scholar Peter Conn lifted Buck out of mid-cult(中产阶级文化) obscurity in his monumental(雄伟的) biography called, simply, Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography. Now, award-winning biographer Hilary Spurling has made a case for a reappraisal(重新评估) of Buck's fiction and her life. Spurling claims that Buck had a "magic power — possessed by all truly phenomenal(非凡的) best-selling authors — to tap directly into(直接开发利用) currents of memory and dream secreted(被隐藏) deep within the popular imagination."

Spurling's book is called Pearl Buck in China, and after reading it, I've been motivated to dust off(掸去灰尘) my junior high copy of The Good Earth and move it to the top of my "must read again someday" pile(一堆). Following Conn's lead, Spurling further succeeds in making Buck herself a compelling(使人非注意不可的) figure, transforming her from dreary(枯燥的) "lady author" into woman warrior(战士).

Spurling's biography focuses almost exclusively(专门地) on Buck's Chinese childhood, as the daughter of zealous(热情的) Christian missionaries(传教士), and young adulthood, as the unhappy wife of an agricultural reformer based in an outlying area of Shanghai. Buck was born Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker in 1892 and, from her earliest days, she was much more than a cultural tourist. She roamed(漫游) freely around the Chinese countryside, where she would often come upon the remains(遗体) of abandoned baby girls, left for the village dogs, and she would bury them. Buck's first language was everyday Chinese, and she grew up listening to village gossip and reading Chinese popular novels, like The Dream of The Red Chamber, which were considered sensational by intellectuals(知识分子), as her own later novels would be.

Buck's father, Absalom, was often away, traveling over his mission field (an area as big as Texas), preaching blood-and-thunder(紧张激烈的) sermons(讲道) to often hostile Chinese passersby. After the first "ten years he had spent in China," Spurling tells us, "[Absalom] had made, by his own reckoning, ten converts(皈依者)." The young Buck and her family lived at subsistence level(贫困生存线) in houses that were little more than shacks(窝棚) and apartments on streets thronged with(被挤满) bars and bordellos(妓院). They managed to survive the Boxer Rebellion(义和团运动) and the subsequent(接下来的) violence that heralded(预示) the advance of the Chinese Nationalists(民族主义者).

By the time she arrived as a charity student at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Virginia, Buck was indelibly(不可磨灭地) alienated from(疏远) her American counterparts(对等物). "Girls came in groups to stare at me," wrote Buck, remembering her first harsh college days some 50 years later. She was set apart not only by her out-of-date clothes made by a Chinese tailor, but also by her extraordinary life experiences.

注:赛珍珠(Pearl S. Buck或Pearl Buck,1892年6月26日-1973年3月6日),美国作家,在中国长大,美国国籍。1932年籍其小说《大地》(The Good Earth),成为第一位获得普利策小说奖的女性;1938年获诺贝尔文学奖。她也是唯一同时获得普利策奖和诺贝尔奖的女作家,作品流传语种最多的美国作家。详细资料参见http://baike.baidu.com/view/68113.html?wtp=tt

 


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