№2 2017

УДК / UDK: 82-821.111(73)

Author: Olga Yu. Panova
About the author:

Olga Yu. Panova (Doctor Hab. in Philology; Lomonosov Moscow State University, Professor; A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow; Senior Researcher),

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The article explores Pearl S. Buck’s contacts with the Soviet Union and her literary reputation there. Since 1934 and up to the war (1943) her works have been regularly published and actively discussed by literary critics (S. Tretyakov, A. Elistratova, G. Mublit, M. Levidov and others) in the USSR. In their essays a set of ideologically bound clichés quickly was formed which determined Buck’s literary reputation up to the end of the Soviet period. She was treated as a strong realist, though her great talent was supposed to be limited by her religious “prejudices” (“a missionary’s daughter”) and her class affiliation (“a bourgeois writer”, “a spokesman for the American imperialists and colonialists”). Hence her manner of narration is understood as closely bound up with her attitudes: epic, “biblical” impersonal style, lack of bias, up-to-date social context, and ideologically “correct” evaluations. After the World War II Pearl Buck’s works are not published in the USSR; the attitude to Buck expressed in several critical essays of the 1950–1960-ies varies depending on the vacillating rhythm of SovietChinese relations. Publishing of Buck’s books in the 1990-ies after several decades of silence, has nothing to do with the Soviet traditions and follow the demands of the arising literary market in post-Soviet Russia. The article is supplied with publication of archived documents: Pearl Buck’s correspondence with Soviet literary institutions about the publishing of her works and her royalties, a shorthand report of mid-1930-ies (a core group of readers from the factory “Paris Commune” discusses Pearl S. Buck’s works with the literary critic E.D. Troshchenko), and a re-publication of Pearl S. Buck’s interview to Walt Carmon, American communist, editor, journalist, for Literaturnaya Gazeta (1937).

Keywords: Pearl S. Buck, USSR, Soviet-American literary contacts, literary reputation, literary criticism, archived documents, ideology and literature, readers’ reception, Walt Carmon, Sergey Tretyakov, Anna Elistratova.

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