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Lot #6074
Pearl S. Buck Hand-Corrected and Signed Typed Draft for The Living Reed

Exhaustively hand-corrected draft for The Living Reed by Pearl S. Buck—the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature

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Estimate: $2000+
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Exhaustively hand-corrected draft for The Living Reed by Pearl S. Buck—the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature

American writer and novelist (1892–1973) best known for The Good Earth, a novel that dramatizes family life in a 20th-century Chinese village, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1932 and contributed to her receipt of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. Pearl Buck's extensively hand-corrected typed draft for her 1963 novel The Living Reed: A Novel of Korea, totaling 533 pages, 8.5 x 11, signed at the head in fountain pen, "Pearl S. Buck." The draft has been extensively corrected throughout in Buck's own hand—hardly a page goes by without some emendation—with numerous additions, deletions, and revisions, ranging from minor changes in punctuation to the removal or addition of entire passages. Though all of Buck's corrections lend fascinating insight into her creative process and her development of the lengthy historical novel, the most significant change appears on the first page, as Buck modifies the title from "The Hollow Reed" to "The Living Reed." In overall fine condition. Housed in a custom-made clamshell case.

Includes a first edition of The Living Reed, hardcover with dust jacket, published in New York by the John Day Company in 1963, signed and inscribed on the half-title page in blue ballpoint, "For Wendy and Allan, with deep appreciation, Pearl S. Buck, Sept. 11, 1965." Autographic condition: fine. Book condition: VG/VG-, with wear to the jacket.

Reviewing the book, Kyung Cho Chung writes: 'The Living Reed is an historical chronicle of the Korean independence movement, opening in 1881 in the Korea of the late Yi dynasty and closing with the landing of the American troops at the end of the Second World War in 1945. Every major public event and public personage from Queen Min to Woodrow Wilson is authentically portrayed. She written a magnificently absorbing, brilliantly revealing novel of a close-knit family across the span of four generations, a family who dedicated their lives to the salvation of their homeland. The main character Kim Il-han, youthful member of the upper ruling class (Yangban), is an advisor to the China-oriented Queen Min, as is his father to King Kojong…The Korean people come hauntingly alive, and the part that Americans have played for nearly a century in the destiny of a star-crossed nation is vividly disclosed. Mrs. Buck's portrayal of America's diplomatic involvement in Korea is both melancholy and fascinating…The Living Reed is above all a drama of men and women whose hopes and dreams and loves are caught up in the whirlwind of history.'

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Art, Literature, and Classical Music
  • Dates: #682 - Ended June 20, 2024