There’s a nice story in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer about the unexpected discovery of Pearl S. Buck’s long-lost original manuscript for The Good Earth. Buck, who died in 1973, lived on a farm in (well, very near, anyway) my hometown of Perkasie, Pa., which makes me the second-most famous author from Perkasie. (OK, third-most after W.D. Ehrhart.)
It’s always mystified me that Buck, one of the great writers of the twentieth century, is practically forgotten today. Winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, she was also active in the civil rights movement and a remarkable philanthropist. Maybe the discovery of this manuscript will renew some interest in her work.
When we were back in the States last winter, Allyson and I visited the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie, which is now a National Historic Landmark. It’s a classic eastern Pennsylvania farmhouse, with stone walls, hardwood floors, and lots of fireplaces. Beautiful. It also has a wonderful collection of memorabilia, including the typewriter on which Buck typed the original manuscript for The Good Earth – the manuscript that has just surfaced. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, it’s definitely worth a visit.