Pearl S. Buck and the Forgotten Holocaust of the Two-Ocean War


Valeria Gennero

Università di Bergamo, Italy

During the Second World War, Pearl S. Buck was both a successful novelist and an influential political organizer, involved in  well-known  campaigns  against  racism  and  imperialism. In  January  1942  she  published Dragon  Seed,  a  novel  which described the Japanese sack of Nanking in 1937 and engaged the issues of nationalism and male violence from a gendered perspective. Buck wrote the novel before the United States entered the war: she hoped to promote American awareness of  the  Chinese  fight  for  freedom,  knowing  that  the  tragic events which took place in Nanking after the fall of the city were virtually unknown in the United States. I will argue that, despite its original propagandistic intent, Dragon Seed succeeds—as Buck’s novels often do—in problematizing the notion of national identity, foregrounding the sexual politics of war.


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Published : 2014-05-15

GenneroV. (2014). Pearl S. Buck and the Forgotten Holocaust of the Two-Ocean War. Review of International American Studies, 7(1). Retrieved from

Valeria Gennero
Università di Bergamo, Italy  Italy
Valeria Gennero teaches American Literature at the University of Bergamo (Italy). She has published books on Djuna Barnes, Pearl S. Buck and Feminist Literary Theory.

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