Interpreting the keyword “China” and its collocations in selected correspondence of Pearl S. Buck, 1939–1946

Stuart Christie*, Tsz Huen Kwok

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    A work of digital scholarship, this essay presents the discovery of archival data obtained from unpublished correspondence written by American novelist Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973). Using digital tools, our project rendered and analyzed a keyword database in order to identify and measure the keyword “China” in relation to other value-laden collocations—such as country, friend, and people—which Buck promulgated widely in her role as public intellectual and China expert for her time. Buck was never able to return to China in person. Even so, the globalized values attributed to “China” in her letters remained meaningful touchstones for her philanthropy, activism, and social commentary in the United States in her lifetime, personally and professionally, as she urged greater American recognition of China's emergence prior to and during the Second World War.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12621
    JournalLiterature Compass
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Literature and Literary Theory

    User-Defined Keywords

    • China
    • Pearl S. Buck
    • correspondence
    • global circulation
    • keyword collocations


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