Intercultural Mediation and Subversive Patriotism in Pearl S. Buck’s Wartime Writings

Valeria Gennero


When the USA entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Buck was undoubtedly one of the most influential intellectuals in the United States. As she started to use her celebrity status to address racial and gender stereotypes in the USA, the impact of her public interventions was enormous. During the war Buck published two widely read collections of essays: “Of Men and Women”, “American Unity and Asia”, and “What America Means to Me”, but until now little attention has been paid to the connections between her theoretical stance and recent scholarship on American imperialism. In this paper I argue that in her attempt to remap world geography from an anticolonial viewpoint, Buck
challenged the traditional meaning of words like “democracy” and “patriotism”. A natural born deconstructionist, she highlighted the aporias at the heart of American democracy and exposed the transnational reach of fascist ideology.


Pearl S. Buck

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