King Gustav awards Pearl Buck the Nobel Prize for Literature, Stockholm, Sweden, December 21, 1938.
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King Gustav of Sweden is shown presenting the Nobel Prize for Literature to Pearl Buck.

Credit: Image donated by Corbis-Bettmann

In 1938, Pearl Buck won the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces." Some critics disapproved of her selection, however, arguing that her work lacked the artistry and depth that the prize was intended to confirm. In her Noble prize lecture, Buck stated that she much preferred her stories be published in magazines read by millions rather than publications read by only a few, because "story belongs to the people. They are sounder judges of it than anyone else for their senses are unspoiled and their emotions free."

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