The 1932 Novel Decision

With the new terms for the novel prize, stating it is to be awarded “for the best novel published during the year by an American author,” the jury went to work with their recommendations for 1932. They recommended for their first choice Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth for “its epic sweep, its distinct and moving characterization, its sustained story-interest, its simple and yet richly-colored style.” They also mentioned Willa Cather’s Shadow on the Rock and R. E. Spencer’s The Lady Who Came to Stay. They went on to mention in the recommendation letter that “the Committee also took into account the fact that Miss Cather has already received the Pulitzer Prize. This fact was, however, not determining.”

The Advisory Board selected The Good Earth for the prize, and John Hohenberg writes, “for the time being, the critical uproar subsided to a continuing grumble. To a bewildered people mired in a terrible economic breakdown, the story of the hardships of Chinese peasants somehow was most appealing.”

Currently reading: The Store by T. S. Stribling


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