Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 293
Buck’s novel Sons (1932) is the second volume in the trilogy that begins with The Good Earth. Beginning where the previous volume ends, Sons is about the lives of Wang Lung’s three sons, the eldest (the landlord), the second (the merchant), and especially the youngest son, who becomes a warlord. None of the sons respects the father’s legacy. As literature, Sons is not considered the equal of The Good Earth; nonetheless, it is a tale well told.
Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition (1998), by Beverley Jackson, is an account of the Chinese practice of foot-binding. Jackson describes the history of foot-binding, what the procedure involved, and the erotic fascination associated with bound feet. She also compares foot-binding to other exotic practices supposedly aimed at enhancing female beauty, such as the custom of the women of Burma who appear to stretch their necks by wearing a series of heavy necklaces. (Actually, the collar bone collapses toward the rib cage as x rays have proven.)
John Henry Gray’s China: A History of the Laws, Manners, and Customs of the People, published by Dover Books on Literature and Drama in 2003, is a reprint of the original book that was published in 1878. Gray was the archdeacon of Hong Kong, and this readable history covers the period when Wang Lung, in The Good Earth, was a young man. It covers topics such government, prisons, religion, Confucian philosophy, marriage, servants and slaves, sports, funerals, and commercial activities such as agriculture and tea and silk production. It includes 140 illustrations of scenes from daily life.
The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (1999), by Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is a much praised, scholarly work that covers with pictures and text some four millennia of Chinese history and culture.
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