Zora Neale Hurston is a literary legend. One of the leading forces of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston was also one of the most widely acclaimed Black authors in America from the mid twenties to the mid forties. She faded into obscurity in the subsequent decades, but literary figures and scholars in the 1970s revived her work and introduced a whole generation to her brilliance. Today she is the most widely taught Black woman writer in the canon of American literature. Born in the all-Black town of Eatonville, Florida, of which her father was mayor, Hurston was intensely proud. She became the first Black student at Barnard College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology. She conducted significant research, interviews, and fieldwork relating to Black cultures of the United States and the Caribbean. In her writings, instead of bemoaning the frustrations of the Black experience, Hurston chose to celebrate the many cultures of her people as well as the richness of their verbal expressions. Although Hurston died poor and forgotten in 1960, the visibility of the feminist movement and the interest of women writers such as Alice Walker - who was responsible for providing a headstone for Hurston's unmarked grave in 1974 - were instrumental in reestablishing Hurston's place in African-American literature. Hurston's life and work are revealed through the reviews and essays contained in Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and K. A. Appiah have chosen reviews of her works from such important publications of her days as The Crisis, New Masses, New Republic, the New York Herald Tribune, The New York Times Book Review, Opportunity, andSaturday Review of Literature. Hurston's first novel, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934), earned comments ranging from "most vital" to "a disappointment", although the reviewers consistently praised her use of dialect and language. This unique collection includes reviews of Mules and Men (1935), the first collection of African-American folklore published by an African American. Their Eyes Were Watching God, her 1973 novel that addressed a woman's desire for independence and individuality, was favorably reviewed by Alain Locke, the first Black Rhodes scholar and one of Hurston's professors at Howard University, and unfavorably reviewed by Richard Wright, who testily complained that the book was addressed to a white audience. The autobiographical Dust Tracks On a Road (1942) was received favorably, with comments on Hurston's "gutsy language". Reviews of Seraph on the Suwanne, Hurston's 1948 novel featuring primarily white characters, are also included, as well as those of earlier works such as Tell My Horses and Moses, Man of the Mountain. The essays presented here were published between 1982 and 1992 by academics, authors, and critics. They provide discussions and analysis, at greater length, of such factors as Hurston's language, characters, voice, and her ability to reflect the reality of Black women's lives.
- Shipping Cost:
- Calculated at Checkout