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AfriGeneas Books~Authors~Reviews Forum

Re: Who is Zora Neale Hurston?

In 1987, the fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of "Their Eyes Were watching God", the University of Illinois Press inserted a banner in the lower right-hand corner of their anniversary reprint edition: "1987/50th Anniversary - STILL A BESTSELLER!" The back cover, using a quote from the Saturday Review by Doris Grumbach, proclaimed "Their Eyes, the finest black novel of its time" and "one of the finest of all time".

Zora Neale Hurston would have been shocked and pleased, I believe, at this stunning reversal in the reception of her second novel, which for nearly thirty years after its first publication was out of print, largely unknown and unread, and dismissed by the male literary establishment in subtle and not so subtle ways. One white reviewer in 1937 praised the novel in Saturday Review as a "rich and racy love story, if somewhat awkward," but had difficulty believing that such a town as Eatonville, "inhabited and governed entirely by Negroes," could be real.

Black male critics were much harsher in their assessments of the novel. From the beginning of her career, Hurston was severely criticized for not writing fiction in the protest tradition.....

-from the Forward remarks by Mary Helen Washington
"Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
First Perennial Classics 1998
ISBN 0-06-093141-8

[The more I read about Zora Neale Hurston, the more I want to read her works]

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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