Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present

Overview

Zora Neale Hurston(1891 — 1960)

 

Of the various signs that the study of literature in America has been transformed, none is more salient than is the resurrection and canonization of Zora Neale Hurston. Twenty years ago, Hurston's work was largely out-of-print, her literary legacy alive only to a tiny, devoted band of readers who were often forced to photocopy her works if they were to be taught ... Today her works are central to the canon of African-American, American, and...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $65.00   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$65.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(139)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Zora Neale Hurston(1891 — 1960)

 

Of the various signs that the study of literature in America has been transformed, none is more salient than is the resurrection and canonization of Zora Neale Hurston. Twenty years ago, Hurston's work was largely out-of-print, her literary legacy alive only to a tiny, devoted band of readers who were often forced to photocopy her works if they were to be taught ... Today her works are central to the canon of African-American, American, and Women's literatures ... The author of four novels, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934), Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937),Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), and Seraph on the Suwanee (1948); two books of folklore — Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938); an autobiography, Dust Tracks On a Road (1942); and over 50 short stories, essays, and plays, Hurston was one of the most widely acclaimed Black authors for the two decades between 1925 and 1945.

— from the Preface by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567430288
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Series: Literary Series
  • Pages: 238
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a MacArthur Fellow, holds the W.E.B. Dubois Chair and is director of the African-American Studies Department at Harvard University. He won the American Book Award in 1989 for The Signifying Monkey.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)
Martha Gruening
The New Republic, July 11, 1934

When Miss Hurston's hero ran away from trouble in Alabama and came to central Florida he heard for the first time of a "colored town."

"You mean uh town A nothing but colored folks? Who bosses it den?" he asked.

"Dey bosses it deyself."

This town, Eatonville, was Zora Hurston's birthplace, and some of her happiest qualities are perhaps due to this circumstance. It may well account in part for her zest and naturalness, her freedom from the conventional sentimentality so frequent in writing about Negroes. She handles, incidentally, much the same material as Julia Peterkin; handles it with double authority as a Negro and a student of folklore. An insider, she shares with her hero the touch of "pagan poesy" that made him thrill his hearers when he preached. But she is an insider without the insider's usual neuroses.

This is the story of John Pearson, yellow Alabama fieldhand, and famous preacher. He was a hero and a coward, a magnificent animal following his lusts and a church member praying to be cleansed of his sins. He loved his wife, Lucy, but left her for other women; returned to her, wept for her sorrows and left her again. After Lucy died he married Hattie, but the thought of Lucy so haunted him that he came to hate his second wife. "Whut am I doing married tuh you.... It's a hidden mystery to me-what you doin' in Miss Lucy's shoes," he railed at her after seven years, and beat her severely to ease his conscience. But through it all Miss Hurston makes him a credible, humanand almost appealing figure. Toward the end, when his troubles are thick upon him, a figure not without tragic dignity.

With white people the book deals only incidentally. Its chief white character is Alf Pearson, the bluff and kindly planter who despised "backwoods whites who live by swindling the niggers." But Miss Hurston is aware also of another side of the Negroes' white folks, as she has indicated in the brief searing paragraphs about the divorce courts where "the smirking anticipation on the faces of the white spectators ... made John feel as if he had fallen into a foul latrine. . . . 'Now listen close. You're going to hear something rich. These niggers! . . .'" And she is equally vigorous and forthright in her writing about colored people.

Candor like Miss Hurston's is still sufficiently rare among Negro writers. It is only one of the excellences of this book.

ESTELLE FELTON

Opportunity, August 1934

From the pen of Zora Neale Hurston comes another story of Negro folklore. Miss Hurston, who has written short stories about Negro Life, now, writes a novel of the Negro shortly after the Civil War, placing her story in typical small southern towns in Alabama and Forida. The story concerns the life history of John Buddy Pearson who, through the efforts of his wife, Lucy, rises to be an important Baptist minister in Florida. John's weakness is women, and even his love for his wife cannot guard him from that. After many affairs with women and after having been married twice, John marries Sally, who loves with a mature and unselfish affection. John has a final lapse, but he never lives to see the reproach in Sally's eyes as he is killed by a train on his way home.

Miss Hurston approached her task with a knowledge of Negro dialect and customs that is rare in contemporary writers. She deals with these people, who still cling to the last vestiges of witchcraft, in such a way that the reader wonders at her ability to capture so effectively the emotions of this primitive people. One feels, after reading Jonah's Gourd Vine, that one has suddenly been transplanted to the South and given an intimate but exaggerated view of the lives of these people in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Dialect is rather difficult to use successfully, but as a whole the conversations between the characters seem to flow freely and actually without stiffness. Idioms peculiar to the Negro, she uses effectively. Miss Hurston's detailed understanding of the customs and traditions of her people is an invaluable aid in winning for this book the praise some critics have given it.

Although Miss Hurston has the ability to paint clear and vivid pictures of Negro life, her style at times falls flat. Often she brings a new event to the story with a suddenness for which the reader is wholly unprepared. John's fight with his wife's brother, while it serves its purpose to get John out of town, is unnecessary. But still more unwarranted is the brother's treatment of Lucy when she is ill. To show the passage of time, Miss Hurston brings in some opinions about the World War and the migration of the Negroes to the North. These passages are not well done because the material is treated too hastily and because it is unrelated to the rest of the story. However, Miss Hurston rises to great heights when she writes in poetic form the last sermon of John Pearson with such power and emotion that one can almost hear the sermon.

In plot construction and characterization, Miss Hurston is a disappointment. The only thing that holds the series of events together is John Pearson, a strong man physically but weak in character. It seems as if Miss Hurston wished to depict certain phases of Negro life-life in a Negro home, a plantation, and the Negro preacher-and just thrust the characters in them regardless of any connection. Each time the scene changes, there is a formal break with what went on before. Only once does John's mother appear after John, as a young lad, has left his parents' home. John's half-brother disappears from the story at the beginning and is brought back near the end merely so...

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Reviews
Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934) 3
Mules and Men (1935) 10
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) 16
Tell My Horse (1938) 24
Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939) 26
Dust Tracks on a Road (1942) 30
Seraph on the Suwanee (1948) 34
Essays
"The Drum with the Man Skin": Jonah's Gourd Vine 39
The Emergent Voice: The Word within Its Texts 67
Zora Neale Hurston: Changing Her Own Words 76
"I Love the Way Janie Crawford Left Her Husbands": Emergent Female Hero 98
Wandering: Hurston's Search for Self and Method 110
Thresholds of Difference: Structures of Address in Zora Neale Hurston 130
Breaking Out of the Conventions of Dialect 141
Their Eyes Were Watching God: Hurston and the Speakerly Text 154
Language, Speech, and Difference in Their Eyes Were Watching God 204
Listening and Living: Reading and Experience in Their Eyes Were Watching God 218
Lines of Descent/Dissenting Lines 230
Autoethnography: The An-Archic Style of Dust Tracks on a Road 241
Seraph on the Suwanee 267
Workings of the Spirit: Conjure and the Space of Black Women's Creativity 280
Essayists 309
Chronology 311
Bibliography 313
Acknowledgments 321
Index 325
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)