Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ha-Ke)

Hurston, Zora Neale

black woman life spent

(US, 1896–1960)

Hurston was born in the self-governing black town of Eatonville, Florida, where her father was elected mayor. Much of the rest of her life was spent studying black folklore in the south and the Caribbean. However, the last ten years were spent in poverty and obscurity and she was buried in an unmarked grave. The book which rescued her reputation is Their Eyes were Watching God (1937). This is the controversial study of the life and loves of Janie Crawford, on the one hand the story of a strong and quickwitted woman's attempts to find self-fulfilment, and on the other this woman's search for romantic love. Hurston's innovative use of voice, at once lyrical, philosophical, and pithy, has been a major influence on later writers such as Alice Walker, and the novel contains some of the wittiest dialogue in twentieth-century literature.

Maya Angelou  LM

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