Zora Neale Hurston: Novels and Stories

Zora Neale Hurston: Novels and Stories

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This Library of America volume, with its companion, brings together for the first time all of Zora Neale Hurston’s best writing in one authoritative set. When she died in poverty and obscurity in 1960, all of her books were out of print. Today Hurston’s groundbreaking works, suffused with the culture and traditions of African Americans and the poetry of black speech, have won her recognition as one of the most significant modern American writers.

Hurston’s fiction is free-flowing and frequently experimental, exuberant in its storytelling and open to unpredictable and fascinating digressions. Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934), based on the lives of her parents and evoking in rich detail the world of her childhood, recounts the rise and fall of a powerful preacher torn between spirit and flesh in an all-black town in Florida.

“There is no book more important to me than this one,” novelist Alice Walker has written about Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Hurston’s lyrical masterpiece about a woman’s determined struggle for love and independence. In this, her most acclaimed work, she employs a striking range of tones and voices to give the story of Janie and Tea Cake the poetic intensity of a myth.

In Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), her high-spirited and utterly personal retelling of the Exodus story, Hurston again demonstrates her ability to use the black vernacular as the basis for a supple and compelling prose style.

Seraph on the Suwanee (1948), Hurston’s last major work, is set in turn-of-the-century Florida and portrays the passionate clash between a poor southern “cracker” and her willful husband.
A selection of short stories (among them “Spunk,” “The Bone of Contention,” and “Story in Harlem Slang”) further displays Hurston’s unique fusion of folk traditions and literary modernism—comic, ironic, and soaringly poetic.

The chronology of Hurston’s life prepared for this edition sheds fresh light on many aspects of her career. In addition, this volume contains detailed notes and a brief essay on the texts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780940450837
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 02/28/1995
Series: Library of America Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 1054
Sales rank: 641,918
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.23(d)

About the Author

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, short story writer, folklorist, and anthropologist and a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Cheryl A. Wall is Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English at Rutgers University. She is the editor of Changing Our Own Words: Essays on Criticism, Theory, and Writing by Black Women and the author of Worrying the Line.

Date of Birth:

January 7, 1891

Date of Death:

January 28, 1960

Place of Birth:

Eatonville, Florida

Place of Death:

Fort Pierce, Florida


B.A., Barnard College, 1928 (the school's first black graduate). Went on to study anthropology at Columbia University.

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Zora Neale Hurston: Novels and Stories (Jonah's Gourd Vine, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Moses, Man of the Mountain, Seraph on the Suwanee, Selected 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
LyzzyBee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am reading these one by one so will review the individual parts here as I go along:¿Jonah¿s Gourd Vine¿(25 December 2011, LibraryThing Virago Group Secret Santa gift)Note: this is part of a volume of Collected Works (you can see in the photo: the blue book with white lines to the left of ¿Sun City¿. I will be reading the individual novels within the volume interspersed with other books, as they are quite an intense read and I don¿t want to gulp them all down too quickly)I have to admit that, when I opened this volume, I was a little intimidated by the dialect, but I was soon wrapped up in this engrossing story of a preacher and town councillor in an all-black Florida town, and his inevitable downfall and surprising redemption. Set a generation or two after slavery has ended, and examining the effects of this on both the black and white communities, this is a universal story in many ways, of one man¿s weakness and his eventual destruction by it. But the specificity is fascinating, too: it is a journey into another world that isn¿t so far in time and space from our own (part of the book is set in Alabama, where I have spent a little time), in some respects, and amazingly far in others. The dialect and general use of words is powerful and affecting. A fascinating book, and it¿s not even supposed to be her best one!