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Hurston, Zora Neale

Hurston, Zora Neale, 1891?–60, African-American writer, b. Notasulga, Ala. She grew up in the pleasant all-black town of Eatonville, Fla., and graduated from Barnard College, where she studied with Franz Boas. Her placid childhood and privileged academic background are often cited as major reasons for her work's general lack of stress on racism. An anthropologist and folklorist, Hurston collected African-American folktales in the rural South and sympathetically interpreted them in the collections Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938). A third volume, Every Tongue Got to Confess (2001), was discovered in manuscript and published posthumously. The stories in Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick (2020) concern the everyday lives of black people. Hurston, a significant figure in the Harlem Renaissance, was also the author of four novels including Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934) and the influential Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). Her plays include the comedy Mule Bone (1931), written in collaboration with her friend Langston Hughes.

See her autobiography (1942); C. Kaplan, ed., Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters (2002); biographies by R. E. Hemenway (1977) V. Boyd (2002), and V. L. Moylan (2011); studies by H. Bloom, ed. (1986), S. Glassman and K. L. Seidel (1991), J. Carter-Sigglow (1994), J. Lowe (1994), D. G. Plant (1995), L. M. Hill (1996), C. A . Wall, ed., (1997 and 2000), G. L. Cronin (1998), A. I. Karanja (1999), S. E. Meisenhelder (1999), and D. Miles (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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