Hurston, Zora Neale

born Jan. 7, 1903, Eatonville, Fla., U.S.
died Jan. 28, 1960, Fort Pierce, Fla.

U.S. folklorist and writer.

She joined a traveling theatrical company, ending up in New York, where she studied anthropology with Franz Boas at Columbia University and became associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She collaborated with Langston Hughes on the play Mule Bone (1931). Her first novel, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934), was followed by the controversial but widely acclaimed Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). She also wrote an autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942).

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▪ American author
born January 7, 1891, Notasulga, Alabama, U.S.
died January 28, 1960, Fort Pierce, Florida
 American folklorist and writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance who celebrated the African American culture of the rural South.

      Although Hurston claimed to be born in 1901 in Eatonville, Florida, she was, in fact, 10 years older and had moved with her family to Eatonville only as a small child. There, in the first incorporated all-black town in the country, she attended school until age 13. After the death of her mother (1904), Hurston's home life became increasingly difficult, and at 16 she joined a traveling theatrical company, ending up in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance. She attended Howard University from 1921 to 1924 and in 1925 won a scholarship to Barnard College, where she studied anthropology under Franz Boas (Boas, Franz). She graduated from Barnard in 1928 and for two years pursued graduate studies in anthropology at Columbia University. She also conducted field studies in folklore among African Americans in the South. Her trips were funded by folklorist Charlotte Mason (Mason, Charlotte), who was a patron to both Hurston and Langston Hughes (Hughes, Langston). For a short time Hurston was an amanuensis to novelist Fannie Hurst (Hurst, Fannie).

      In 1930 Hurston collaborated with Hughes on a play (never finished) titled Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts (published posthumously 1991). In 1934 she published her first novel, Jonah's Gourd Vine, which was well received by critics for its portrayal of African American life uncluttered by stock figures or sentimentality. Mules and Men, a study of folkways among the African American population of Florida, followed in 1935. Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), a novel, Tell My Horse (1938), a blend of travel writing and anthropology based on her investigations of voodoo in Haiti, and Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), a novel, firmly established her as a major author.

      For a number of years Hurston was on the faculty of North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University) in Durham. She also was on the staff of the Library of Congress. Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), an autobiography, is highly regarded. Her last book, Seraph on the Suwanee, a novel, appeared in 1948. Despite her early promise, by the time of her death Hurston was little remembered by the general reading public, but there was a resurgence of interest in her work in the late 20th century. In addition to Mule Bone, several other collections were also published posthumously; these include Spunk: The Selected Stories (1985), The Complete Stories (1995), and Every Tongue Got to Confess (2001), a collection of folktales from the South. In 1995 the Library of America published a two-volume set of her work in its series.

Additional Reading
Biographical and critical works include Robert E. Hemenway, Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography (1977, reissued 1986); Lillie P. Howard, Zora Neale Hurston (1980); Karla F.C. Holloway, The Character of the Word: The Texts of Zora Neale Hurston (1987); Michael Awkward (ed.), New Essays on Their Eyes Were Watching God (1990); Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and K.A. Appiah (eds.), Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (1993); John Lowe, Jump at the Sun: Zora Neale Hurston's Cosmic Comedy (1994); Deborah G. Plant, Every Tub Must Sit on Its Own Bottom: The Philosophy and Politics of Zora Neale Hurston (1995); Carla Kaplan (ed.), Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters (2001); and Valerie Boyd, Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston (2003).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hurston, Zora Neale — (1891 1960)    Born in Alabama, African American novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Florida in a community she later turned into a subject of her writing. Hurston attended Howard University from 1919 to 1923… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Hurston,Zora Neale — Hur·ston (hûrʹstən), Zora Neale. 1901? 1960. 1938 photograph by Carl Van Vechten (1880 1964) Libraryof Congress Photo: Carl Van Vechten collection American writer. Her novels, including Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), and nonfiction writings …   Universalium

  • Hurston, Zora Neale — (1901 1960)    Born in Eatonville, Florida, Hurston achieved an excellent education and became a leading African American writer. During her lifetime, her novels tended to overshadow her plays, some of which were not successfully staged until… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Hurston, Zora Neale — (7 ene. 1903, Eatonville, Fla., EE.UU.–28 ene. 1960, Fort Pierce, Fla.). Folclorista y escritora estadounidense. Se incorporó a una compañía teatral itinerante y recaló en Nueva York, donde estudió antropología con Franz Boas en la Universidad de …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hurston, Zora Neale —  (1891–1960) American writer, associated with the movement known as the Harlem Renaissance …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Zora Neale Hurston — Nacimiento 7 de enero de 1891 Eatonville, Florida …   Wikipedia Español

  • Zora Neale Hurston — Infobox Writer name = Zora Neale Hurston caption = birthdate = birth date|1891|1|7|mf=y birthplace = Notasulga, Alabama, United States deathdate = death date and age|1960|1|28|1891|1|7 deathplace = Fort Pierce, Florida, United States occupation …   Wikipedia

  • Zora Neale Hurston House — Infobox nrhp name = Zora Neale Hurston House nrhp type = nhl fl caption = lat degrees = 27 lat minutes = 27 lat seconds = 39 lat direction = N long degrees = 80 long minutes = 20 long seconds = 31 long direction = W locmapin = Florida location =… …   Wikipedia

  • Zora Neale Hurston — Zora Neale Hurston, Fotograf Carl van Vechten, 3. April 1938 Zora Neale Hurston (* 7. Januar 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama; † 28. Januar 1960 in Fort Pierce, Florida) war eine US amerikanische Schriftstellerin und Folkloristin. Sie wird zur Harl …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Zora Neale Hurston — (entre 1935 et 1943) Zora Neale Hurston (7 janvier 1891 – 28 janvier 1960) était une écrivaine d origine afro américaine qui participa au mouvement de la Renaissance de Harlem, notamment avec son roman Their Eyes Were Watching God (traduit en… …   Wikipédia en Français

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