Hurston, Zora Neale, 1891?–60, African-American writer, b. Notasulga, Ala. She grew up in the pleasant all-black town of Eatonville, Fla. and, moving north, 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, a characteristic so unlike such contemporaries as Richard Wright. 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 of tales, Every Tongue Got to Confess, was discovered in manuscript and published in 2001. 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), G. L. Cronin (1998), A. I. Karanja (1999), S. E. Meisenhelder (1999), and D. Miles (2002).
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