Zora Neale Hurston, Genius of the Harlem Renaissance | Mental Floss
Jonah's Gourd Vine, Zora Neale Hurston's first novel (), begins with the violent struggle Janie is bartered off into marriage with an aging farmer, Logan Killicks. The Soon the middle-aged widow meets a younger man, Tea. Cake, and. Twentieth century African-American author Zora Neale Hurston is best African- American community that protected the young Hurston from the cruel racial Mules and Men became the greatest success she'd see in her lifetime, and . but six years into the marriage, Walker's husband died, by some accounts in a race riot. In the spring of , Zora Neale Hurston informed readers of the . The simplest men and women of all-black Eatonville have this wealth of images easy at their lips. She had been very young when the family moved to Eatonville, . Hurston's autobiography won an award for race relations, in , and.
Moses, Man of the Mountain. This book is at times confusing and phantasmagoric, full of the magic and fearsome poetry of the Bible and the blues.
Zora Neale Hurston, Genius of the Harlem Renaissance
When the book came out, reviewers were merciless. If the reaction to Their Eyes Were Watching God could be called laudatory if not ecstatic in some corners, the notices for Moses spoke of hubris, of apprenticeship, of someone trying to bite off more than she could write.
The crux of many of the reviews was that Hurston had failed to capture the full grandiose nature of Moses. They boiled down to Hurston having not so much failed to write a good novel, but having failed to write a novel about a man.
When women write about men, as Hurston did, the question of whether they are able to write them successfully comes up in gendered, historically-fraught ways. There is an assumption, not present in the criticism of the work of men writing about women, that fiction written by women about men is necessarily speculative, a work of impossibly difficult imagination.
In an article about the critical history of books by women, Elaine Showalter relates that early and modern critics of novels by women focused generally on the femaleness of the authors, imposing morals and judgements on the propriety of the authors, what she called ad feminam criticism.
Of course as the demographics of literary critics changed, so did attitudes about cross-gender narratives. No person would dare now say that a woman was incapable of accurately portraying a man, at least not without significant blowback.
And yet, even now this problem of writing about cross-gender fiction in sexist ways continues in subtle but present ways. In the essay, Wolitzer isolates the conundrum that women writers face: In a later bookShowalter recounts the early reception of a new novel, Jane Eyre, by one Currer Bell.
Critics lauded the precision of the the writing, the evident genius of the author, and the deftness with which the book related the story of poor Jane and her Rochester. When the truth came out, that the book had been written by a woman in Haworth, a not small number of reviewers retracted their earlier praise.
As other novels appeared with male pseudonyms, though written by women, a new not very fun sounding parlor game arose, in which books with obviously false names or anonymous books were dissected for evidence of the gender of the author.
Writing About Men With Zora Neale Hurston - The Toast
Perhaps, she simply became her father's daughter, who was seeking an outlet for her spiritual side. Around the same time that her relationship with Mason was at a breaking point Mason eventually severed her contract with Hurston on March 31, and the country was heading towards the Great Depression, Hurston, desperate for an income, felt that the best vehicle for her work was the theater and the best type of production was a folk musical based on her memories of Eatonville.
Unfortunately, the play was forced to close, because Hurston had no producers waiting in the wings to keep the production going. Many people from her hometown of Eatonville acted in these plays; thus, her dream of a folk theater was partially realized.
Hurston's association with Rollins College was significant for another reason. Robert Wunsch, who was the theater director who assisted her in the staging of her plays, after reading one of her short stories, "The Gilded Two Bits"; sent it to Story magazine, which published it in The Story was read by publisher Bertram Lippincott, who wrote to Hurston asking if she had a novel that she could submit to him. Hurston replied affirmatively—and then on July 1,she moved to Sanford, Florida, to write one.
She wrote Jonah's Gourd Vine by September 6 and was evicted from her apartment on the same day that she received an acceptance letter for her novel.
Jonah's Gourd Vine was published in May The next year Lippincott published Hurston's book of folk tales, Mules and Men. Hurston now entered her prime creative period in which she pursued fiction, drama, and anthropology simultaneously. She had her Opportunity when she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in March and was able to travel to Jamaica and Haiti. She also continued her anthropological studies in voodoo in Haiti and published Tell My Horse in After this peak period in her life, Hurston struggled to survive.
She began working for the Works Progress Administration on April 25,and contributed folklore and interviews with former slaves to The Florida Negro, which was not published at the time. This job lasted untilwhen the WPA was dismantled. Hurston had once again to search for a vehicle in which to express herself.Dating a Younger Man – Part 1
Her dramatic efforts had led nowhere, her ideas for new novels were rejected, and she had no more folklore to record. According to Hemenway, "In a sense she was written out. When Dust Tracks on a Road was published inHurston experienced a revival: A few years later, Hurston's writing career received another boost when Maxwell Perkins, the legendary Scribner's editor of Ernest Hemingway, F.
Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe; agreed to work with Hurston. Unfortunately, he died two months later and Hurston was deprived of his masterful guidance. Hurston did go on to publish in her last novel with Scribner's, Seraph on the Suwanee, a departure from her usual cast of Eatonville characters.
For this novel, her heroes and heroines are white characters. Besides her difficulties in getting her work published, on September 13,a mother accused Hurston of molesting her ten—year—old son, who was mentally retarded. Although Hurston's passport proved that she was in Honduras at the time, she was devastated when the Story was splashed across the African—American tabloids. She sunk into a period of depression, even though Scribner's stood beside her and hired lawyers to defend her.
She was acquitted of all charges when the boy confessed that he had falsely accused Hurston of the act. Louis and started to work for an African-American hair care company before then moving to Denver, where she had heard that the dry air exacerbated hair and scalp issues.
At the time, such complaints were widespread among African-Americans, in part due to a lack of black-focused products and access to indoor plumbing. By the early s, Walker herself had lost much of her hair. Then came her dream.
She took the product on tour, traveling throughout the South and Northeast and recruiting other door-to-door saleswomen. Walker Manufacturing Company, and in founded Lelia College in Pittsburgh, a beauty parlor and school for training Madam Walker brand ambassadors.
Two years later, she relocated her business headquarters to Indianapolis—then a commercial hub—where she and a mostly female cadre of top executives produced Wonderful Hair Grower on an industrial scale. In she convinced her mother to open an office in New York and decamped to Manhattan, acquiring a stately Harlem townhouse designed by Vertner Tandy, the first registered black architect in the state.
Du Bois, and Langston Hughes.
Louis race riots earlier that year, in which dozens of African-Americans had been killed.