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This comprehensive study examines the ways Hurston circumvented the constraints of the white publishing world and a predominantly white readership to critique white culture and its effects on the black community.
From “one of the greatest writers of our time” (Toni Morrison)—the author of Barracoon and Their Eyes Were Watching God—a collection of remarkable stories, including eight “lost” Harlem Renaissance tales now available to a wide audience for the first time. In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston—the sole black student at the college—was living in New York, “desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world.” During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life and transformed her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions.
From "one of the greatest writers of our time" (Toni Morrison)--the author of Barracoon and Their Eyes Were Watching God--a collection of remarkable stories, including eight "lost" Harlem Renaissance tales now available to a wide audience for the first time. In May 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston--the sole black student at the college--was living in New York, "desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world." During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life and transformed her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston's "lost" Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston's world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer's voice and her contributions to America's literary traditions.
"Croft has done a skillful job chronicling and organizing the life and works of an extraordinary writer. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students." "Plant...adds new dimension to the body of biographical literature already published, earnestly portraying Hurston's vitality and spirituality, characteristics that enabled her to achieve innumerable accomplishments...An inspiring read, recommended for all libraries." Zora Neale Hurston is best known for the landmark novel. Their Eyes Were Watching God, which recently returned to the bestseller list in the wake of an acclaimed television adaptation. But no understanding of Hurston is complete without considering all the forms of her work---including her extraordinary contributions as a folklorist---in light of the treasure trove of newly discovered information, texts, and film footage. "The Inside Light": New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston caps a decade of resurgent popularity and critical interest in Hurston to offer the most insightful critical analysis of her work to date. Encompassing all of Hurston's writings---fiction, folklore manuscripts, drama, and correspondence---it fully reaffirms the legacy of this phenomenal writer, whom The Color Purple's Alice Walker called "A Genius of the South." "The Inside Light" offers 20 critical essays covering the breadth of Hurston's writing, including her poetry, which up to now has received little attention. Essays throughout are informed by revealing new research, previously unseen manuscripts, and even film clips of Hurston. The book also focuses on aspects of Hurston's life and work that remain controversial, including her stance on desegregation, her relationships with Charlotte Mason, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright, and the veracity of her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road.
Heated debates about and insurgencies against female circumcision are symptoms of a disease emanating from a mindset that produced hierarchies of humans, conquered colonies, and built empires. The loss of colonies and empires does not in any way mitigate the ideological underpinnings of empire-building and the knowledge construction that subtends it. The mindset finds its articulation at points of coalescence. Female circumcision provided a point of coalescence and impetus for this articulation. Insisting that the hierarchy on which the imperialist project rests is not bipolar but multi-layered and more complex, the contributions in this volume demonstrate how imperialist discourses complicate issues of gender, race, and history. Nnaemeka gives voice to the silenced and marginalized, and creates space for them to participate in knowledge construction and theory making. The authors in this volume trace the travels of imperial and colonial discourses from antecedents in anthropology, travel writings, and missionary discourse, to modern configurations in films, literature, and popular culture. The contributors interrogate foreign, or Western, modus operandi and interventions in the so-called Third World and show how the resistance they generate can impede development work and undermine the true collaboration and partnership necessary to promote a transnational feminist agenda. With great clarity and in simple, accessible language, the contributors present complex ideas and arguments which hold significant implications for transnational feminism and development.
As an anthropology student studying with Franz Boas, Zora Neale Hurston recorded African American folklore in rural central Florida, studied hoodoo in New Orleans and voodoo in Haiti, talked with the last ex-slave to survive the Middle Passage, and collected music from Jamaica. Her ethnographic work would serve as the basis for her novels and other writings in which she shaped a vision of African American Southern rural folk culture articulated through an antiracist concept of culture championed by Boas: culture as plural, relative, and long-lived. Meanwhile, a very different antiracist model of culture learned from Robert Park's sociology allowed Richard Wright to imagine African American culture in terms of severed traditions, marginal consciousness, and generation gaps. In A Genealogy of Literary Multiculturalism, Christopher Douglas uncovers the largely unacknowledged role played by ideas from sociology and anthropology in nourishing the politics and forms of minority writers from diverse backgrounds. Douglas divides the history of multicultural writing in the United States into three periods. The first, which spans the 1920s and 1930s, features minority writers such as Hurston and D'Arcy McNickle, who were indebted to the work of Boas and his attempts to detach culture from race. The second period, from 1940 to the mid-1960s, was a time of assimilation and integration, as seen in the work of authors such as Richard Wright, Jade Snow Wong, John Okada, and Ralph Ellison, who were influenced by currents in sociological thought. The third period focuses on the writers we associate with contemporary literary multiculturalism, including Toni Morrison, N. Scott Momaday, Frank Chin, Ishmael Reed, and Gloria Anzaldúa. Douglas shows that these more recent writers advocated a literary nationalism that was based on a modified Boasian anthropology and that laid the pluralist grounds for our current conception of literary multiculturalism. Ultimately, Douglas's "unified field theory" of multicultural literature brings together divergent African American, Asian American, Mexican American, and Native American literary traditions into one story: of how we moved from thinking about groups as races to thinking about groups as cultures—and then back again.
Conventional wisdom tells us that marriage was illegal for African Americans during the antebellum era, and that if people married at all, their vows were tenuous ones: "until death or distance do us part." It is an impression that imbues beliefs about black families to this day. But it's a perception primarily based on documents produced by abolitionists, the state, or other partisans. It doesn't tell the whole story. Drawing on a trove of less well-known sources including family histories, folk stories, memoirs, sermons, and especially the fascinating writings from the Afro-Protestant Press,'Til Death or Distance Do Us Part offers a radically different perspective on antebellum love and family life. Frances Smith Foster applies the knowledge she's developed over a lifetime of reading and thinking. Advocating both the potency of skepticism and the importance of story-telling, her book shows the way toward a more genuine, more affirmative understanding of African American romance, both then and now.
Twenty-five years after its original publication, Slave Religion remains a classic in the study of African American history and religion. In a new chapter in this anniversary edition, author Albert J. Raboteau reflects upon the origins of the book, the reactions to it over the past twenty-five years, and how he would write it differently today. Using a variety of first and second-hand sources-- some objective, some personal, all riveting-- Raboteau analyzes the transformation of the African religions into evangelical Christianity. He presents the narratives of the slaves themselves, as well as missionary reports, travel accounts, folklore, black autobiographies, and the journals of white observers to describe the day-to-day religious life in the slave communities. Slave Religion is a must-read for anyone wanting a full picture of this "invisible institution."