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Making Her Way With Thunder

A Reappraisal of Zora Neale Hurston's Narrative Art

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Janet Carter-Sigglow

Zora Neale Hurston has deservedly become one of the icons of American Black feminist criticism. However, the reception is based very narrowly, indeed almost exclusively on the single novel Their Eyes Were Watching God of 1937. The present study considers all of Hurston's major narratives, both fictional and anthropological, spanning the years 1931 to 1948. Hurston's narrative art is informed by the tension, often enriching but occasionally debilitating, between her scholarly anthropological work and her fictional application of motifs from Black oral art and religion, including hoodoo/voodoo. Considerable weight is given here to the contemporary reception of her work, revealing striking contrasts to modern critiques.
Contents: Hurston's narrative strategies - Relation between fiction and anthropology - African-American folklore - Black oral art - Black church in America - Hoodoo/voodoo - Contemporary reception - Adaptation of Bible texts.