While Zora Neale Hurston and her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God have become widely celebrated, she was also a prolific stage director and choreographer. In the 1930s Hurston produced theatrical concerts that depicted a day in the life of a railroad work camp in Florida and featured a rousing Bahamian Fire Dance as the dramatic finale. In Choreographing the Folk, Anthea Kraut traces the significance and influence of Hurston's little-known choreographic work. Hurston's concerts were concrete illustrations of the real Negro art theatre that she was eager to establish, and they compellingly demonstrate how she used the arena of performance to advance a nuanced understanding of the black diaspora.
Designed for students, this introduction explores Hurston's artistic achievements and her unique character: her staunch individualism, her penchant for drama, her sometimes controversial politics, her philosophical influences and her views on gender relations. Lovalerie King explores Hurston's life and analyses her major works and short stories. Historical, social, political, and cultural contexts for Hurston's life and work, including her key role in the development of the Harlem Renaissance, are set out. Concludes with an overview of the reception of Hurston's work, both in her lifetime and up to the present, as well as suggestions for further reading.
This reference is a convenient and thorough guide to Hurston's life and writings. A chronology outlines the major events in her life and her most significant accomplishments, while a short biography offers a narrative assessment of her career. The heart of the book is a collection of hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries. These cover her works, characters, themes, motifs, family members, and acquaintances. Entries for the most important topics include suggestions for further reading, and the volume closes with extensive primary and secondary bibliographies.