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In a literary lifetime that included novels, essays, short stories and plays, Zora Neale Hurston earned less than $1,000 in royalties.“But by the quality and quantity of her work, she is probably the major undiscovered writer of the 20th Century,” N. In her hometown of Eatonville, Fla., an annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts honors her.
Eatonville, about five miles outside Orlando, was incorporated in 1887 as the country’s first African-American town.
A 114-page retrospective that features photographs, interviews with her family and an essay by Alice Walker was published this year by Orlando’s Sentinel Books, and nearly 50 years after their original publication and 30 years after Hurston’s death, Harper Collins is in the process of reissuing all of Hurston’s works.
This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.
To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.But its importance goes beyond its attempt to redress an injustice of literary history.This anthology also reflects certain significant trends in Afro‐American culture: the emergence of self‐conscious feminism, increasing sophistication in the study of black literature and a renewed emphasis on black nationalism.THIS collection of writings by the leading lady of black American letters between 19 includes several short stories and essays ; excerpts from her autobiography, reportage, collections of folklore; and selections from three of her novels — thus making available for the first time a representative sample of Zora Neale Hurston's many talents.“1 Love Myself When I Am Laughing” marks the latest of several tecent efforts to resurrect Hurston's life and work from unmerited oblivion.Hurston's mother, on the other hand, exhorted her to “jump at de sun.” She was determined to raise someone who would become more than a “mealy‐mouthed rag doll;” and succeeded gloriously.Hurston's father, unfortunately, was also successful — at least as a prophet.Hicks was a great admirer of Hurston’s work, Mott said, and in 1976 wrote a long essay in appreciation of her.Hicks’ essay became the nucleus for the new book, Mott said. ” is the first title “of real national interest” for Sentinel Books, which publishes 10 to 12 books each year. The interest in Hurston, Mott speculated, comes from the fact that “she was such an interesting role model. She went against the trend, and in later life she was a real political conservative.“She was a very complicated woman,” Mott said.A feminist “in the way she lived her life,” Hurston was “married to her work,” Mott said, “wed to her subject matter,” Nathiri agreed.While later in life she lived in dire poverty, in her early years Hurston supported herself through patronage.