One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston's beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston's masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published -- perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.
Topics: United States of America, Race Relations, American South, Florida, 1920s, 1930s, Bildungsroman, Semi-Autobiographical, Lyrical, Romantic, Realistic, Heartfelt, Feminism, Coming of Age, Spirituality , African American Culture & Characters, Harlem Renaissance, Modernism, Third Person Narration, Realism, 20th Century, Female Author, and American Author
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And then I read Their Eyes Were Watching God, and it was just amazing. Ambiguous, shifty, deep, smart, perfectly put together.
Hurston fought with Richard Wright about the point of the Harlem Renaissance. He said black authors have to engage with white people, with the fight for equality. Hurston is defiantly unconcerned with white people: this is a book about black people, almost wholly unconcerned with what white people are up to. Today it seems silly that anyone would question that, but at the time she came under fire, and her book sank out of sight for 30 years until Alice Walker went and dove down and got it.
Hurston was an anthropologist, she collected and studied black folklore, and she weaves it into this book in a way that adds to and comments on the story - and it's also wicked entertaining. This is the earliest mention I know of The Dozens, the game of dissing that today comprises my entire relationship with TD.
It's held up since then and it holds up now. Loads of people have attacked it as being a belated black entry into the canon for PC reasons. But why this and not those other books I mentioned above? This because it's better. It's wonderful. This is a book that stands up.
I was hanging out with this friend of mine tonight who I hadn't seen for a few years and she was like "Dude, you read sortof a weird amount of books so I can't really keep up on FB, but anything stand out for you over the past...years?" and I was like "Yeah, Their Eyes." I like this book.more