by Robert E. Hemenway
foreword by Alice Walker
University of Illinois Press, 1977
Cloth: 978-0-252-00652-4 | Paper: 978-0-252-00807-8
Library of Congress Classification PS3515.U789Z7
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.52


The life and work of the iconic author and intellectual

Zora Neale Hurston transformed each hour of her life into something bubbling, exuberant, and brimming with joy. Robert Hemenway’s biography is a towering portrait of the novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. Drawing on archival documents and interviews with people who knew her, Hemenway explores Hurston’s art and work, from her extraordinary novels and autobiography to a popular treatment of black folkways that revealed her deep commitment to the black folk tradition. He also provides a sensitive look at her two marriages; her relationships with Mrs. R. Osgood Mason, Franz Boas, and Langston Hughes; her time as a member of the black literati of the 1920s and 1930s; and the penniless final years leading to her death.

Sophisticated and original, Zora Neale Hurston tells the compelling story of a woman who reveled in a fully lived life dedicated to a lasting art and the preservation of a vital cultural heritage.