ABOUT THIS BOOK
"Plant's study is sorely
needed at this point in the evolving critical assessment of Hurston. It
is a paradigm for the study of individual African American women writers."
-- Alice Deck, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In a ground-breaking study
of Zora Neale Hurston, Deborah Plant takes issue with current notions
of Hurston as a feminist and earlier impressions of her as an intellectual
lightweight who disregarded serious issues of race in American culture.
Instead, Plant calls Hurston a "writer of resistance" who challenged
the politics of domination both in her life and in her work. One of the
great geniuses of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston stands out as a strong
voice for African-American women. Her anthropological inquiries as well
as her evocative prose provide today's readers with a rich history of
African American folk culture, a folk culture through which Hurston expressed
her personal and political strategy of resistance and self-empowerment.
Through readings of Hurston's
fiction and autobiographical writings, Plant offers one of the first book-length
discussions of Hurston's personal philosophy of individualism and self-preservation.
From a discussion of Hurston's preacher father and influential mother,
whose guiding philosophy is reflected in the title of this book, to the
influence of Spinoza and Nietzsche, Plant puts into perspective the driving
forces behind Hurston's powerful prose.
This fresh look at one of
the most important writers of the twentieth century is sure to shape future
study of Hurston and her work.