conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual
The Reverend Harry Middleton Hyatt, an Episcopal priest whose five-volume classic collection, Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft, and RooPivork, more than amply returned an investment of forty years’ research, once asked me during an interview in 1977 what had become of another
eccentric collector whom he admired.
the unwritten stories and proverbs and songs of a culture
Zora Neale Hurston published seven books—four novels, two books of
folklore, and an autobiography—and more than fifty shorter works between the middle of the Harlem Renaissance.
exercising influence or control
She was the
dominant black woman writer in the United States.
an unimportant and not well known standing
obscurity into which her career then lapsed reflects her staunchly independent political stances rather than any deficiency of craft or vision.
the state of being disregarded or forgotten
So many black writers from
existing together in agreement
Hurston embodied a more or less
harmonious but nevertheless problematic unity of opposites.
marked by lack of intellectual depth
It is this complexity that refuses to lend itself to the
glib categories of “radical” or “conservative,” “black” or “Negro,” “revolutionary” or “Uncle Tom”—categories of little use in literary criticism.
far beyond the norm
It is this complexity that refuses to lend itself to the glib categories of “
radical” or “conservative,” “black” or “Negro,” “revolutionary” or “Uncle Tom”—categories of little use in literary criticism.
a close connection marked by community of interests
The craft of Alice Walker, Gayl Jones, Gloria Naylor, and Toni Cade Bambara bears, in markedly different ways, strong
affinities with Hurston’s.
Their Eyes is a lyrical novel that correlates the need of her first two husbands for ownership of progressively larger physical space (and the
gaudy accoutrements of upward mobility) with the suppression of self-awareness in their wife.
clothing that is not part of one's main clothing
Their Eyes is a lyrical novel that correlates the need of her first two husbands for ownership of progressively larger physical space (and the gaudy
accoutrements of upward mobility) with the suppression of self-awareness in their wife.
light-hearted recreational activity for amusement
Only with her third and last lover, a roustabout called Tea Cake whose unstructured
frolics center around and about the Florida swamps, does Janie at last bloom.
an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group
The reasons for this are complex and stem largely from what we might think of as their “racial
a quantity of no importance
The cultural nationalism of the Black Arts movement—was the idea that racism had reduced black people to mere
existing everywhere at once
To beings who only react to an
omnipresent racial oppression.
caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition
To beings who only react to an omnipresent racial oppression, whose culture is “deprived” where different, and whose psyches are in the main “
the spreading of something into new regions
Hurston thought this idea degrading, its
propagation a trap, and railed against it.
marked by extreme care in treatment of details
For the folklore Hurston collected so meticulously as Franz Boas’s student at Barnard became metaphors, allegories, and performances in her novels, the traditional recurring canonical metaphors of black culture.
strange in an interesting or pleasing way
The myths she describes so accurately are in fact “alternative modes for perceiving reality,” and never just condescending depictions of the
showing inventiveness and skill
Hurston sees “the Dozens,” for example, that age-old black ritual of graceful insult, as, among other things, a verbal defense of the sanctity of the family, conjured through
ingenious plays on words.
of or relating to or conforming to an expression
The representation of her sources of language seems to be her principal concern, as she constantly shifts back and forth between her “literate” narrator’s voice and a highly
idiomatic black voice found in wonderful passages of free indirect discourse.