Chapter in Critical Insights: Zora Neale Hurston, ed. Sharon L. Jones, Salem Press, 2013. Information and ordering at publishers website here:


Zora Neale Hurston is today recognized as an American and African American literary great. What Hurston has come to mean for black women writers such as Alice Walker can be gleaned from an assertion made by Walker in her canonical essay, “Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and Partisan View” (1979), included in In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens. Walker writes, “I became aware of my need of Zora Neale Hurston’s work some time before I knew her work existed” (83). Alice Walker is greatly responsible for the resurgence of interest in, and the creative and critical reassessment of, Zora Neale Hurston and her work. In her expression of a “need” for Zora Neale Hurston’s work, Walker is writing specifically about Hurston’s first folklore collection Mules and Men (1935), but she is also writing about her need of Hurston as a model of black female artistry.


African American Studies | American Literature | American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Women's Studies