The entries for important works are generally the longest--two pages each for Dust Tracks on the Road and Their Eyes Were Watching God, for example--and include discussion of the work's genesis, plot, and critical reception. These entries also provide lists of materials for further reading. Entries for themes and motifs such as death, love, and trains offer brief explanations of the theme's overall meaning in Hurston's work as well as the use of the theme in individual works. Remaining entries treat individuals both real (such as anthropologist Franz Boas, who encouraged her folklore research, and convicted murderer Ruby McCollum, about whom she wrote several articles) and fictional. Because some characters, such as Jim Weston, the protagonist of the play Mule Bone, show up in several different works, this book is especially helpful for sorting through what the author calls "the intertextuality of Hurston's writing."
An appendix lists the contents of collections of Hurston manuscripts, correspondence, and other materials. An extensive bibliography lists primary materials by Hurston (including book reviews and newspaper articles as well as books, plays, short stories, and essays) and selected secondary materials.
Researchers will need to turn to other sources for more biographical and critical information, but this volume should be valuable to have on hand to support the study of Hurston's writings and life. It is recommended for public and academic libraries; high-school libraries might also consider it. RBB
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…this book is especially helpful for sorting through what the author calls the intertextuality of Hurston's writing…..valuable to have on hand to support the study of Hurston's writings and life. It is recommended for public and academic libraries; high-school libraries might also consider it.-
Croft has done a skillful job chronicling and organizing the lfe and works of an extrodinary writer. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students.-