'The Inside Light'
New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston
by Deborah G. Plant, Editor
May 2010, 282pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36517-1
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-36518-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Zora Neale Hurston is best known for the landmark novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God—which recently returned to the bestseller list in the wake of an acclaimed television adaptation. But no understanding of Hurston is complete without considering all the forms of her work—including her extraordinary work as a folklorist—in light of the treasure trove of newly discovered information, texts, and film footage.

This exploration of Zora Neale Hurston's life and work draws on a wealth of newly discovered information and manuscripts that bring new dimensions of her writing to light.

“The Inside Light”: New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston caps a decade of resurgent popularity and critical interest in Hurston to offer the most insightful critical analysis of her work to date. Encompassing all of Hurston’s writings—fiction, folklore manuscripts, drama, correspondence—it fully reaffirms the legacy of this phenomenal writer, whom The Color Purple’s Alice Walker called “A Genius of the South.”

“The Inside Light” offers 20 critical essays covering the breadth of Hurston’s writing, including her poetry, which up to now has received little attention. Essays throughout are informed by revealing new research, previously unseen manuscripts, and even film clips of Hurston. The book also focuses on aspects of Hurston’s life and work that remain controversial, including her stance on desegregation, her relationships with Charlotte Mason, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright, and the veracity of her autobiography, Dust Tracks On a Road.


  • 20 critical essays cover the full scope of Zora Neale Hurston’s writing
  • Includes the work of 22 distinguished authors—both established and emerging Hurston scholars drawing on important recent research and discoveries
Deborah G. Plant is associate professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. She is the author of Every Tub Must Sit On Its Own Bottom: The Philosophy and Politics of Zora Neale Hurston and Zora Neale Hurston: A Biography of the Spirit.


"Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty."—Choice, November 1, 2010
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