Catalogue


Zora Neale Hurston's final decade /
Virginia Lynn Moylan.
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2011.
description
193 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0813035783 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780813035789 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2011.
isbn
0813035783 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780813035789 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
7457851
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 185-186) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2011-01-24:
Moylan's goal-"to freshly interpret" Zora Neale Hurston's tumultuous final decade, rocked by scandal and the author's controversial political views-is ill-met by this well-intentioned but clunky biography. Moylan, founding member of the Fort Pierce, Fla., Annual Zora Festival, draws heavily on two texts (Valerie Boyd's biography Wrapped in Rainbows, and Carla Kaplan's edition of Hurston's letters, Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters), supplemented by a number of interviews with the employers, acquaintances, and friends of Hurston's last decade. After a brief biographical sketch of Hurston's early years, Moylan addresses, in term-paperish prose, the false child molestation charges that, even after they were recanted, left Hurston's reputation in tatters, and her very controversial (in Moylan's words, "eccentric") objections to Brown v. Board of Education and desegregation on the grounds that, in her perspective, "racial uplift" would come by individual effort alone. Hurston's final creative projects-her development of an "anthropologically correct" black baby doll and planned biography of King Herod attest to how the famously idiosyncratic and iconoclastic writer remained deeply unpredictable and fascinating, and that her "lost years" merit a thoughtful and thorough biography. Unfortunately, this meandering, amateurish account isn't it. (Mar.) Theories of International (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Appeared in Choice on 2011-08-01:
With a cover designed to resemble the Harper Perennial editions of Hurston's fiction, this book embodies the affirmative spirit of its subject. This is so even though Moylan (independent scholar) is chronicling Hurston's last, difficult decade, in which she was unemployed, her works were out of print, and her solidarity with the African American community was diminished by her dislike of the Supreme Court's desegregation ruling. Despite some mistakes (e.g., the right-wing Florida senator Hurston supported was Spessard Holland, not "Spencer"), Moylan proves a reliable, informative guide. The reader learns about unfinished projects like the picaresque "The Lives of Barney Turk." She provides a crucial, deft analysis of Hurston's unpublished novel on King Herod the Great, in which Hurston attempted both an anticommunist allegory and a revision of normative biblical history. And Moylan gives a judicious account of Hurston's attitude toward desegregation, writing that Hurston feared it would rob "black children of traditions that contributed to their individual and cultural identities." Hurston got it wrong, but few people got both anticommunism and antiracism right in that era. Moylan shows that however uncomfortable one might feel with Hurston's later years, they are an integral part of this great American writer's story. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. N. Birns The New School
Reviews
Review Quotes
"With a cover designed to resemble the Harper Perennial editions of Hurston's fiction, this book embodies the affirmative spirit of its subject. This is so even though Moylan (independent scholar) is chronicling Hurston's last, difficult decade, in which she was unemployed, her works were out of print, and her solidarity with the African American community was diminished by her dislike of the Supreme Court's desegregation ruling. Despite some mistakes (e.g., the right-wing Florida senator Hurston supported was Spessard Holland, not "Spencer"), Moylan proves a reliable, informative guide. The reader learns about unfinished projects like the picaresque "The Lives of Barney Turk." She provides a crucial, deft analysis of Hurston's unpublished novel on King Herod the Great, in which Hurston attempted both an anticommunist allegory and a revision of normative biblical history. And Moylan gives a judicious account of Hurston's attitude toward desegregation, writing that Hurston feared it would rob "black children of traditions that contributed to their individual and cultural identities." Hurston got it wrong, but few people got both anticommunism and antiracism right in that era. Moylan shows that however uncomfortable one might feel with Hurston's later years, they are an integral part of this great American writer's story. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division" -- Choice undergraduates and above. N. Birns The New School
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, January 2011
Booklist, March 2011
Reference & Research Book News, June 2011
Choice, August 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Description for Bookstore
An intriguing investigation of the famous writer’s turbulent final years "‘Courage’ is the last word that Zora Neale Hurston wrote in her letters. And Hurston’s courage is what Virginia Lynn Moylan documents in this moving and meticulously researched account of the end of Hurston’s life."--Anna Lillios, author of Crossing the Creek "Moylan’s account of Hurston’s last decade contributes to our understanding of a complex artist and individual--one who was pivotal in the creation of the first ‘anthropologically correct’ baby doll and yet opposed court-ordered desegregation."--M. Genevieve West, author of Zora Neale Hurston and American Literary Culture "Hats off to Virginia Lynn Moylan for filling in missing pieces of Hurston’s life story. This sympathetic biography of Hurston’s last years is both a lively introduction to her life and a must-have book for Hurston fans. . . . Add[s] heft and richness to our understanding of all that Hurston was up against and just how much she achieved, in spite of the odds."--Carla Kaplan, author of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters In 1948, false accusations of child molestation all but erased the reputation and career Zora Neale Hurston had worked for decades to build. Sensationalized in the profit-seeking press and relentlessly pursued by a prosecution more interested in a personal crusade than justice, the morals charge brought against her nearly drove her to suicide. But she lived on. She lived on past her accuser’s admission that he had fabricated his whole story. She lived on for another twelve years, during which time she participated in some of the most remarkable events, movements, and projects of the day. Since her death, scholars and the public have rediscovered Hurston’s work and conscientiously researched her biography. Nevertheless, the last decade of her life has remained relatively unexplored. Virginia Moylan fills in the details--investigating subjects as varied as Hurston’s reporting on the trial of Ruby McCollum (a black woman convicted of murdering her white lover), her participation in designing an "anthropologically correct" black baby doll to combat stereotypes, her impassioned and radical biography of King Herod, and her controversial objections to court-ordered desegregation. Virginia Lynn Moylan, educator and independent scholar, is a founding member of the Fort Pierce, Florida, Annual Zora Festival and a contributing author to The Inside Light: New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston.
Description for Bookstore
An intriguing investigation of the famous writer's turbulent final years "'Courage' is the last word that Zora Neale Hurston wrote in her letters. And Hurston's courage is what Virginia Lynn Moylan documents in this moving and meticulously researched account of the end of Hurston's life."--Anna Lillios, author of Crossing the Creek "Moylan's account of Hurston's last decade contributes to our understanding of a complex artist and individual--one who was pivotal in the creation of the first 'anthropologically correct' baby doll and yet opposed court-ordered desegregation."--M. Genevieve West, author of Zora Neale Hurston and American Literary Culture "Hats off to Virginia Lynn Moylan for filling in missing pieces of Hurston's life story. This sympathetic biography of Hurston's last years is both a lively introduction to her life and a must-have book for Hurston fans. . . . Add[s] heft and richness to our understanding of all that Hurston was up against and just how much she achieved, in spite of the odds."--Carla Kaplan, author of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters In 1948, false accusations of child molestation all but erased the reputation and career Zora Neale Hurston had worked for decades to build. Sensationalized in the profit-seeking press and relentlessly pursued by a prosecution more interested in a personal crusade than justice, the morals charge brought against her nearly drove her to suicide. But she lived on. She lived on past her accuser's admission that he had fabricated his whole story. She lived on for another twelve years, during which time she participated in some of the most remarkable events, movements, and projects of the day. Since her death, scholars and the public have rediscovered Hurston's work and conscientiously researched her biography. Nevertheless, the last decade of her life has remained relatively unexplored. Virginia Moylan fills in the details--investigating subjects as varied as Hurston's reporting on the trial of Ruby McCollum (a black woman convicted of murdering her white lover), her participation in designing an "anthropologically correct" black baby doll to combat stereotypes, her impassioned and radical biography of King Herod, and her controversial objections to court-ordered desegregation. Virginia Lynn Moylan, educator and independent scholar, is a founding member of the Fort Pierce, Florida, Annual Zora Festival and a contributing author to The Inside Light: New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Zora Neale Hurston: A Biographical Sketch, 1891-1948p. 7
In Hell's Basement: Harlem, 1948-1949p. 39
Sunshine and Southern Politics: Miami, 1950p. 49
Sara Creech and Her Beautiful Doll: Belle Glade, 1950-1951p. 65
Herod the Sun-Like Splendor: Eau Gallie, 1951-1956p. 87
Death on the Suwannee: Live Oak, 1952-1953p. 115
A Crisis in Dixie: Eau Gallie, 1954-1956p. 130
The Last Horizon: Fort Pierce, 1956-1960p. 149
Conclusionp. 163
Acknowledgmentsp. 167
Notesp. 171
Select Bibliographyp. 185
Indexp. 187
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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