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New Fiction Discovered From Zora Neale Hurston

Three new stories show another side to Hurston's life during the Harlem Renaissance.


When you think about Zora Neale Hurston, first thing to come to mind, perhaps, is her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. But she also wrote several short stories. (In 1995, Harper Collins published a book of Hurston's short stories, The Complete Stories of Zora Neale Hurstonedited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sieglinde Lemke.) But two professors at Harvard University have recently found three new stories that Hurston wrote about black life in New York during the Harlem Renaissance. 

From the essay:

The first story we found is a different, somewhat funnier version of "Book of Harlem," with the subtitle "Chapter I.," suggesting that Hurston may have envisioned it as the beginning of a longer migration tale. The second story, "Monkey Junk: A Satire on Modern Divorce," adheres to mock-biblical storytelling to satirize urban divorce, with the duped husband going back to Alabama at the end. It closes with the exclamation "Selah," an equivalent of "Amen" or "so sayeth the Lord" from the Book of Psalms and an ending that Hurston also used as a tongue-in-cheek valediction in a 1927 letter in which she expressed hope for a large automobile.

In this essay, Harvard professors Glenda R. Carpio and Werner Sollors take a look at Hurston's complicated life and examine how her politics -- and her "terrible" bookkeeping sense -- contributed to these late discoveries of her work.

Read the rest of this story at the Chronicle of Higher Education.