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Story in Harlem Slang

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Book Details

Title:Story in Harlem Slang
Hurston, Zora Neale   
(6 of 7 for author by title)
Their Eyes Were Watching God
The Rise of the Begging Joints
Published:   1942
Publisher:American Mercury
Tags:fiction, humour, New York City, short story

New York's Harlem, U.S.A.'s largest Negro community, is a city within a city: an amazing place of beauty and squalor, heaped-up hopes and despairs. Out of Harlem comes a constant flow of legend, music and picturesque language which has deeply influenced American life. Miss Hurston has for many years studied the curious and colorful argot of Harlem which has enriched the American vocabulary. Here she offers a sketch of Harlem life couched in Harlemese, together with a glossary of this slang based on her research.--preface. [Suggest a different description.]

Pages:24 Info

Author Bio for Hurston, Zora Neale

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Zora Neale Hurston (7 January 7 1891—28 January 1960) was an influential author of African-American literature and anthropologist, who portrayed racial struggles in the early 20th century American South, and published research on Haitian voodoo. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, her most popular is the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, and moved to Eatonville, Florida, with her family in 1894. Eatonville would become the setting for many of her stories and is now the site of the Zora! Festival, held each year in Hurston's honor. In her early career, Hurston conducted anthropological and ethnographic research while attending Barnard College. While in New York she became a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Her short satires, drawing from the African-American experience and racial division, were published in anthologies such as The New Negro and Fire!! After moving back to Florida, Hurston published her literary anthropology on African-American folklore in North Florida, Mules and Men (1935) and her first three novels: Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934); Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937); and Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939). Also published during this time was Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica (1938), documenting her research on rituals in Jamaica and Haiti.

Hurston's works touched on the African-American experience and her struggles as an African-American woman. Her novels went relatively unrecognized by the literary world for decades, but interest revived after author Alice Walker published "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston" in the March 1975 issue of Ms. Magazine. Hurston's manuscript Every Tongue Got to Confess (2001), a collection of folktales gathered in the 1920s, was published posthumously after being discovered in the Smithsonian archives. Her nonfiction book Barracoon was published posthumously in 2018.


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