Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Helen Carr (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
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Zora Neale Hurston wrote her second and best-known novel,

Their Eyes Were Watching God

, during an ethnographic field-visit to Haiti, collecting Haitian folklore during the day, and late into the night recreating the world of Eatonville, Florida, the all-black township in which she had grown up. The novel drew on her memories of its inhabitants’ rich folk culture, for which she saw many parallels in Haiti, but her immediate impetus for writing came in fact from an intense, abortive love-affair. In her autobiography, Hurston says the novel “was damned up in me . . . I wrote it under internal pressure in seven weeks”; within it, she says, she sought to “embalm all the tenderness of my passion” for her lover (

Dust Tracks

pp. 717, 770). Yet though the novel includes an account of a…

2095 words

Citation: Carr, Helen. "Their Eyes Were Watching God". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 July 2011 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8257, accessed 15 June 2024.]

8257 Their Eyes Were Watching God 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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