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\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Their Eyes Were Watching God:
Did You Know

Although widely read after it was published, Their Eyes Were Watching God was out of print for three decades. In the late 1960's, the book began to have an underground following, mostly by African-American women, but it still was not recognized as a literary work worth attention. Then, in 1972, the writer Alice Walker, who was teaching the novel at Wellesley, became interested in Hurston's life and why the novel wasn't read any more. She did some research, and published a personal essay, "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston," in Ms. magazine. This revived interest in the novel, and by the late 1970's, the Zora Neale Hurston renaissance was in full bloom.

Hurston appears in Langston Hughes's autobiography, The Big Sea, as a rather strange figure who has the nerve to approach strangers in Harlem and ask if she can measure their heads. For a period during the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston and Hughes were very close, and even collaborated on a play together, but they had a falling-out that turned relations quite bitter.

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