Review by Choice Review
Lowe analyzes Hurston's histories and four novels in several contexts--including African and African American folklore, US culture of the 1920s and 1930s, and the international modernist movement--but Hurston's comedy is the focus of this excellent study. Appreciative of Hurston's "bodacious" humor, Lowe argues that she is "a profoundly serious, experimental, subversive, and therefore unsettling artist." For example, the witty indirection of "signifying" is a major device throughout her work. Lowe explores the relationship of religion and humor in Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934), the importance of play in Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), the startling use of "contemporary black dialect" to portray a Moses who is "not Hebrew, but Egyptian and therefore black" in Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), and the focus on gender and class rather than race in "Hurston's least understood novel," Seraph on the Suwanee (1948)--which he calls a "white book." Lowe favors "social science approaches to culture and language," but he writes for "all of Hurston's many admirers, not just those in the academy." Strongly recommended for all public and academic libraries, upper-division undergraduate and above. J. W. Hall; University of Mississippi
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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