Daily Archives for: October 3rd, 2019

Jonah’s Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston (1934)

Jonah’s Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960) was this eminent author’s first novel, published in 1934. It’s the story of a Black plantation worker who aspires to be a preacher. Once he achieves his goal, he gives powerful sermons on Sundays, and the rest of the week indulges in much extramarital dallying with the women of his congregation.

While studying with the noted anthropologist Franz Boas, Zora was recognized for her talent for storytelling and abiding interest in black cultures of the American South and Caribbean. Her background as an anthropologist and folklorist was one of her great gifts, and what made her work, both fiction and nonfiction, so unique. She was already established in the field when this novel came out, as well as having published a number of short stories and nonfiction works.

After decades out of print, HarperCollins reissued Jonah’s Gourd Vine in 2008. From the publisher’s description:

Jonah’s Gourd Vine tells the story of John Buddy Pearson, ‘a living exultation’ of a young man who loves too many women for his own good. Lucy Potts, his long-suffering wife, is his true love, but there’s also Mehaley and Big ‘Oman, as well as the scheming Hattie, who conjures hoodoo spells to ensure his attentions. Read More→


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