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"Some Other Way to Try": From Defiance to Creative Submission in Their Eyes Were Watching God

"Some Other Way to Try": From Defiance to Creative Submission in Their Eyes Were Watching God “Some Other Way to Try”: From Defi ance to Creative Submission in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Shawn E. Miller Since 1979, by which time Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) had established itself as “the most privileged text in the African- American literary canon” (Washington xii), some Hurston critics have been of two minds about her best-known book. Citing various unre- solved textual problems, some cautious skeptics have asked whether the novel’s preeminence, won through nearly universal praise from Alice Walker and other fi rst-generation advocates, is premature, and perhaps even unwarranted. In the early days of the Hurston revival, one might have expected enthusiasts to regard such questions as hostile, and to re- spond in the mode of spirited defense; they were, after all, engaged in a delicate operation to recuperate a mostly forgotten writer who did not exactly fi t the extraliterary profi le of Herman Melville and other previ- ously successful candidates. When the question was whether Hurston would be remembered at all, one can hardly blame her advocates for their wagon-circling against rigorous interrogation by critics of uncer- tain loyalties. But now, with the revival an accomplished fact, Their Eyes Were Watching God http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

"Some Other Way to Try": From Defiance to Creative Submission in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 37 (1) – Jan 11, 2005

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

“Some Other Way to Try”: From Defi ance to Creative Submission in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Shawn E. Miller Since 1979, by which time Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) had established itself as “the most privileged text in the African- American literary canon” (Washington xii), some Hurston critics have been of two minds about her best-known book. Citing various unre- solved textual problems, some cautious skeptics have asked whether the novel’s preeminence, won through nearly universal praise from Alice Walker and other fi rst-generation advocates, is premature, and perhaps even unwarranted. In the early days of the Hurston revival, one might have expected enthusiasts to regard such questions as hostile, and to re- spond in the mode of spirited defense; they were, after all, engaged in a delicate operation to recuperate a mostly forgotten writer who did not exactly fi t the extraliterary profi le of Herman Melville and other previ- ously successful candidates. When the question was whether Hurston would be remembered at all, one can hardly blame her advocates for their wagon-circling against rigorous interrogation by critics of uncer- tain loyalties. But now, with the revival an accomplished fact, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 11, 2005

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