“A novel by Zora Neale Hurston, acclaimed as her finest. Now considered a classic in feminist literature, it relates the story of one woman’s odyssey ‘to the horizon and back’ in search of fulfillment and freedom. Hurston, an anthropologist and a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance, uses black oral tradition and folklore, and centers the work in all-black settings. She focuses on love relationships and the strengths of African-American cultural practices, rather than racial protest. Ultimately, the story of Janie Starks’s quest is a universal one. Its lessons are about love, the efficacy of black folkways, and holding fast to one’s personal vision and value.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.