Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) 
By Zora Neale Hurston

"I was first introduced to Zora Neale Hurston, one of the major figures of the Harlem Renaissance, when I transferred to Barnard. A Barnard alumna, Hurston also majored in anthropology, studying with Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, and fellow student Margaret Mead during the 1920s. After reading her groundbreaking nonfiction and ethnographic works—Mules and Men and Tell My Horse—I eagerly picked up this novel, which follows the life and loves of an African-American woman named Janie Crawford. I love this book, not only because it offers a poetic glimpse into a black woman's experience during a particular time and place (the narrative is written partly in dialect), but also because Hurston so masterfully reveals the universal tangle of emotions we experience in human relationships."
From the book Reading Women by Stephanie Staal. Reprinted by arrangement with PublicAffairs (, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2011.


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