Library of Congress Announces Online Release of Hurston Plays

Library of Congress Announces Online Release of Hurston Plays

WASHINGTON
The Library of Congress announced the online release of the Zora Neale Hurston plays available on the American Memory Web site at: <http://memory.loc.gov/  ammem/znhhtml/>.
The Zora Neale Huston Plays collection at the Library of Congress presents a selection of 10 plays written by Hurston, an author, anthropologist and folklorist.
Deposited in the United States Copyright Office between 1925 and 1944, most of the plays remained unpublished and unproduced until they were rediscovered in the Copyright Deposit Drama Collection in 1997. The plays reflect Hurston’s life experience, travels and research, especially her study of folklore in the American South. Totaling 700 images, the scripts are housed in the Library’s Manuscript, Music and Rare Books and Special Collections Divisions.
Included in the scanned materials are four very short plays (sketches or skits) and six full-length plays. Most are light-hearted if not outright comedies, and several include song lyrics without the associated music. Hurston knew the songs and the subjects of these plays from her own upbringing and her professional folklore research in the African American South. She identified as her hometown Eatonville, Fla., the first African American incorporated township. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, Hurston traveled the American South collecting and recording the sounds and songs of her people, while her research in Haiti is reflected in the voodoo scenes and beliefs woven into several of the plays.
With the exception of “Mule Bone,” the plays presented here were all unpublished when they were rediscovered in the Library of Congress in 1997. At that time, only “Polk County” was familiar to scholars on the basis of copies in other repositories. Little was known about Hurston’s theatrical career until 1998, when scholarly publications began to reflect the drama discoveries announced by the Library of Congress.  



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