“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Zora Neale Hurston was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Then she all but disappeared, finally working in obscurity as a substitute teacher and a maid before her death in 1960 in a county welfare home. A folklorist, anthropologist, and writer, she left behind four novels, as well as short stories, plays, and essays. Foremost among them is Their Eyes Were Watching God, the passionate, exuberant tale of a woman’s journey to reclaim herself.

The book made for a provocative discussion on October 24 , 2016, at Stanford, and is the perfect debut offering from the Another Look book club for the Entitled Opinions channel.

For 30 years after its 1937 publication, Their Eyes Were Watching God was out of print and attacked for its portrayal of black people, when it was remembered at all. By the 1970s, however, it had been rediscovered as a masterpiece. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker wrote, “There is no book more important to me than this one.”

Acclaimed author Robert Pogue Harrison moderated the discussion. The Stanford professor writes regularly for The New York Review of Books and hosts the popular radio/podcast talk show, Entitled Opinions. He was joined by dancer, choreographer, performer, and Stanford lecturer Aleta Hayes, and Tobias Wolff, one of America’s foremost writers and professor emeritus at Stanford.

The Another Look book club focuses on short classics that have been forgotten, neglected, or overlooked — or may simply not have received the attention they merit. See anotherlook.stanford.edu for regular updates and details on the selected books and events, or join the mailing list here.

Image via Another Look book club.

“There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight.”