This essay reframes the recovery and canonization of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) in the late 1970s and early 1980s in relation to the US economic restructuring and military invasion of the Caribbean in that same period. Focusing on Paule Marshall’s novel Praisesong for the Widow (1983) and Audre Lorde’s biomythography Zami (1982), the essay demonstrates how US black feminist literature used Hurston’s work as a stimulant and script for representing the Caribbean as a free zone of individual autonomy and desire outside of hegemonic and cultural nationalist gender and sexual binds. By juxtaposing the spatiotemporalities and affects of these fantasies alongside those of Ronald Reagan’s speeches and CIA literature produced in the wake of the Grenada invasion, the essay shows how these Hurstonian fantasies of the Caribbean worked to both mask and enable the US government’s destruction of Caribbean revolutionary and anticolonial societies in the name of the freedoms and intimacy neoliberal capitalism purported to offer.
“Times When Greater Disciplines Are Born”: The Zora Neale Hurston Revival and the Neoliberal Transformation of the Caribbean
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Patricia Stuelke; “Times When Greater Disciplines Are Born”: The Zora Neale Hurston Revival and the Neoliberal Transformation of the Caribbean. American Literature 1 March 2014; 86 (1): 117–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2395537
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