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Advertisement for Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston
New York Times
23 October 1938
James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection

In spite of her extensive training and her commitment to her work as an anthropologist, some colleagues questioned Zora Neale Hurston’s unorthodox research methods, which included participating in the lives and activities of her subjects. Perhaps in an effort to exoticize Hurston and sensationalize her work, Tell My Horse was advertised as the work of “an actual initiate of Voodooism,” and not that of an anthropologist. “This is folklore as only Zora Hurston can write it,” the book jacket tells us, “the story of esoteric superstitions, savage voodoo ceremonies, strange customs of the little known Negroes of Jamaica and Haiti. All the mystery, weirdness, horror, and comedy of the transplanted African Negro run through the book and color its pages.”

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Hurston

 

 

 

 

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