Their Eyes Were Watching God is a key text in African American literature. Its author Zora Neale Hurston has become an iconic figure for her literary works and for her invaluable contribution to documenting elements of black folk culture in the rural south and in the Caribbean. This introductory book designed for students explores Hurston's artistic achievements and her unique character: her staunch individualism, her penchant for drama, her sometimes controversial politics, her philosophical influences and her views on gender relations. Lovalerie King explores Hurston's life and analyses her major works and short stories. Historical, social, political, and cultural contexts for Hurston's life and work, including her key role in the development of the Harlem Renaissance, are set out. The book concludes with an overview of the reception of Hurston's work, both in her lifetime and up to the present, as well as suggestions for further reading.