Mule Bone: A Comedy Of Negro Life by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. New York. 1991. Harper Collins. 282 pages. hardcover. 0060553014. Jacket design by Suzanne Noli. Jacket illustration by David Diaz.





   Set in Eatonville, Florida, Zora Neale Hurston’s hometown and the inspiration for much of her fiction, this energetic and often farcical play centers on Jim and Dave, a two-man song-and-dance team, and Daisy, the woman who comes between their singing and dancing. When jealousy gets the better of Jim, he picks up a mule bone and hits Dave. Chaos and hilarity ensue as the town breaks into two factions: the Methodists, who think Jim should be pardoned; and the Baptists, who think he should be banished for his crime. The exact origins of the dispute between Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston remain mysterious, but the vehemence of their disagreement has made MULE BONE an object of great curiosity in Afro-American literary history. Accompanying this edition of MULE BONE are the original Hurston short story on which the play was based and a fascinating look at the many sides of the MULE BONE controversy. From Hughes’s autobiography, the biographies of Hurston and Hughes, and the collaborators’ personal (and often heated) correspondence, we learn how the authors’ personal and professional clash not only created an irreparable rift in their friendship but truly buried the play unread and unproduced - until now.



Hughes Langston and Hurston Zora NealeZORA NEALE HURSTON (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist and was the author of many fiction and nonfiction works, including THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, MULES AND MEN, and DUST TRACKS ON A ROAD.


LANGSTON HUGHES (1902-1961) was a poet, novelist, lecturer, and playwright and was the author of more than thirty-five books, including THE WEARY BLUES, SIMPLE SPEAKS HIS MIND, and THE BIG SEA.







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