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Mule Bone

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  210 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Mule Bone is the only collaboration between Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, two stars of the Harlem Renaissance, and it holds an unparalleled place in the annals of African-American theater. Set in Eatonville, Florida--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-d ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published April 26th 2000 by Harpperen (first published 1930)
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The Ways of White Folks by Langston HughesThe Collected Poems by Langston HughesThe Best of Simple by Langston HughesI Wonder as I Wander by Langston HughesThe Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes
Best of Langston Hughes
19th out of 23 books — 12 voters
Arcadia by Tom StoppardThe Seagull by Anton ChekhovAll My Sons by Arthur MillerBrother, I'm Dying by Edwidge DanticatPalestinian Walks by Raja Shehadeh
My shelf at the Monroe Twp. Library
17th out of 36 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 485)
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Jan Priddy
Jun 23, 2013 Jan Priddy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: read the story
Mule Bone by Zora Neale Huston. (screw alphabetical order)

I find it interesting that Langston Hughes receives first billing for this play. In fact, as I write this review only his name shows on my screen as author. There was an enormous fight over authorship, and Hurston and Hughes agreed that it would never be performed during either of their lifetimes. And then it was rediscovered after both had died.

By the time I finally read this disputed play by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Huston, I had
Sep 14, 2014 Derek rated it it was amazing
The actual play and short story on which it was based took up only 120 pages of the book and it was great. The remainder of the book was various accounts and interpretations of the 1930-1931 creative process and ultimate falling out between the two authors. Basic details were paraphrased no less than four times but the background did serve to introduce me to the fickle real-life patron "Godmother" Mrs. Mason who doled out monetary allowances to chosen artists in order to pull their strings and k ...more
Jun 08, 2008 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worth-reading
This is the play that nearly erased an amazing writer's name from history. The thoughts and wordplay are a sheer delight!
Oct 21, 2015 SmarterLilac rated it liked it
While I enjoyed reading this, I wouldn't exactly call it a "comedy." Nor would I call it the best work by either author. I am familiar with the work of both Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and I can't say I feel this play represents their depth or power as artists.

ETA: I wish I could find out more about the rift between the two playwrights that essentially left this piece incomplete for so long (if it can be said to be 'complete' at all.) Maybe I need to read my introduction again, but i
Aug 05, 2009 Lanier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zora Neale Hurston, not only comments on Hughes' controversial biogrpahy as depicted within Hughes' comedic play, "Mule Bone", she also has one of her own short stories within.

Some truly orginal funny bits in this first and only Black Comedy, that NEVER got off the ground. Unfortunately, these two collaborating artists, Hughes and Hurston got into a little squabble and miscommunications that ended what could've been one of the greatest theatrical teams of the last century. This book includes, "T
Paul Pellicci
Jan 10, 2011 Paul Pellicci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: interesting, race, drama
The Mule-Bone: A Comedy... by, Zora Neale Hurston
Funny Play
I really got a kick out of this play. The sayings reminded me of a friend I lost recently, who would always say these down home sayings. I asked her more than once if she was from down south and she told me she was from Baltimore. Sure seemed like she was back woods Florida and this play!
Zora Neale’s characters are real. They say the things I’ve heard many times from people I know. I laughed out loud while reading; “Yo head look like it
Becky Hirtzel
Interesting historical account of a collaboration that could have produced a classic play, but because of a quarrel the play was never seen. Lots of good research and details, more than I really needed. The Harlem Renaissance - what a time that must have been. The "patron" was the person I most despised in the whole affair.
Oct 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it really liked it
A cornerstone of the Harlem Renaissance, even though it was never performed during that historical time period. Regardless, the riff it caused between Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston is a piece of literary history worth learning about.
Serenity L
Mar 30, 2015 Serenity L rated it liked it
i just binged read everything she wrote. she has only 2 stories. the story of her hometown and the story of her family. although always well written. ... it's still the same 2 stories. this was my last book of hers to read and I'm tired of these 2 stories
Feb 21, 2016 Neeti rated it really liked it
A view of irony I found interesting...
Aug 21, 2012 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some of it was funny. For the most part, it was difficult to read, I will admit - deciphering the slang took me a minute. The fighting really turned me off. Maybe if I'd read this at a different point in my life, I would have liked it more. Not a fan of stereotypes... And this story was chock-full of them.
Persephone Abbott
This was good fun to read, a very entertaining short play that I found on the Gutenberg Project online. But, two stars because, it was just that, merely a short play and doesn't really go anywhere significant. For what it is, it has divine moments given by the two authors....
Dec 02, 2011 kasia rated it really liked it
The play is delightful, and the letters detailing the controversy surrounding it, which are included in this edition, are quite interesting.
More detailed blog review
Jan 13, 2009 Steve marked it as to-read
Shelves: classics
I started reading it before but got sidetracked. It was from the library so I returned. I do want to pick it up again though
Jan 06, 2012 Owen rated it liked it
Reading about the historic fight between Hurston and Hughes was really interesting. The play was good in that context.
Aug 22, 2011 Latiffany rated it really liked it
To be honest, the fight between Hurston and Hughes was far more entertaining than the play.
Read it for school. It was good up until the ending...
Sep 16, 2008 Warner rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: black-folk, romance
Great read on life at that time
Omar Majeed
Sep 30, 2011 Omar Majeed rated it it was ok
Over rated
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Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue."
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