Failed Collaboration: Langston Hughes, Zora Hurston, and the Possibilities of Cocreation

One of the best-known feuds in American literature is the attempted collaboration between Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. In 1930, they decided to cowrite a play based on Hurston’s field work in African American southern folk culture and her unpublished story “The Bone of Contention.” However, The Mule-Bone never met page or stage in their lifetimes and it ended their friendship. Or, to use Hughes’s now famous hand-written manuscript notation, “the authors fell out.” Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Institutional Picaresque

The development of the new modernist studies of the past fifteen years has involved what we could term, to borrow a phrase that has circulated in the social sciences since the nineties, a “new institutionalism.”