Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) is probably the most important of Hurston’s works to read after ‘‘Sweat.’’ Also set in Eatonville, it follows the story of Janie Crawford and her clashes with the moral code of the town.
The Color Purple (1982) is Alice Walker’s novel about the difficult life of a girl named Celie, whose fortunes finally begin to change with the arrival of her husband’s lover in her home. Not only is this highly regarded novel heavily allusive to Hurston’s work, it addresses some of the themes of ‘‘Sweat’’ in a more modern and thorough light.
The New Negro, an anthology of some of the most influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance, was published by Alain Locke in 1925. It includes Hurston’s short story ‘‘Spunk,’’ and it is a superb way to enter the literary world of the time.
In his controversial history, Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance (1987), Houston A. Baker Jr contends that the Harlem Renaissance is unfairly judged by the standards of European modernism and instead should be seen in the light of its own rich discourse.
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (1994) provides an excellent range of the accessible and sensitive poet who went on from Hurston’s group of friends to become possibly the most celebrated black writer of the century.
The one published issue of the magazine Fire!! was reprinted by the Negro Universities Press in 1970 and again by Fire!! Press in 1982. Its collection of writings by Hurston and her peers reveals the context and medium of ‘‘Sweat’’ as well as a broad sense of their artistic goals.