Cane by Jean Toomer

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



“A breakthrough in prose and poetical writing. . . . This book should be on all readers’ and writers’ desks and in their minds.”—Maya Angelou

First published in 1923, Jean Toomer’s Cane is an innovative literary work—part drama, part poetry, part fiction—powerfully evoking black life in the South. Rich in imagery, Toomer’s impressionistic, sometimes surrealistic sketches of Southern rural and urban life are permeated by visions of smoke, sugarcane, dusk, and fire; the northern world is pictured as a harsher reality of asphalt streets. This iconic work of American literature is published with a new afterword by Rudolph Byrd of Emory University and Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University, who provide groundbreaking biographical information on Toomer, place his writing within the context of American modernism and the Harlem Renaissance, and examine his shifting claims about his own race and his pioneering critique of race as a scientific or biological concept.

About Jean Toomer

See more books from this Author
Jean Toomer (1894-1967) was born in Washington, D.C., the son of educated blacks of Creole stock. Literature was his first love and he regularly contributed avant garde poetry and short stories to such magazines as Dial, Broom, Secession, Double Dealer, and Little Review. After a literary apprenticeship in New York, Toomer taught school in rural Georgia. His experiences there led to the writing of Cane. Rudolph P. Byrd (Ph.D. Yale University) is the Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts and the Department of African American Studies and the founding director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies at Emory University. He is the author and editor of ten books, including Jean Toomer's Years with Gurdjieff; Essentials by Jean Toomer with Charles Johnson; Charles Johnson's Novels: Writing the American Palimpsest; The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson; and with Alice Walker The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker. Among Professor Byrd's awards and fellowships are an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at Harvard University; Visiting Scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center; and the Thomas Jefferson Award from Emory University. He is a founding officer of the Alice Walker Literary Society. Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Ph.D. Cambridge) is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, at Harvard University. He is the author of Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the Racial Self; The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Criticism; Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars; Colored People: A Memoir; The Future of Race (with Cornel West); Wonders of the African World; Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man; and America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African Americans. He is general editor (with the late Nellie Y. McKay) of The Norton Anthology of African American Literature; editor-in-chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center (online); editor of The African-American Century (with Cornel West); Encarta Africana (with Kwame Anthony Appiah); and The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Craft; African American National Biography (with Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham) and The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin (with Hollis Robbins). For PBS, Professor Gates has written and produced several documentaries, among them African American Lives, series 1 and 2, and America Behind the Color Line.
Published June 13, 2011 by Liveright. 254 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cane

The Root

Among other reasons that I make this judgement is that Toomer, as Du Bois wrote in a 1924 book review in the Crisis magazine, liberated sexuality in the black novel: “The world of black folk will someday rise and point to Jean Toomer as a writer who first dared to emancipate the colored world fro...

Mar 18 2013 | Read Full Review of Cane

Reader Rating for Cane

An aggregated and normalized score based on 48 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review