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Cane: Norton Critical Edition, 2nd Edition

Cane: Norton Critical Edition, 2nd Edition

Jean Toomer, Rudolph P. Byrd (Editor), Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-393-93168-6

*Norton agency titles

552 pages

Select type: Paperback

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Originally published in 1923, Jean Toomer's Cane remains an innovative literary work—part drama, party poetry, part fiction. This revised Norton Critical Edition builds upon the First Edition (1988), which was edited by the late Darwin T. Turner, a pioneering scholar in the field of African American studies. The Second Edition begins with the editors' introduction, a major work of scholarship that places Toomer within the context of American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. The introduction provides groundbreaking biographical information on Toomer and examines his complex, contradictory racial position as well as his own pioneering views on race. Illustrative materials include government documents containing contradictory information on Toomer's race, several photographs of Toomer, and a map of Sparta, Georgia—the inspiration for the first and third parts of Cane. The edition reprints the 1923 foreword to Cane by Toomer's friend Waldo Frank, which helped introduce Toomer to a small but influential readership. Revised and expanded explanatory annotations are also included.

"Backgrounds and Sources" collects a wealth of autobiographical writing that illuminates important phases in Jean Toomer's intellectual life, including a central chapter from The Wayward and the Seeking and Toomer's essay on teaching the philosophy of Russian psychologist and mystic Georges I. Gurdjieff, "Why I Entered the Gurdjieff Work." The volume also reprints thirty of Toomer's letters from 1919-30, the height of his literary career, to correspondents including Waldo Frank, Sherwood Anderson, Claude McKay, Horace Liveright, Georgia O'Keeffe, and James Weldon Johnson.

An unusually rich "Criticism" section demonstrates deep and abiding interest in Cane. Five contemporary reviews—including those by Robert Littell and W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke—suggest its initial reception. From the wealth of scholarly commentary on Cane, the editors have chosen twenty-one major interpretations spanning eight decades including those by Langston Hughes, Robert Bone, Darwin T. Turner, Charles T. Davis, Alice Walker, Gayl Jones, Barbara Foley, Mark Whalan, and Nellie Y. McKay.

A Chronology, new to the Second Edition, and an updated Selected Bibliography are also included.

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* Rudolph P. Byrd and Henry Louis Gates Jr.: "Song of the Son": The Emergence and Passing of Jean Toomer
Jean Toomer's Racial Self-Identification: A Note on the Supporting Materials
*Draft Registration, June 5, 1917
*1930 Census
*Detail of 1930 Census
*1931 Marriage Certificate
*Draft Registration, April 24, 1942

The Text of Cane
Waldo Frank * Foreword to the 1923 Edition of Cane
Map of Sparta, Georgia

Backgrounds and Sources

Background Texts
Jean Toomer * The Cane Years
* Why I Entered the Gurdjieff Work
To Alain Locke, November 11, 1919
To Georgia Douglas Johnson, December 1919
To Georgia Douglas Johnson, January 7, 1920
To Georgia Douglas Johnson, February 20, 1920
To Alain Locke, December 24, 1920
To Alain Locke, January 26, 1921
To Alain Locke, November 8, 1921
To Alain Locke, November 1921
To Waldo Frank, March 24, 1922
Waldo Frank to Jean Toomer, April 25, 1922
To Waldo Frank, April 26, 1922
To Waldo Frank, August 21, 1922
To John McClure, July 22, 1922
To Claude McKay, July 23, 1922
To the Editors of The Liberator, August 19, 1922
To Alain Locke, October 1, 1922
To Gorham B. Munson, October 31, 1922
To Sherwood Anderson, December 18, 1922
To Sherwood Anderson, December 29, 1922
To Waldo Frank, December 1922
To Waldo Frank, December 12, 1922
To Alain Locke, January 2, 1923
To Waldo Frank, early January 1923
To Waldo Frank, early to mid January 1923
To Waldo Frank, early January 1923
To Horace Liveright, January 11, 1923
To Horace Liveright, February 27, 1923
To Horace Liveright, March 9, 1923
To Horace Liveright, September 5, 1923
To Countee Cullen, October 1, 1923
To Georgia O'Keeffe, January 13, 1924
To James Weldon Johnson, July 11, 1930


Contemporary Reviews
Montgomery Gregory * A Review of Cane
Robert Littell * A Review of Cane
W. E .B. Du Bois and Alain Locke * The Younger Literary Movement
Gorham B. Munson * The Significance of Jean Toomer
Paul Rosenfeld * Jean Toomer

Critical Interpretations
Sterling A. Brown * Jean Toomer
Langston Hughes * Gurdjieff in Harlem
Robert Bone * [Jean Toomer's Cane]
Darwin T. Turner * The Failure of a Playwright
Arna Bontemps * Introduction to the 1969 Edition of Cane
John M. Reilly * The Search for Black Redemption: Jean Toomer's Cane
Bernard Bell * A Key to the Poems in Cane
Catherine L. Innes * The Unity of Jean Toomer's Cane
Charles T. Davis * Jean Toomer and the South: Region and Race as Elements within a Literary Imagination
Alice Walker * The Divided Life of Jean Toomer
David Bradley * Looking Behind Cane
Charles Scruggs * Textuality and Vision in Jean Toomer's Cane
Gayl Jones * Blues Ballad: Jean Toomer's "Karintha"
George B. Hutchinson * Jean Toomer and the "New Negroes" of Washington
Barbara Foley * Jean Toomer's Washington and the Politics of Class: From "Blue Veins" to Seventh-street Rebels
Megan Abbott * "Dorris Dances . . . John Dreams": Free Indirect Discourse and Female Subjectivity in Cane
Werner Sollors * Jean Toomer's Cane: Modernism and Race in Interwar America
Mark Whalan * Jean Toomer and the Avant-Garde
Gino Michael Pellegrini * Jean Toomer's Cane: "Mixed-Blood" Impossibilities
Jennifer D. Williams * Jean Toomer's Cane and the Erotics of Mourning
Nellie Y. McKay * Jean Toomer, the Artist-An Unfulfilled American Life: An Afterword

Jean Toomer: A Chronology
Selected Bibliography