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Cane (Norton Critical Editions)


Cane (Norton Critical Editions) Cover

ISBN13: 9780393931686
ISBN10: 0393931684
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Originally published in 1923, Jean Toomer's 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 . The edition reprints the 1923 foreword to 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 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 . 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 , 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.

Book News Annotation:

This new edition of the Norton Critical reader on Jean Toomer provides twenty-first century readers with not only the full text of Cane, his major novel and a literary pillar of the Harlem Renaissance movement, but also several autobiographical excerpts and correspondence that sheds light on Toomer's personal life, his thoughts on writing and his later work with the Gurdjieff philosophical system. The volume includes an introductory essay by Byrd and Gates, two preeminent contemporary African American scholars, as well as contemporary reviews and a selection of criticism. The supporting material includes several photographs and other primary source documents. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


A masterpiece of the Harlem Renaissance and a canonical work in both the American and the African American literary traditions, is now available in a revised and expanded Norton Critical Edition.

About the Author

Jean Toomer (1894-1967)

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Kara Shamy, October 26, 2013 (view all comments by Kara Shamy)
***True Greatness -- Don't Miss Out on This Classic***

I had never heard of Jean Toomer until my junior year of college when I took a seminar on the Harlem Renaissance. I hardly remember the book itself -- what I do remember was being struck by the sense that I was reading one of the greatest writers of all time and the peculiarity of my prior ignorance of Jean Toomer, let alone Jean Toomer as a literary genius. I feel too many lovers of the literary arts haven't read this particular classic. I need to read it again soon!
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Product Details

Toomer, Jean
W. W. Norton & Company
Byrd, Rudolph P.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.
Gates, Henry Louis
Byrd, Rudolph P.
American - African American
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
Second Edition
Norton Critical Editions
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
8 x 5 x 1 in

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Cane (Norton Critical Editions) New Trade Paper
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Product details 560 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393931686 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A masterpiece of the Harlem Renaissance and a canonical work in both the American and the African American literary traditions, is now available in a revised and expanded Norton Critical Edition.
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