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Cane - Critical Edition (2ND 11 Edition)by Jean Toomer
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
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.
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, Cane is now available in a revised and expanded Norton Critical Edition.
About the 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.
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