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Cane by Jean Toomer
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Cane (1923)

by Jean Toomer

Other authors: Darwin T. Turner (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,024712,501 (3.73)33

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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
If you have heard a Jewish cantor sing, if he has touched you and made your own sorrow seem trivial when compared with his, you will know my feeling when I follow the curves of her profile, like mobile rivers, to their common delta.

I find it impossible this morning to attempt comment on a lynching or a literary reflection thereof. Despite my tone deaf groaning as of late about dialect, the final parable in this tome touched me. Earnest. Cane is a modernist mélange of prose and verse. A Biblical air is present but the motivations are Freudian.

This book was recommended to me about 10 years ago by a childhood friend. That friend was entitled to his own weary blues. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
It took me 10 days to read this short book. It includes poems, short vignettes about (fictional?) women (which annoyed me, because why?), and then 2 short stories. There does not seem to be a common setting, but it's not clear that it's more specific than "in the south". The two short stories were difficult—the dialect is unlike any I have tried to read before (for example, "y" is "you"). I think these stories would be much more effective if performed—the difficulty of the confusing dialogue stream would be made obvious, and I think the dialect is easier to understand if pronounced. I chose to read/pronounce "y" as a sort of combination of "yuh" and "yeh", but quick.

But I am done. 1001 books read #173. ( )
  Dreesie | Feb 25, 2017 |
A collection of short stories about black life in the early 20th century, written by a man who sometimes passed as white during his life! The information at the end of the book about how Toomer dealt with race was quite interesting. ( )
  mojomomma | Nov 3, 2016 |
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! ( )
  kara.shamy | Jan 9, 2014 |
A wonderful, magisterial voice - at its best, up there with Whitman - but young and unfinished. It has that explosive, tightrope feel of some early works by brilliant writers. It's known as the first important Black novel of the Harlem Renaissance, which is funny because it's not a novel and Toomer liked to insist he wasn't Black. It's hard to see which he hated and feared the most - women or himself. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toomer, Jeanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turner, Darwin T.Introductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bontemps, ArnaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine this LT work for Jean Toomer's original 1923 work, Cane, with the Norton Critical Edition of the same title. Norton Critical Editions are significantly different from the corresponding original works, with thorough explanatory annotations; they also need to be kept separate in order to be part of the "Norton Critical Editions" series. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0871401517, Paperback)

"[Cane] has been reverberating in me to an astonishing degree. I love it passionately; could not possibly exist without it." —Alice Walker

A literary masterpiece of the Harlem Renaissance, Cane is a powerful work of innovative fiction evoking black life in the South. The sketches, poems, and stories of black rural and urban life that make up Cane are rich in imagery. Visions of smoke, sugarcane, dusk, and flame permeate the Southern landscape: the Northern world is pictured as a harsher reality of asphalt streets. Impressionistic, sometimes surrealistic, the pieces are redolent of nature and Africa, with sensuous appeals to eye and ear.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:30 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

First published in 1923, Jean Toomer's Cane is an innovative literary work 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.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0871401517, 0871402106

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