Jean Toomer

Cane
  • Cane

  • Jean Toomer's Cane is one of the most significant works to come out of the Harlem Renaissance and is considered to be a masterpiece in American modernist literature due to its distinct structure and style. First published in 1923 and told through a series of vignettes, Cane uses poetry, prose and play-like dialogue to create a window into the varied lives of African Americans living in the rural South and urban North during a time when Jim Crow laws pervaded and racism reigned.

Jean Toomer (1894-1967) was an African American novelist and poet. The son of a mixed-race freedman born into slavery who later joined ranks with the mulatto elite in Washington DC, Toomer's lighter skin and upbringing in all-white schools and neighbourhoods caused him to not to identify as black or white but rather an American who represented a new mixed race. Despite his refusal to be bound or classified by race, Toomer is considered one of the most important African American writers to come from the Harlem Renaissance.


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