Penguin Classics, 9780143133674, 224pp.
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (6/25/2019)
Compact Disc (1/8/2013)
Compact Disc (6/25/2019)
MP3 CD (6/25/2019)
MP3 CD (1/8/2013)
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 because of 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. While critically acclaimed and known today as a pioneering text of the Harlem Renaissance, the book did not gain as much popularity as other works written during the period. Fellow Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes believed Cane's lack of a wider readership was because it didn't reinforce the stereotypes often associated with African Americans during the time, but portrayed them in an accurate and entirely human way, breaking the mold and laying the groundwork for how African Americans are depicted in literature. For the first time in Penguin Classics, this edition of Cane features a new introduction, suggestions for further reading, and notes by scholar George Hutchinson, and National Book Award Foundation 5 Under 35 novelist Zinzi Clemmons contributes a foreword.
About the Author
George Hutchinson is a Newton C. Farr Professor of American Culture at Cornell University. He is the author of In Search of Nella Larsen,and The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White. Most recently he brought to light Anita Thompson Reynolds' memoir, American Cocktail: A 'Colored Girl' in the World. He also edited The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance.
Zinzi Clemmons was raised in Philadelphia by a South African mother and an American father. Her novel What We Lose earned her a spot on National Book's 5 Under 35 list in 2015 and was a NBCC John Leonard First Book Prize finalist. Clemmons lives in Los Angeles with her husband, where she teaches at the Colburn Conservatory and Occidental College.
Praise For Cane…
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
“Over the past 95 years this Harlem Renaissance ‘experiment’ — a mosaic of poems, vignettes and short stories, many of these last being shocking studies of loneliness and the longing for love — has risen from relative obscurity to become what it always was, a groundbreaking work of 20th-century American literature.”
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post