Cane Essay

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In the following introduction to Jean Toomer and the Terrors of American History, Scruggs and VanDemarr provide political background on Cane and its public rediscovery forty-five years after initial publication.

Jean Toomer and the Terrors of American History is about a literary life and its complicated relationships to the social, political, and economic worlds in which the writer lived and worked. In particular it is about the African-American writer Jean Toomer and his major book, the hybrid short story cycle Cane, first published in 1923. For more than three decades a kind of subterranean text, not forgotten but unavailable, Cane had been a critical success rather than a popular one in 1923, and though its publisher reprinted it in 1927 (no doubt to capitalize on the rise of the Harlem Renaissance), it would not be reprinted again until 1969, two years after Toomer's death. In 1969, in the midst of a revival of...

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This section contains 3,263 words
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