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on 21 May 1999
Alice Walker once said of Cane that she "could not possibly exist without it." I feel the same way. This is the most glorious, complex, heartwrenchingly beautiful collection of poems and prose that I have ever encountered. Toomer was a lyrical, insightful writer. He was someone who understood and could convey pain. Whatever racial classification people may settle upon, it is clear that Toomer was influenced by the black experience in the U.S. -- Cane reads like jazz sometimes, like blues at other times, and every once in awhile like gospel; in any case it is musical, rhythmic, and it gets to your soul.
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on 29 December 1997
This is perhaps one of my favorite works of literature I've ever read. This piece of literature uses poetry and short stories to portray the vast experiences of Afican-Americans in America. This novel (of sorts) opens your eyes and does so subtly and beautifully through various characters and the experiences they go through or fight against. Although written over fify years ago, Toomer's work relates well to the problems/concerns of race in America today. I feel this should be a required work in studying Modern American Literature and the African-American Experience. If there is a firm "canon" ever established, this should be included.
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on 13 April 1999
Toomer considered race arbitrary. Above all, he considered himself an American. Read this book; or, if nothing else, at least read "Blood-Burning Moon" to experience some extremely intense prose.
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on 22 March 2013
Just masterpiece . On level of "Mullato" by Langston Hughes and other Harlem Renaissance writers. (Countee Cullen, McKay).
Very interesting form- short stories, poems, and sketches connected together in one sensitive stream.
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on 24 February 2012
This is a sequence of short poems and short prose texts. The do not make for easy reading - the jacket of the Library of America edition that collects this along with other works of the Harlem Renaissance describes it as a strong example of modernism and it still makes the punch of the new and unexpected - but I found it generally rewarding.The one exception for me was the lengthier piece ends the book and is probably more directly autobiographical - which I found strangely less gripping.
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on 4 April 1999
It is irrelevant whether you choose to refer to Jean as black or as a MIXED CAUCASIAN. That is as riduculous and naive a moniker as you claim black to be. All caucasians are mixed, as all blacks are mixed. If the matter of his race was so simple, then he would not have fretted so much about it. He IS black in the sense that, by identifying him with black people, you get a more realistic sense of the context in which he lived his life. Labels such as "mixed caucasian" do nothing save give a mislesading starting point for evaluating his work. Oh, and by the way...His family WAS a member of the ealy African-American elite. He is from an old gaurd black family.
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on 6 July 1998
Readers who call Jean Toomer "black" or "African American" are totally in error. He rejected that racist "one drop" classification and deserves praise and admiration for doing so. Toomer's parents and grandparents were not "black middle class" but looked whiter than many Americans who call themselves "white."
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on 6 July 1998
Readers who call Jean Toomer "black" or "African American" are totally in error. He rejected that racist "one drop" classification and deserves praise and admiration for doing so. Toomer's parents and grandparents were not "black middle class" but looked whiter than many Americans who call themselves "white."
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