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A Jean Toomer Reader : Selected Unpublished Writings - Jean Toomer

A Jean Toomer Reader

Selected Unpublished Writings

Hardcover

Published: 12th December 1993
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Jean Toomer achieved instant recognition as a critic and thinker in 1923 with the publication of his novelCane, a harsh, eloquent vision of black American hardship and suffering. But because of his reclusive, introspective nature, Toomer's fame waned in later years, and today his other contributions to American thought and literature are all but forgotten. Now, this collection of unpublished writings restores a crucial dimension to our understanding of this important African American author. Thematically arranging letters, sketches, poems, autobiography, short stories, a play, and a children's story, Frederik Rusch offers insight into Toomer's mind and spirituality, his feelings on racial identity in America, and his attitudes toward and ideas aboutCane. Rusch highlights Toomer's reflections on America, its people, landscape, and politics, reveals his significance for the problems and issues of today, and helps us understand Toomer not only as writer, but also as social critic, prophet, mystic, and idealist. Exploring Toomer's attempts to find self-realization and transcend social and cultural definitions of race, this book offers a unique view of the United States through the life of one of its most significant and fascinating intellectuals.

When in 1923 the American writer Jean Toomer (1894-1967) published Cane, his famous lyric and experimental novel of black southern life, he received immediate recognition and acknowledgment for having produced an American literary masterpiece. In the more than 40 years of his life following Cane, however, Toomer was neither to publish voluminously nor to recapture the breadth of recognition that had come to him after his first book. His life and thought, nevertheless, continued to possess passion, relevance, and consistency during the subsequent decades, and black and American literature scholar Rusch (English/John Jay College/CUNY) has compiled this welcome selection of unpublished Toomer writings in order to provide a full overview both of the author's life and of his thought. Fragments, letters (to Waldo Frank, Sherwood Anderson, Horace Liveright, and Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe, among others), essays, fiction, poetry, even a children's story are included. "The attainment of self-realization and psychic wholeness leading to a new personal and social harmony was Toomer's aim throughout his life," writes Rusch, speaking in his introduction of Toomer's indefatigable idealism: "Toomer believed that human beings could change, transcend their ordinary lives and selves, and find true being and unity with others." Toomer himself, in a Whitmanesque fragment dated 1931 and included in the volume, writes that "There is a new race in America. I am a member of this new race. It is neither white nor black nor in-between. It is the American race, differing as much from white and black as white and black differ from each other." And in a letter to Stieglitz of October 21, 1939, he writes: "If I have not yet reached Heaven at least my feet are more firmly planted on the Earth. As every jumper knows, one must have good purchase on the ground in order really to spring up." (Kirkus Reviews)

Introductionp. xi
Note on the Textp. xix
Chronologyp. xxi
Epigraphsp. 2
To Move from Place to Placep. 3
Canep. 5
Editor's Notep. 7
Pre-Canep. 10
Letter to Waldo Frank, 7/19/22p. 10
Letter to John McClure, 7/22/22p. 12
From Letter to Waldo Frank, 7/23/22p. 13
From Letter to Waldo Frank, 7/25/22p. 14
Letter to The Liberator, 8/19/22p. 15
From Letter to Lola Ridge, 12/22p. 17
Letter to Sherwood Anderson, 12/18/22p. 17
Canep. 19
Letter to Gorham Munson, 10/31/22p. 19
From Letter to Gorham Munson, 3/19/23p. 21
Letter to Kenneth Macgowan, 3/21/23p. 22
Letter to Waldo Frank, n.d.p. 23
Post-Canep. 26
Letter to Waldo Frank, 12/12/22p. 26
Letter to Horace Liveright, 2/27/23p. 27
Letter to Horace Liveright, 3/9/23p. 27
The Mystical Experiencep. 29
Editor's Notep. 31
The Experiencep. 33
The Negro, The Blue Man, and the New Racep. 77
Editor's Notep. 79
Introductionp. 82
Prejudicep. 82
Germ Carriersp. 82
The Fable of a Creaturep. 83
The Negrop. 84
Negro Psychology in The Emperor Jonesp. 84
From Letter to Sherwood Anderson, 12/29/22p. 85
The Negro Emergentp. 86
The Blue Manp. 94
Letter to Horace Liveright, 9/5/23p. 94
From Letter to Waldo Frank, n.d.p. 95
Not Typically Americanp. 95
Fighting the Vicep. 101
The New Racep. 105
A New Race in Americap. 105
Letter to James Weldon Johnson, 7/11/30p. 105
The Americansp. 106
Oppose the Force, Not the Manp. 110
Mankind Means Brotherhoodp. 111
Caught in the Machinep. 115
Editor's Notep. 117
To Dikep. 119
Sellingp. 119
A Comment on The Vegetablep. 120
Drackmanp. 121
The Scottsboro Boysp. 137
American Letterp. 138
To Sleepp. 146
Love on a Trainp. 146
Man's Home Companionp. 165
Lumpp. 170
The Spoken Wordp. 187
Winter Roadp. 189
George Washingtonp. 191
Atomic Energyp. 195
A Children's Storyp. 197
Editor's Notep. 199
Monroviap. 200
The Landp. 207
Editor's Notep. 209
Introductionp. 213
Highways Should Be Rightwaysp. 213
It Used To Bep. 217
Why These?p. 218
The Extremes Are Greatp. 218
The Northeastp. 219
New Yorkp. 219
The Brilliant Brotherhood: New York City During the Mystical Experience of 1926p. 221
Doylestownp. 223
The Presence of a Fieldp. 227
The Southp. 233
The Southp. 233
Nightp. 234
Chicagop. 235
Chicagop. 235
New Mexicop. 238
To the Land of The Peoplep. 238
Rainbowp. 240
The Dust of Abiquiup. 240
Taos Nightp. 249
New Mexico After Indiap. 249
Part of the Universep. 253
Santa Fe Sequencep. 257
Californiap. 259
Carombp. 259
America's Proposed Riviera: A Chicagoan's Impressions of Los Angelesp. 263
Epiloguep. 273
Editor's Notep. 275
Musicp. 276
A Double Portraitp. 276
To Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitzp. 280
Tired, I have come to the doorp. 283
Textual Notesp. 285
p. 285
p. 285
p. 286
Selected Bibliographyp. 289
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195077339
ISBN-10: 0195077334
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 12th December 1993
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 16.51  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.64