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Originally published in 1923, Cane is a literary masterpiece of the Harlem Renaissance. The growing interest in African-American literature that began in the 1960's led to the rediscovery of earlier African-American writers, one of whom is Jean Toomer, author of Cane. It is an innovative literary work—part drama, part poetry, part fiction.
"Backgrounds" contains generous excerpts from Jean Toomer's correspondence with fellow writers Sherwood Anderson, Waldo Frank, and Allen Tate, and with his publisher, Horace Liveright.
Darwin T. Turner's "Introduction" (to the 1975 Liveright edition of Cane
), reprinted here, presents the historical and literary backgrounds of the work, as well as additional biographical information on Toomer.
"Criticism", both contemporary and recent, on Cane
and Toomer is wide-ranging and includes essays by W. E. B. Du Bois, Gorham B. Munson, Robert Bone, Patricia Watkins, Lucinda H. MacKethan, Nellie Y. McKay, and Darwin T. Turner.