Jean Toomer

Mark Whalan (University of Oregon)
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Jean Toomer was an American author now chiefly remembered for his book Cane (1923). This collection of poetry, prose and drama was among the most important early texts of the Harlem (or New Negro) Renaissance, and has increasingly been seen as one of the most insightful texts of early US modernism on the intersections of race, gender, class, and formal experimentalism. From 1924 Toomer was also a keen adherent of the Gurdjieff method of personal development, and devoted much of his adult life to training and writing about this system of spiritual and psychological being.

Toomer was born into a relatively wealthy middle-class, African American family in Washington D.C. His father, Nathan Toomer, abandoned the family …

2656 words

Citation: Whalan, Mark. "Jean Toomer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 August 2009 [, accessed 28 September 2023.]

4423 Jean Toomer 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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