About the Book
Jean Toomer wrote Cane after a 3-month visit to the place his father’s people came from in Georgia. In 1923 it was unlike anything published before and in 2023 it remains a necessary alternative to the conventions of literature and publishing. Impossible to categorize, enigmatic, unhesitating, of its time and of our time, Cane could be called a collection of stories, a play waiting to be staged, a songbook, a novel, a catalogue of the Great Migration, the self-portrait of a Black man who refused to claim or be claimed by race. With this 100th anniversary edition, we reimagine the critical edition as a set of cards that do not encase the book in thought and theory but invite readers to move with its movements, to employ its imaginative technologies, to be with its phenomena outside of time, for, as Toomer writes, “Time and space have no meaning in a canefield.”
About the Author
Jean Toomer, 1894 – 1967, was the author of one book, Cane. Before that, he published a handful of essays in the socialist paper The New Call. After, he continued to write but never published again.