Uncollected Works of American Author Jean Toomer, 1894-1967

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This volume brings together everything published by Jean Toomer, known as the Herald of the Harlem Renaissance, after the publication of Cane in 1923, plus several poems he had published prior to ’23. It includes short stories, poems, essays, and a play. The play, Balo, published in 1927, grew out of his experiences as headmaster of a black school in Sparta, Georgia in 1922, and takes an interesting look at race relations and black religion in the rural South in the early part of the century. The volumes also contains a brief biography of Toomer.


“Organized chronologically, from 1922 to 1950, and divided into three major sections, the material here captures several distinct stages of Toomer’s career….Griffin offers a brief overview of Toomer’s life and work but is content to let his carefully annotated selections speak for themselves; the result enriches understanding of Toomer’s artistic and spiritual preoccupations in the decades following the critical success of Cane (1923). A welcome addition to Toomer scholarship, the present title will be of particular interest to Toomer specialists, but it will appeal to readers with developed interests in Toomer as well. Recommended.” - CHOICE

“What a boon this will prove for Jean Toomer scholars! For now, instead of having to stumble blindly through the dark stacks of musty libraries throughout this great nation in search of those delightful little magazines of the ‘20s and ‘30s, where Jean Toomer first published his poems and short stories, our scholars may now fend them all under one well lighted roof…. It is interesting to now how John Griffin arranged Toomer’s works in this volume. Instead of grouping them according to genre (poems, vignettes, short stories and essays), Griffin arranged them chronologically. Thus the reader can trace, from decade to decade, Toomer’s evolution as a writer – not a boring pastime by any means.” – W. B. Martin

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword; Introduction
Section I: 1922-29 – Banking Coal; For M.W.; Glaciers of Dusk; Georgia Portraits; Gum; Open Letter to Gorham Munson’ Notations on The Captain’s Doll; The Critic of Waldo Frank; Zona Gale’s Faint Perfume; Waldo Frank’s Holiday; Oxen Cart and Warfare; Easter; Balo; Mr. Costyve Duditch; Winter on Earth; York Beach; Race Problems in Modern Society; Reflections; White Arrow
Section II: 1930-36 – Chapters from Earth-Being; Essentials – Definitions and Aphorisms (selections); Brown River, Smile; A New Force for Cooperation; City Plowman’ A Certain November; The Blue Meridian
Section III: 1937-50 – From a Farm; Peas about to Pod; J. T. and P. B.; “Evil”; Living is Developing; Work-Ideas; Roads, People, and Principles; The Other Invasion; The Presence of Love; Today May We Do It; Keep the Inward Watch; The Uncommon Man; Worship and Love; Authority, Inner and Outer; See the Heart; Chips; The Flavor of Man; Something More; Blessing and Curse

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