Washington DC: Associated Publishers, Inc., . Hardcover. Scarce first edition. Author Robert Kerlin (1866-1950) was a well known educator and liberal who was a prominent advocate for racial equality and supporter of civil rights. This and his previous book, The Voice of the Negro," were published during the Harlem Renaissance - the African-American intellectual, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York, spanning the 1920s. In his preface to this book Kerlin writes: "While...I have passed in review the poetry of the Negro up to and including Dunbar...strictly speaking this is a representation of new Negro voices, and anthology of present-day Negro verse, with biographical items and...critical comment." While there are well-known names such as Dunbar, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes, many of the poets featured are not. Bound in green cloth with gilt titling to spine and front cover. With bumping, rubbing and small chips to spine edges. The interior hinges are loose but the text block is still holding. A previous owner made a close study of this book, making extensive notes in pencil on the free endpapers and annotations in the margins of several poems. Ink ownership signature of another previous owner on front and rear pastedowns. With a number of black and white illustrations of the poets. Still a nice copy of this contemporary study of African-American poetry. 285 pages. AFRICANAMER/120518. Very Good -.
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1930. Third printing. Uncommon. Inscribed by both Paul Robeson and his wife, the author Eslanda Robeson in 1931 on half-title. Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was one of the major public figures of the 20th century. He was famous for his cultural accomplishments as a singer and actor, his athletic abilities, and his political activism. He became active in the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice campaigns. His sympathies for the Soviet Union and for communism, and his criticism of the United States government and its foreign policies, caused him to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era. In 1921 he married Eslanda Goode (1895-1965). She also had many accomplishments as an anthropologist, actor, civil rights activist, and author. The Robeson's had a complicated marriage, made more difficult by his multiple affairs. This biography of him was her first book. Supposedly Robeson was deeply angered by the way he was depicted as lazy, immature, and in need of her. Despite all, their marriage endured until her death in 1965. Bound in reddish-brown cloth with gilt titling to spine. Covers and spine are bumped, chipped, and worn. Interior pages very good with aging to paper and a few brown spots and chipped fore-edges. Several b&w illustrations of Robeson throughout. Despite flaws a very desirable copy with the two inscriptions. 178 pages. AFRIAMER/120518.
Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1968. Hardcover. Sigend by the author on front free endpaper. "The fascinating story of a black man's rise to power in a white political structure, told vividly against a background of racial infighting and the interplay of personalities, special-interest groups, and political forces" (jacket). Red cloth spine over blue cloth boards with black title to spine and front cover. Pen inscription from previous owner. In black dust jacket with white title to spine and front panels. Minor soiling and wear to jacket including a light water ring on front panel. 250 pages. AFAME/120618. Very Good / Very Good.
San Francisco: Arion Press, 2000. Number 343 of 400 numbered copies. Signed by the artist. From the acclaimed Arion Press: "Cane is regarded as the highest literary achievement of the Harlem Renaissance and a masterpiece of African-American writing. To call it a novel is misleading, for the book is made up of many parts, by turn fiction, poetry, drama, set in rural Georgia, urban Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. To say it was first published in 1923 is misleading, too, for parts were published earlier in magazines. While it may seem at first a collection of writings, it is a highly experimental novel, novel in concept and form, and is a unified artistic whole. Cane was praised when issued but sold few copies. Toomer isolated himself after the book was published, and it was not rediscovered until the 1960s with the rise of academic interest in black history and culture. Jean Toomer (1897-1967) wrote several autobiographies, other fiction, drama, poetry, and essays, but published only one other book, Essentials, a collection of aphorisms, in 1931. Leon Litwack is an eminent historian of the black experience in America. In his essay on Cane, Litwack shows how the book addresses the racial situation in the early twentieth century. 'In coming to grips with the present, Jean Toomer insisted on confronting the past and exploring the heritage of slavery to its very roots, in ways that would avoid both condescension and romanticization. Looking about him, he sensed an agrarian folk culture deeply rooted in the slave experience. There was still time, he thought, to explore that culture, indeed the very soul and spirit of the black South, before urbanization and industrialization rendered it unrecognizable.' Martin Puryear is a leading American sculptor. He read Cane for the first time when he was teaching at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and living in the South for the first time. The book has been important to him ever since. His woodcuts for Cane are on two scales. The seven larger images are abstract portraits of women characters in the book; the three smaller blocks are reinterpretations of the enigmatic arcs that Toomer placed on pages dividing sections in the first edition." Bound in full tan linen over limp boards with brown ties. The text type is Times New Roman composed by Monotype and printed on Biblio mouldmade paper from Germany. The display type is Lucian Bold, composed by hand. The prints are on handmade Kitakata paper from Japan. Oblong measuring 111/2 by 13 7/8 inches. Includes prospectus and box in which mailed. In fine condition. PRIV/091818.