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.
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