Jean Toomer (1894-1967)

A selective list of online literary criticism for the twentieth-century African American novelist, playwright, and poet Jean Toomer, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer or editor reviewed sources


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introduction

"Jean Toomer." "Toomer was a gifted artist who turned his back on what might have been a brilliant writing career for a principle regarding the meaning of race in America. For this reason, his life and work remain especially interesting to scholars." Introduction to Toomer from the educational publisher Heath.

"Jean Toomer." A brief introduction to Toomer's poetry. Academy of American Poets.

"Jean Toomer." Poetry Foundation. Encyclopedia-type introduction to Toomer's themes, and techniques, with a biography and samples of his poems.

"Jean Toomer." An introduction to Jean Toomer's poetry. Contents: Toomer's Life and Career; On "Reapers"; On "November Cotton Flower"; On "Portrait in Georgia"; On "Her Lips Are Copper Wire"; "Newly Discovered Articles by Jean Toomer"; On Toomer and Social Class; Additional Poems; About the Sonnet, Modern American Poetry, U of Illinois. Ed. Charles Scruggs.

"Scholars Say Chronicler of Black Life Passed for White." An introduction written by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Rudolph P. Byrd, a professor at Emory University,to a new Norton edition of Toomer's Cane, says their research has found that Toomer was “a Negro who decided to pass for white.” New York Times 26 Dec. 2010.

Whalan, Mark. "Jean Toomer." The Literary Encyclopedia [subscription service].

McKay Nellie Y. "Jean Toomer." A teachers' guide for Jean Toomer, from the educational publisher Heath.


literary criticism

Woodson, Jon. "To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance," reviewed in American Literature 72, 2 (June 2000) [excerpt, muse].

Dow, William. "'Always your heart': the 'great design' of Toomer's Cane. MELUS 27, 4 (Winter 2002) pp 59-88 [jstor preview or purchase].

Fike, Matthew A. "Jean Toomer and Okot p'Bitek in Alice Walker's 'In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens.'" MELUS 25, 3/4 (Fall-Winter 2000) pp 141-60 [jstor preview or purchase].

Kodat, Catherine Gunther. "To 'Flash White Light from Ebony': The Problem of Modernism in Jean Toomer's Cane." In Twentieth Century Literature 46, 1 (Spring 2000) pp 1-19 [free at jstor].

Foley, Barbara. "'In the land of cotton': economics and violence in Jean Toomer's Cane.." African American Review 32, 2 (Summer 1998) pp 181-98 [first page only, jstor].

Scruggs, Charles. "The Reluctant Witness: What Jean Toomer Remembered from Winesburg, Ohio" [and Sherwood Anderson]. Studies in American Fiction 28, 1 (2000) [questia subscription service, substantial excerpt].

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