Major Black American Writers through the Harlem Renaissance

By Harold Bloom | Go to book overview

Jean Toomer
1894-1967

JEAN TOOMER was born Nathan Pinchback Toomer in Washington, D.C., on December 26, 1894, the son of Nathan and Nina Pinchback Toomer. At his grandfather's insistence he was called Eugene Toomer, and later he adopted the first name Jean because he thought it had a more literary connotation. Nathan Toomer abandoned the family soon after Jean was born, and Nina Toomer, after living with her parents for some years, moved in 1906 to New Rochelle, New York, where she lived with her white husband. She died in 1909, and Jean returned to Washington to live with his grandparents. At this time his grandfather, P. B. S. Pinchback, informed Toomer—who looked white and believed himself to be white—that he was of racially mixed ancestry.

Toomer attended several universities between 1914 and 1919, including the University of Wisconsin and the City College of New York, but finally abandoned academic life to pursue literature, writing poetry and fiction for such magazines as the Little Review, Secession, and Broom. Toomer disliked the use of race labels, insisting he was neither white nor black but "simply an American." He held the belief that race was not a fundamental constituent in one's self-definition, and was accordingly criticized for the lack of a black focus in his later works.

Toomer is best remembered for his first book, Cane (1923), a miscellany of stories, verse, and a drama concerned with the lives of black Americans in the United States. Much of the source material for this work was derived from a trip to Georgia he took in the fall of 1921. Cane is now regarded as one of the most remarkable novels of its time because of its prose-poetic language, its amalgamation of literary genres, and its rich evocation of the lives of both northern and southern black Americans.

Toomer's other works are the plays Balo, Natalie Mann, and The Sacred Factory; the novella "York Beach" (1929); Essentials (1931), a collection of aphorisms; the 800-line poem "The Blue Meridian" (1936), a radical expansion of an earlier poem entitled "The First American"; and other

-153-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Major Black American Writers through the Harlem Renaissance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Major Black American Writers - Through the Harlem Renaissance *
  • Contents *
  • User's Guide vi
  • The Life of the Author vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Charles W. Chesnutt 1858-1932 1
  • Countee Cullen 1903-1946 17
  • Frederick Douglass 1818-1895 34
  • W. E. B. Du Bois 1868-1963 49
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar 1872-1906 68
  • Langston Hughes 1902-1967 85
  • Zora Neale Hurston C. 1891-1960 102
  • James Weldon Johnson 1871-1938 119
  • Claude Mckay 1890-1948 136
  • Jean Toomer 1894-1967 153
  • Richard Wright 1908-1960 170
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 187

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.