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Unformatted text preview: This letter that Jean Toomer wrote discussed the final design of Cane . Toomer describes to Frank how Cane has a circular design both aesthetically and regionally. He asks for Frank’s criticism on the novel as it is close to completed. This is one of many letters that Waldo Frank and Jean Toomer write to one another. The letter is proof of Frank’s influence on Toomer. It has been cited in Charles Davis’ essay as well Charles Scruggs essay. They both refer to this letter when they talk about the design of Cane. The set of correspondence letters originally came from Mark Whalan’s The Letters of Jean Toomer . Mark Whalan is an English professor at the University of Oregon. He focuses his studies on American modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. Whalan has four published books and is on the editorial board for the Journal of American Studies. He also published multiple articles in six different journals. Williams, Jennifer D. "Jean Toomer's Cane and the Erotics of Mourning." Cane: Authoritative Texts, Contexts, Criticism . Ed. Rudolph P. Byrd and Henry L. Gates, Jr. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011. 404-17. Print. Williams’ essay discusses the shift in themes present in African American literature. She gives Toomer credit from changing the image of literature from a pure, innocent one to one focused on African American women sexuality. She argues that Cane depicts the affects of slavery on racial passing during that time period. Specifically, the role of African American females has formed the 102 contemporary image of being African American. She pairs sexuality and loss together calling it the “erotics of mourning” (qtd. in Williams 405). Williams concludes her essay by mentioning that in order to go back into the past, the connections between sexual desire and slavery have to be made and acknowledged. Jennifer Williams is a fellow at New York University. She has written several reviews and articles that have been published in various journals such as Modern Fiction Studies and American Literature . She is currently working on her first book focusing again on the African American race and their relation to violence. Overall, Williams provides a very interesting analysis of the portrayal of race in Cane. However, I am not convinced of her argument. Although a connection between the desire of a woman and loss can be paired, I don’t believe that it is strong enough to make the assumption....
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- Spring '08
- Winesburg, Ohio, SON-9