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O Cant: Singing the Race Music of Jean Toomer's Cane

Thomas Austin Graham

Title:
O Cant: Singing the Race Music of Jean Toomer's Cane
Author(s):
Graham, Thomas Austin
Date:
Type:
Articles
Department(s):
English and Comparative Literature
Volume:
82
Persistent URL:
Book/Journal Title:
American Literature
Publisher:
Duke University Press
Abstract:
This essay considers Jean Toomer's Cane from a musicological perspective and discusses the text's musical poetics with an ear toward 1920s discussions of African American folk culture, preservationism, and the mediation of song. At the time of Cane's publication, Toomer's poems -- modeled on African American spirituals -- could be appreciated and sung by readers of various ethnic backgrounds. This essay argues that their musicality and performability were ultimately intended to promote interracial empathy and to elide racial difference.
Subject(s):
Spirituals (Songs)
Music in literature
Race relations
Music
Comparative literature
American literature
Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967
Cane (Toomer, Jean)
Publisher DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2010-043
Item views
153
Metadata:
text | xml
Suggested Citation:
Thomas Austin Graham, , O Cant: Singing the Race Music of Jean Toomer's Cane, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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