Student Research in Beinecke Collections
David Suwondo, Yale Class of 2013, on Jean Toomer's Cane
David Suwondo's essay on Jean Toomer's novel Cane (written for Professor Jessica Pressman’s Spring 2010 English 127 class) draws on two items in the Jean Toomer Papers (JWJ MSS 1) at the Beinecke Library: the original page proofs of Cane (JWJ MSS 1, Box 26, Folder 607) and Jean Toomer's comments and corrections of the proofs (JWJ MSS 1, Box 26, Folder 608).
Though Toomer considered the acknowledgments page significant, later editions of the text marginalized or altogether eliminated the acknowledgments. "The omission of these acknowledgments is particularly significant," Suwondo writes, "in light of Toomer’s own explicit instructions regarding their inclusion and placement in the original, which he makes clear in his notes to the publisher. The acknowledgments page, in both its text and its deliberate placement as the last page of prefatory material preceding the contents of Cane, frames the work as a heterogeneous collection of form, setting, and content—a mosaic which in turn provides a framework for reading Cane as an expression of America and its heterogeneity."(2) A PDF of the full text of David Suwondo's essay can be found online here: David Suwondo on Toomer's Cane