San Francisco: Arion Press, 2000. Puryear, Martin. Limited Edition. Hardcover. No. 78 of 400 copies, oblong folio size,  pp., signed by Martin Puryear, with the prospectus, invoice, and an invitation from the Grabhorn Institute. Near fine. Item #CNBR111
"'Cane' is regarded as the highest literary achievement of the Harlem Renaissance and a masterpiece of African-American writing. To call it a novel is misleading, for the book is made up of many parts, by turn fiction, poetry, [and] drama". First published in 1923, "Cane" garnered critical applause but sales were disappointing, causing Toomer to isolate himself. Jean Toomer (1897-1967) wrote several autobiographies, other fiction, drama, poetry, and essays, but published only one other book, "Essentials", a collection of aphorisms, in 1931. With woodcuts by Martin Puryear, a leading American sculptor. Born in Washington, D. C. (as was Toomer), in 1941, Puryear read "Cane" for the first time when he was teaching at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and living in the South for the first time; the book has been important to him ever since. Martin Puryear studied at Catholic University of America, the Swedish Royal Academy, and earned the M. F. A. degree from Yale University. He is recipient of National Endowment of the Arts fellowships and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. His woodcuts for Cane are on two scales; "the seven larger images are abstract portraits of women characters in the book; the three smaller blocks are reinterpretations of the enigmatic arcs that Toomer placed on pages dividing sections in the first edition" (n .b., quotes and information from book's prospectus and The Arion Press Catalogue).
___DESCRIPTION: Original tan linen over limp boards with brown linen ties, ten woodblock prints on Kitakata handmade Japanese paper; Times New Roman and Lucian Bold types, Biblio mouldmade paper, oblong folio size (11.5" by 13.75"), 144 pp. plus seven unnumbered leaves for the prints, one of 400 copies, this number 78, signed by the artist Martin Puryear, with the original 16-page prospectus, original invoice, and an invitation from the Grabhorn Institute.
___CONDITION: A near fine copy, internally bright and complete, with a strong square text block and solid hinges, entirely free of prior owner markings; fine except for a small faint spots of foxing to the linen covers. A lovely copy of an important work, with perfectly paired artwork. The prospectus is fine, as is the invitation from the Grabhorn Institute, the original invoice near fine with several folds.
___CITATION: Arion Press Catalogue no. 59.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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