By Jon Woodson
Jean Toomer's adamant stance opposed to racism and his demand a raceless society have been way more advanced than the typical reader of works from the Harlem Renaissance may well think. In To Make a brand new Race Jon Woodson explores the serious impact of Greek-born mystic G. I. Gurdjieff at the deliberating Toomer and his coterie-Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larson, George Schuyler, Wallace Thurman-and, via them, the mystic's impact on some of the notables in African American literature.
Gurdjieff, born of bad Greco-Armenian mom and dad at the Russo-Turkish frontier, espoused the speculation that guy is asleep and in felony until he lines opposed to the main burdens of existence, specifically these of id, like race. Toomer, whose novel Cane grew to become an idea to many later Harlem Renaissance writers, traveled to France and worked at Gurdjieff's Institute for the Harmonious improvement of guy. Later, the author turned one of many basic fans licensed to coach Gurdjieff's philosophy within the usa.
Woodson's is the 1st research of Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance to appear past modern portrayals of the mystic with the intention to pass judgement on his impact. Scouring correspondence, manuscripts, and released texts, Woodson unearths the direct hyperlinks within which Gurdjieff via Toomer performed a massive function within the improvement of "objective literature." He discovers either coded and specific ways that Gurdjieff's philosophy formed the realm perspectives of writers good into the Sixties. additionally Woodson reinforces the huge contribution Toomer and different African-American writers with all their overseas affects made to the yank cultural scene.
Jon Woodson, an affiliate professor of English at Howard collage in Washington, D.C., is a contributor to the gathering, Black American Poets among Worlds, 1940-1960. He has released articles in African American Review and different journals.
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