Jean Toomer is known today for the one successful book of his career, the novel Cane, published in 1923. Based in part upon his brief experience in the South as a school teacher, Cane was perhaps the first genuinely experimental novel by an African American writer responding to the liberating form of modernist narrative techniques as well as to the deepest and most primal roots of black folk culture in both the South and the North. As such, it reflects in its form the identity conflict that the novel's interwoven stories and poems address. Cane is unique for its blend of poetic language and psychological and moral realism; it established Toomer as one of the leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance. However, Toomer soon was absorbed in his own spiritual education. He eventually became a Quaker and spent most of the last part of his life in seclusion.