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A crucial distinction among those African-American writers who attempted to represent and recreate the folk voice during the1930s is that between the writers whose works were essentially elegiac in nature and those whose works were not. Many, perhaps most, writers of the New Negro Renaissance who attempted to recreate, or at least invoke, the folk voice did so with the sense that the voice issued from a dying, if oppositional, subculture that was disappearing under the pressures of modern life, particularly mass culture. In the case of James Weldon Johnson's God's Trombones, this passing is seen as the inevitable result of genuine progress. In Jean Toomer's Cane, the African-American folk culture of the South is also pictured as doomed, but in this instance the results, the deracinated and impotent human products of modern society, are tragic. This elegiac approach to the folk voice in somewhat modified form remained a powerful influence through the 1930s and beyond. As noted in chapter 2, the work of Sterling Brown, particularly Southern Road, had a strongly elegiac cast resembling that of Cane, but without the overt primitivist aspect. The powerfully corrupting influence of modern society, identified as mass culture by Brown, on the folk culture is rendered in both Toomer's work and that of Brown as a generational split, suggesting the doomed, if heroic, nature of the rural folk. Interestingly, as the dominant construction of the African-American folk, or "people," is transformed during the course of the 1930s from rural to urban, such an elegiac approach remains powerful. Even a poet as commonly, if wrongly, seen as opposed to vernacular African-American language as Melvin Tolson, a product of the literary and political movements of the 1920s and 1930s who published his first collection in the 1940s, saw his neomodernist epic The Harlem Gallery (1965) as an attempt to "fix" (to use James Weldon Johnson’s term) a vision of African-American community that is seen, like Johnson's "old-time preacher" in God's Trombones, with a certain sadness and affection stemming from its inevitable passing in a better, more egalitarian future.