Ralph Ellison and the Genius of America
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
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Table of Contents
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This book began in part as a response to Arnold Rampersad’s 2007 biography of Ralph Ellison. It seemed to me that Rampersad’s book had exhausted a line of thinking that began with the early reviews of ...
Beyond Invisible Man
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In 1903, in the pitch dark of the nearly one-hundred-year-long Jim Crow night, W. E. B. Du Bois defined the status of black Americans through the ironic inflection of a too familiar question: “How does it feel to be a ...
Chapter 1: Philip Roth’s Invisible Man
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When Ralph Ellison died in 1994, his passing was met with a mixture of acclaim and regret. Ellison’s importance as a novelist and cultural critic was widely acknowledged, but amid this celebration of his achievement as one of the major figures of American literature there ran an undercurrent ...
Chapter 2: Richard Wright’s Apprentice
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Ralph Ellison did not write Invisible Man because he wanted to be the first black writer in the American literary canon. He already understood writers such as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes to be important American writers. Ellison did not write ...
Chapter 3: Ellison, Warren, and Woodward: The Other Side of Invisible Man
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The drama of Invisible Man does not end with the protagonist being happily absorbed into the American society, because such an ending was impossible when Ellison wrote the book. When he told Wright that 12 Million Black Voices spoke for him, he was responding to his sense that Negroes had ...
Chapter 4: Invisible Man’s Political Vision: Ellison and King
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Ellison’s work as a novelist and his career as a public intellectual emerged out of his conception of Negro history and its relationship to the fluid social processes of American democracy. In particular, Ellison understood the Negro’s quest for social equality to be the mechanism by ...
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Ellison saw almost as soon as his novel was published that the second half of his life would allow him opportunities unimaginable during its first half. His 1950s letters to Murray express a cautious confidence about the possibilities opening up to a pair of talented “moses” such as Ellison and ...
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2012