- Ralph Ellison
“What has cast such a shadow upon you?”
“It is not for me to judge Wright’s courage, but I must ask just why it was possible for me to write ‘only’ because Wright released his anger? Can’t I be allowed to release my own? . . . Wright . . . was as much a product of his reading as of his painful experiences, and he made himself a writer by subjecting himself to the writer’s discipline . . .”
He taught me that invisibility Begins with race in our society; But when his hero said he spoke for me On frequencies below variety,
He spoke this truth before Shadow and Act: Melville and Eliot as well as Trueblood, Bledsoe, and Wright were mine and his in fact, Part of our past, not the preserve of bluebloods.
The ambiguity of the Founder’s veil, The dance of Clifton’s dolls, the grandfather, The shaving bowl that made Cereno quail, Belong to us, and so does Cotton Mather.
He came from Oklahoma, and his sage Reading seasons his comedy and rage.
Remembering Ralph Ellison
• John F. Callahan, Frequencies of Memory: A Eulogy for Ralph Waldo Ellison
• Steve Cannon, Reminiscin’ in C: Remembering Ralph Waldo Ellison
• Leon Forrest, Ralph Ellison Remembered
• Michael S. Harper, Crypt: In Memoriam, Ralph Waldo Ellison, 1914–1994
• Keneth Kinnamon, Ellison in Urbana: Memories and an Interview
• David Levin, “Ralph Ellison”
• Nathan A. Scott, Jr., Ellison’s Vision of Communitas
• Richard Stern, Ralph Ellison
Selected Works by Ralph Ellison
• Cadillac Flambé
• The Roof, the Steeple and the People
David Levin is Thomas Jefferson Professor of Arts and Sciences Emeritus at the University of Virginia. He is author of History as Romantic Art, In Defense of Historical Literature, Cotton Mather: The Young Life of the Lord’s Remembrancer, Exemplary Elders, and Forms of Uncertainty.