The lives of countless millions are evoked in Ralph Ellison's superb portrait of a generation of black Americans, "Invisible Man". This "Penguin Modern Classics" edition includes an introduction by John F. Callahan, as well as an introduction by the author. Ralph Ellison's blistering and impassioned first novel tells the extraordinary story of a ...
The lives of countless millions are evoked in Ralph Ellison's superb portrait of a generation of black Americans, "Invisible Man". This "Penguin Modern Classics" edition includes an introduction by John F. Callahan, as well as an introduction by the author. Ralph Ellison's blistering and impassioned first novel tells the extraordinary story of a man invisible 'simply because people refuse to see me'. Published in 1952 when American society was in the cusp of immense change, the powerfully depicted adventures of Ellison's invisible man - from his expulsion from a Southern college to a terrifying Harlem race riot - go far beyond the story of one individual. As John Callahan says, 'In an extraordinary imaginative leap, he hit upon a single word for the different yet shared condition of African Americans, Americans, and, for that matter, the human individual in the twentieth century and beyond.' This edition includes Ralph Ellison's introduction to the thirtieth anniversary edition of "Invisible Man", a fascinating account of the novel's seven-year gestation. Ralph Waldo Ellison (1914-94), named for the poet Emerson, was born in Oklahoma. At the age of nineteen he won a scholarship to study music at Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute. In 1936 he went to New York, where he met the writers Langston Hughes and Richard Wright; shortly afterwards his stories and articles began to appear in magazines and journals. After the Second World War Ellison was awarded a Rosenwald Fellowship, allowing him to concentrate on the composition of "Invisible Man" (1952), which won the National Book Award and established Ellison as a major figure in twentieth-century fiction. If you enjoyed "Invisible Man", you might like E.L. Doctorow's "The Book of Daniel", also available in "Penguin Modern Classics".
Very good read, especially for someone other than a minority. A minority would understand but others would become more aware of the feeling of minorities while gaining some insight and depth into the psyche of others.
Aug 17, 2009
Invisible Man Remains Transparent
Ellison's book is full of exquisite figurative language and even though my copy had 503 pages, I read it until the end. I was amazed at how he presented all types of personalities in his books, ranging from revolutionary Blacks such as Ras the Exhorter to communistic groups like the Brotherhood. It seems that each situation the Invisible Man is in is a dilemma to its most extreme. Still, at the end of the book, it seems he still hasn't learned his way. The overall lesson I think is "They don't like you, they'll never like you. Be with your people." This book is excellent to use for discussion and I can see why it is one of the most honored books in literature.
Mar 18, 2007
a study in alienation
Isolation, alienation, hate, fear, loneliness, America. All of these emotions and places swirl in a virtual maelstrom throughout the classic Invisible Man. This is a novel that no one should die not having read. I cannot think of a book that sums up the racial fears of a nation better than this. Ralph Ellison is a national treasure, a voice of a generation. His voice should never be forgotten and always turned to. His necessity has not dimmed with the passing years. New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina proved how much things have not changed since the time he wrote about life in Harlem.
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