Ralph Ellison: A Biography

-A +A
0

Book Review

 
When Ralph Ellison (1913-1994) won the National Book Award for Invisible Man in 1953, little did he know that he’d never publish another novel during his lifetime. Still, his acerbic examination of racism through the eyes of a Black man in search of an identity was a masterpiece which permanently established the author in the pantheon of great African-American writers on the strength of this contribution alone.

Ellison, a World War II veteran and college dropout, would spend the next 40 years in a futile quest to replicate the success of that literary feat. According to his biographer, Arnold Rampersad, all the attention and accolades which arrived in the wake of Invisible Man, probably prevented the perfectionist from ever focusing on his work to the degree necessary to attain the same level of excellence again.

Rampersad, professor of English at Stanford University, devotes almost 700 pages to chronicling his subject’s confounding spiral towards irrelevancy, if not obscurity. Fortunately, this encyclopedic examination of the enigmatic Ellison’s life proves to be fascinating, partially because Ralph was so outspoken and given to making controversial, conservative remarks which ultimately left him ostracized by and estranged from the community he had once so eloquently spoken for.
A Black beatnik still banging on his bongo, Daddy-o, long past the time when his people had begun marching to the beat of a different drum.


Book details: Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad
Alfred A. Knopf. Hardcover, $35. 686 pages, illustrated
ISBN: 0-375-40827-4

To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to Milton@blackstarnews.com

“Speaking Truth To Empower.

Also Check Out...

They are offering the public a total of 10 percent actual equity in the business
The Black Bread Company Offering
Detroit native and U.S. gymnastics Hall of Famer Wendy Hilliard
Hall of Fame Gymnast Rising Up
 Dr. Calvin Mackie, founder of STEM Global Action and STEM NOLA, and Dillard University President Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough
Trailblazer Award Given To
Consumer Cooperative Group is a multi-family real estate investment cooperative that’s Black-owned, funded, and controlled by Ta
Invest, Build Generational Wealth
turning Black children over to white America for their daily education
American Public Education System:
The vibe and energy of our region flowed last evening in Gaudeloupe as the first Caribbean Games was officially opened.
Inaugural Caribbean Games Open In