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The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison

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4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  186 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Compiled, edited, and newly revised by Ralph Ellison’s literary executor, John F. Callahan, this Modern Library Paperback Classic includes posthumously discovered reviews, criticism, and interviews, as well as the essay collections Shadow and Act (1964), hailed by Robert Penn Warren as “a body of cogent and subtle commentary on the questions that focus on race,” and Going ...more
ebook, 904 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Modern Library (first published 1995)
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Eric
May 03, 2009 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in literature or American history
Recommended to Eric by: ?
I recommend the essay "Twentieth Century Fiction and the Black Mask of Humanity". Ellison's analysis of "hard boiled" fiction explained to me what it was that always annoyed me about Hemingway, and the (to me) puzzling prevalence and celebration of writers like Cheever, Updike, Salinger, and Roth -- all celebrating apolitical, bourgeois characters standing for nothing.

Ellison is often arch and egotistical, but he was a great prose stylist and did stand for human dignity and equality.
Anthony D'Juan Shelton
Feb 25, 2008 Anthony D'Juan Shelton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ellison lovers.
This collection has everything that is in "Shadow & Act" as well as "Living With Music" -- plus more. There are a couple of interviews with Ellison, as well as his "notes" during the writing of "Invisible Man."

It was a great find.
Ernie
Ellison is one of the best American essayists of the century. His essays are perhaps even better than his classic, Invisible Man. This collection contains the entirety of Shadow and Act, his most famous essay collection, as well as a series of other interviews and essays. Ellison is as perceptive when writing about literature as he is when doing music criticism, and his thoughts are crucial for those seeking to gain a fuller understanding of the American democratic project as it relates to cultu ...more
Ron
Apr 13, 2014 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of essays on literature, American history and politics, music, and alot more.

Ellison's writings on race and racism are thought provoking and relevant to our times today.

Ellison's brilliance shines throughout this book. All of the essays should be read over and over.

Lindsay
I haven't read this entire book. I read a selection of the essays for an essay that I was writing for class--all of them on the topic of jazz music. I knew nothing about jazz, but the stories told by Ellison were still very interesting to me, and a really enjoyed them.
Babydoll
Feb 16, 2009 Babydoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a compilation of impressive essays from Ellison that I thoroughly enjoyed. A pretty long read, yet it will not disappoint.
April
Sep 08, 2008 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haven't read all of it yet but wow. It's great.
Frank
Sep 07, 2015 Frank marked it as to-read-afam-literary  ·  review of another edition
Background reading for Invisible Man.
Beza
Aug 28, 2007 Beza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: invisible men
check out invisible man
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Ralph Ellison was a scholar and writer. He was born Ralph Waldo Ellison in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, named by his father after Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ellison was best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986). Ellison references music in his ...more
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“Every serious novel is, beyond its immediate thematic preoccupations, a discussion of the craft, a conquest of the form, a conflict with its difficulties and a pursuit of its felicities and beauty.” 6 likes
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