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Invisible Man (Hardcover)

Author:  Ralph Ellison Introduction: Ralph Waldo Ellison
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FORMAT: Hardcover
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Learn more about Invisible Man:

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0808554123
ISBN-13: 9780808554127
Sku: 30921049
Publish Date: 7/30/2007
Pages:  581
Age Range:  NA
 
An African-American man's search for success and the American dream leads himout of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and socialinvisibility.
From the Publisher:
A Black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility
Annotation:
Ellison's classic 1952 novel is about a black man from the South who travels to New York City in the 1930s. He becomes involved with the Communist Party, but is soon disillusioned: the Communists see him not as a person but as a symbol of oppressed humanity, as does the Black Nationalist group he encounters. This inability of a blind and hostile society to value him for himself, rather than as a projection of the ideas of others, is the recurrent theme of the novel, which becomes more and more surreal as the nameless narrator continues his quest for identity. Ultimately, this is an existential statement, permeated with the author's ironic perceptions about the absurdity of human existence.
Author Bio
Ralph Ellison
Ellison's father--an ice and coal salesman--died in 1917, after which his mother was forced to work as a domestic to support her children. Despite his impoverished childhood, Ellison graduated with honors from an all-black high school, where he played trumpet in the school band (he was also its conductor). In 1933 he left Oklahoma on a freight train with a music scholarship to Tuskegee Institute. He ran out of money before his final year, and in 1936, at the height of the Depression, he went to New York for the summer, hoping to make enough money playing his trumpet to finance his studies. Instead, he stayed in the city, working at odd jobs--as a file clerk, a factory worker, and in the cafeteria at the Harlem YMCA. He also studied sculpture, briefly, before he realized that what he wanted to do was write. He met Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, and began writing short stories, essays, and reviews, contributing to the New Masses and other radical publications. To support himself during this period, he also worked for the New Deal's Federal Writers' Project, researching and documenting the games and rhymes of black children. Between 1939 and 1944, Ellison published eight short stories; in 1942 he became managing editor of the Negro Quarterly, and he covered the Harlem race riots for the New York Post. During World War II, he served as a cook in the Merchant Marine as a way of avoiding the "Jim Crow army." He began writing INVISIBLE MAN when he was home on sick leave, and continued to work on it for seven years, assisted by support from his second wife and from occasional work (among other things, he built audio amplifiers, and installed hi-fi equipment). Finally published in 1952, INVISIBLE MAN won the National Book Award. From 1955 to 1957, Ellison lived in Rome as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. There he began work on a second novel, most of which was destroyed in a fire at Ellison's summer home in the Berkshires in 1967. He never wrote another work of fiction, although he produced a collection of essays, SHADOW AND ACT (1962), which collected Ellison's views of black life and folk culture and their effects on the African-American writer. In a 1965 Book Week poll, INVISIBLE MAN was named "the most distinguished work published in the last twenty years."

Ellison's father--an ice and coal salesman--died in 1917, after which his mother was forced to work as a domestic to support her children. Despite his impoverished childhood, Ellison graduated with honors from an all-black high school, where he played trumpet in the school band (he was also its conductor). In 1933 he left Oklahoma on a freight train with a music scholarship to Tuskegee Institute. He ran out of money before his final year, and in 1936, at the height of the Depression, he went to New York for the summer, hoping to make enough money playing his trumpet to finance his studies. Instead, he stayed in the city, working at odd jobs--as a file clerk, a factory worker, and in the cafeteria at the Harlem YMCA. He also studied sculpture, briefly, before he realized that what he wanted to do was write. He met Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, and began writing short stories, essays, and reviews, contributing to the New Masses and other radical publications. To support himself during this period, he also worked for the New Deal's Federal Writers' Project, researching and documenting the games and rhymes of black children. Between 1939 and 1944, Ellison published eight short stories; in 1942 he became managing editor of the Negro Quarterly, and he covered the Harlem race riots for the New York Post. During World War II, he served as a cook in the Merchant Marine as a way of avoiding the "Jim Crow army." He began writing INVISIBLE MAN when he was home on sick leave, and continued to work on it for seven years, assisted by support from his second wife and from occasional work (among other things, he built audio amplifiers, and installed hi-fi equipment). Finally published in 1952, INVISIBLE MAN won the National Book Award. From 1955 to 1957, Ellison lived in Rome as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. There he began work on a second novel, most of which was destroyed in a fire at Ellison's summer home in the Berkshires in 1967. He never wrote another work of fiction, although he produced a collection of essays, SHADOW AND ACT (1962), which collected Ellison's views of black life and folk culture and their effects on the African-American writer. In a 1965 Book Week poll, INVISIBLE MAN was named "the most distinguished work published in the last twenty years."

Praise

Commentary
"A book of the very first order....[A] superb book....[W]hat a great thing it is when a brilliant individual victory occurs, like Mr. Ellison's, proving that a truly heroic quality can exist among our contemporaries." - Saul Bellow June 1952

"An exceptionally good book and in parts an extremely funny one. That is not to say that it is without defects, but since they are almost entirely confined to the intolerably arty prologue and epilogue, and to certain expressionist passages conveniently printed in italics, they can easily be skipped, and they should be, for they are trifling in comparison with its virtues." - Anthony West 05/31/1952

New York Review of Books
"'Invisible Man' holds such an honored place in African-American literature that Ralph Ellison didn't have to write anything else to break bread with the remembered dead." - Darryl Pinckney 05/15/1997

New York Times Book Review
"This is not another journey to the end of the night. With this book the author maps a course from the underground world into the light. 'The Invisible Man' belongs on the shelf with the classical efforts man has made to chart the river Lethe from its mouth to its source." - Wright Morris 04/13/1952

"The greatest American novel in the second half of the twentieth century." - R.W.B. Lewis

"The Negro American experience...is indispensable to any profoundly American depiction of reality....This background provides the Black writer with much to write about. As fictional material it rivals that of the nineteenth century Russians." - Ralph Ellison

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0581
Product attributePublisher:   Turtleback Books
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