Shadow and Act

by Ralph Ellison

Published: March 1995
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pages: 352
Paperback
ISBN: 9780679760009

       

Overview of Shadow and Act

With the same intellectual incisiveness and supple, stylish prose he brought to his classic novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison examines his antecedents and in so doing illuminates the literature, music, and culture of both black and white America. His range is virtuosic, encompassing Mark Twain and Richard Wright, Mahalia Jackson and Charlie Parker, The Birth of a Nation and the Dante-esque landscape of Harlem—“the scene and symbol of the Negro’s perpetual alienation in the land of his birth.” Throughout, he gives us what amounts to an episodic autobiography that traces his formation as a writer as well as the genesis of Invisible Man.

On every page, Ellison reveals his idiosyncratic and often contrarian brilliance, his insistence on refuting both black and white stereotypes of what an African American writer should say or be. The result is a book that continues to instruct, delight, and occasionally outrage readers.

Synopsis of Shadow and Act

Ralph Ellison examines his antecedents and in so doing illuminates the literature, music, and culture of both black and white America.

Publishers Weekly

These three volumes have been redesigned and reissued to commemorate the first anniversary of Ellison's death. (Mar.)

About the Author, Ralph Ellison

For better or worse, Ralph Ellison stands with writers such as J. D. Salinger or Joseph Heller as a writer whose limited output was dominated by one perfect, defining book. For Ellison, that book was The Invisible Man, an awe-inspiring distillation of the pre-Civil Rights black experience as told by one gifted but doomed narrator.

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

These three volumes have been redesigned and reissued to commemorate the first anniversary of Ellison's death. (Mar.)

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