"Invisible Man" is a 1952 novel by the acclaimed black author Ralph Ellison. The novel was very well-received and won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1953. It has since been featured in Time magazine's 100 Best English-Language Novels of the 20th century and won the Modern Library ranking of the same name. It […]
Ralph Ellison was a respected American novelist and leading figure in African-American literature in the pre- Civil rights era. Ellison was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on March 1st, 1913. One of three brothers, Ellison faced much hardship growing up as a black man in the early 20th century.He struggled to find a job to help support his family and worked as a shoeshine boy, a busboy and a hotel waiter among other things. As a
He struggled to find a job to help support his family and worked as a shoeshine boy, a busboy and a hotel waiter among other things. As a child he developed a love of music and received free saxophone and trumpet lessons from the father of a friend.Ellison attended Tuskegee Institute, a respected black college in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington. He was admitted to be the trumpet player in the school's orchestra.
Ellison attended Tuskegee Institute, a respected black college in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington. He was admitted to be the trumpet player in the school's orchestra. In 1934, Ellison began working in the Universities library where he began reading classic novels. Ellison left the University in 1936 without graduating and then moved to New York City.He began living in Harlem and met Langston Hughes
He began living in Harlem and met Langston Hughes a influential black author of the time who introduced him to Richard Wright another renowned black author. After writing a book review for Wright, the man encouraged him to begin trying to write as he thought he had talent.Ellison's first published work was a story called 'Hymie's Bull' that was published in 1933. For the next few years, Ellison continued to write book reviews and articles.
Ellison's first published work was a story called "Hymie's Bull" that was published in 1933. For the next few years, Ellison continued to write book reviews and articles for magazine. In support of the Communist party, he also wrote some literature espousing their beliefs.
During World War II, Ellison and Wright lost their faith in the party as they felt that it had shifted it's focus and betrayed black Americans. In 1938, Ellison met Rosa Araminta Piondexter whom he married that same year. They split up in 1943 after Ellison had an affair with another woman. Ellison enlisted in the Merchant Marine Service during World War II and it was while he was doing this that he wrote his most famous work, "Invisible Man". His second wife, Fanny McConnell helped him with editing the book.
The book was a success and won the U.S National Book Award for Fiction the next year. Ellison began working as a respected, recognized author and touring other countries to lecture and give talks.
In 1958, Ellison wrote a second novel, "Juneteenth" and followed it in 1964 with "Shadow and Act", a collection of essays. Soon after he began teaching at Yale University and Rutgers University. Ellison lost most of his work on his last novel in a fire and never managed to finish it. He passed away from cancer on April 16th of 1994 and his ashes were interred in a crypt in Trinity Church Cemetery in Manhattan.