Page Links: | Primary Works | Selected Bibliography 2000-Present | MLA Style Citation of this Web Page |

| A Brief Biography |

Site Links: | Chap. 10: Index | Alphabetical List | Table Of Contents | Home Page |


Source: The Ralph Ellison Page

Primary Works

Invisible Man, 1952; Shadow and Act, 1964; Invisible Man, 1982; Going to the Territory, 1986; Juneteenth, 1999 (Random House).

Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray. Murray, Albert (ed. and preface); Callahan, John F. NY: Modern Library, 2000.

Three Days before the Shooting. Callahan, John. ed. NY: Modern Library, 2010.

Selected Bibliography 2000-Present

Bourassa, Alan. Deleuze and American Literature: Affect and Virtuality in Faulkner, Wharton, Ellison, and McCarthy. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Bradley, Adam. Ralph Ellison in Progress: From Invisible Man to Three Days before the Shooting. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2010.

Crable, Bryan. Ralph Ellison and Kenneth Burke: At the Roots of the Racial Divide. Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 2012.

Floreani, Tracy. Fifties Ethnicities: The Ethnic Novel and Mass Culture at Midcentury. Albany: State U of New York P, 2013.

Foley, Barbara. Wrestling with the Left: The Making of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2010.

Garcia, Jay. Psychology Comes to Harlem: Rethinking the Race Question in Twentieth-Century America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2012.

Heise, Thomas. Urban Underworlds: A Geography of Twentieth-Century American Literature and Culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2011.

Jackson, Lawrence. Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius. Athens: U of Georgia P, 2007.

Kim, Daniel Y. Writing Manhood in Black and Yellow: Ralph Ellison, Frank Chin, and the Literary Politics of Identity. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2005.

Parr, Susan R, and Panch Savery. eds. Approaches to Teaching Ellison's Invisible Man. NY: Mod. Lang. Assn. of Amer., 1989.

Parrish, Timothy. Ralph Ellison and the Genius of America. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2011.

Porter, Horace A. Jazz Country: Ralph Ellison in America. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2001.

Rampersad, Arnold. Ralph Ellison: A Biography. NY: Knopf, 2007.

Rankine, Patrice D. Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 2006.

Tabron, Judith. Postcolonial Literature from Three Continents: Tutuola, H. D., Ellison, and White. NY: Peter Lang, 2003.

Thomas, P. L. Reading, Learning, Teaching Ralph Ellison. NY: Peter Lang, 2008.

Warren, Kenneth W. So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003.

| Top |Ralph Waldo Ellison (1914-1994): A Brief Biography

A Student Project by Lena Perez  

Ralph Waldo Ellison was born on March 1, 1914 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ellisons' child was not stiffled with racism. Oklahoma was not afected as much by the racial tension that appeared so much in the south. As he grew older Ellison wanted to become a "Reniassance man." He wanted to have knowledge in all areas; to be a whole man by knowing alot about everything.

Ellison attended Tuskegee Institution in Alabama for the years (1933-1936). He then headed north to New York to study sculpture. In New York he met the writer Richard Wright. Wright encouraged Ellsion to write book reviews. After writing book reviews he soon started writing essays and short stories. Ellsion became the editor of the Negro Quarterly. When serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II he first began thinking about writing a novel.

Ellsion started his novel Invisible Man in 1945 and it was published in 1952. The novel was Ellsion's greates work. Besides Invisible Man he collected two dozen of his essays and put them in a book called Shadow and Act which was published in 1964. He also published another book of essays and short stories in 1986 called Going to the Territory. A few of his most anthologized stories are "Flying Home," "King of the Bingo Game," and "A Coupla Scalped". Ellison started a forth book but never finished it. The Juneteenth was going to be a trilogy. It was later published.

Ralph Ellison became a recognized writer and he was often asked to lecture and teach at colleges and universities around the country; among them: Yale, Columbia, Rutgers, and Bard. He was not only an accomplished writer and a professor but a man who was proficient as a jazz trumpeter. He was also a free lance photographer and a furniture maker. Ellison was also an expert at electronic equipment.

Ralph Ellison died on April 16, 1994 of cancer. His work is used today in many colleges. Author Saul Bellow called Ellison's work "superb." (Dictionary of Literature, 139) Like Bellow, the Saturday Review saw Invisble Man as a "a great Negro Novel" but "a work of art any contemporary writer coud point to with pride." (Dictionary of Literature, 139). Some critics believe that Ellison is too conservative. Ernest Kaiser, a black critic, called Ellison an "Established writer, an Unle Tom." (Dictionary of Literature, 139).

Ellison's writings could be called autobiographical; they are about his life experieces. His first novel Invisible Man was thought to be about him because there were some many similarties between the main character and himself.

The Invisible Man brought Ellison many awards. He received a Rosenwald Fellowship from 1945-1947. In 1953 he won the National Book Award, Russwurm Award, and the National Newspaper Publishers' Award. He recieved another fellowship to the National American Academy of Arts and Letters in Rome from 1955-1957. In 1969 he won the Medal of Freedom. He was made a Chevalier de l'Ordes des Artes et Lettres in 1970. He was elected to many offices also; he was elected the vice- president of the American P.E.N. in 1964 and The National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1967. He was trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and on the board of advisors of the Institute of Jazz Studies.

Works Cited


Dictionary of Literature, Vol. 2, pg. 136-140

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page

Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 10: Ralph Ellison." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. URL: (provide page date or date of your login).

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