LITERATURE

The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison

Random. Dec. 2019. 1,056p. ed. by ed. by John F. Callahan & Marc C. Conner. index. ISBN 9780812998528. $50; ebk. ISBN 9780812998535. LIT
COPY ISBN
Ellison, best known as the author of the novel Invisible Man (1952), is a master of the dying form of epistolary writing, as amply illustrated in this generous selection of letters from 1933 to 1993, edited by Ellison’s literary executor Callahan (Odell Professor of Humanities, Lewis and Clark Univ.) and Connor (The Aesthetics of Toni Morrison). Whether writing to his peers such as Richard Wright, Saul Bellow, Albert Murray, or Stanley Edgar Hyman, or addressing his mother; his wife, actress Rose Poindexter; or lifelong friends from Oklahoma City, Ellison never fails to be entertaining or illuminating. One of the most insightful entries, to his former teacher at Tuskegee University, Morteza Sprague, dated May 19, 1954, speaks poignantly on the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision mandating the end of school segregation. Numerous correspondence revolves around Invisible Man, as well as the fitful composition of Ellison’s unfinished second novel, Juneteenth, which he worked on for nearly 40 years.
VERDICT An invaluable volume for Ellison scholars and recommended for all readers interested in American literature.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

TOP STORIES

LIBRARY EDUCATION

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COMMUNITY FORM

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.