New Release Books by Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison is the author of Juneteenth (2021), Juneteenth (Revised) (2021), The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison (2019), Invisible Man (2016) and other 166 books.

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Juneteenth

release date: May 25, 2021
Juneteenth
The radiant, posthumous second novel by the visionary author of Invisible Man, featuring an introduction and a new postscript by Ralph Ellison''s literary executor, John F. Callahan, and a preface by National Book Award-winning author Charles Johnson “Ralph Ellison’s generosity, humor and nimble language are, of course, on display in Juneteenth, but it is his vigorous intellect that rules the novel. . . . A majestic narrative concept.”—Toni Morrison In Washington, D.C., in the 1950s, Adam Sunraider, a race-baiting senator from New England, is mortally wounded by an assassin’s bullet while making a speech on the Senate floor. To the shock of all who think they know him, Sunraider calls out from his deathbed for Alonzo Hickman, an old black minister, to be brought to his side. The reverend is summoned; the two are left alone. “Tell me what happened while there’s still time,” demands the dying Sunraider. Out of their conversation, and the inner rhythms of memories whose weight has been borne in silence for many long years, a story emerges. Senator Sunraider, once known as Bliss, was raised by Reverend Hickman in a black community steeped in religion and music (not unlike Ralph Ellison’s own childhood home) and was brought up to be a preaching prodigy in a joyful black Baptist ministry that traveled throughout the South and the Southwest. Together one last time, the two men retrace the course of their shared life in an “anguished attempt,” Ellison once put it, “to arrive at the true shape and substance of a sundered past and its meaning.” In the end, the two men confront their most painful memories, memories that hold the key to understanding the mysteries of kinship and race that bind them, and to the senator’s confronting how deeply estranged he had become from his true identity. In Juneteenth, Ralph Ellison evokes the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech to tell a powerful tale of a prodigal son in the twentieth century. At the time of his death in 1994, Ellison was still expanding his novel in other directions, envisioning a grand, perhaps multivolume, story cycle. Always, in his mind, the character Hickman and the story of Sunraider’s life from birth to death were the dramatic heart of the narrative. And so, with the aid of Ellison’s widow, Fanny, his literary executor, John Callahan, has edited this magnificent novel at the center of Ralph Ellison’s forty-year work in progress—its author’s abiding testament to the country he so loved and to its many unfinished tasks.

Juneteenth (Revised)

release date: May 18, 2021
Juneteenth (Revised)
"The story of a black man who passes for white and becomes a race-baiting U.S. senator. When he is shot on the Senate floor, the first visitor in hospital is a black musician-turned-preacher who raised him. As the two men talk, their respective stories come out"--

The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison

release date: Dec 03, 2019
The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison
A radiant collection of letters from the renowned author of Invisible Man that trace the life and mind of a giant of American literature, with insights into the riddle of identity, the writer’s craft, and the story of a changing nation over six decades A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK These extensive and revealing letters span the life of Ralph Ellison and provide a remarkable window into the great writer’s life and work, his friendships, rivalries, anxieties, and all the questions about identity, art, and the American soul that bedeviled and inspired him until his death. They include early notes to his mother, written as an impoverished college student; lively exchanges with the most distinguished American writers and thinkers of his time, from Romare Bearden to Saul Bellow; and letters to friends and family from his hometown of Oklahoma City, whose influence would always be paramount. These letters are beautifully rendered first-person accounts of Ellison’s life and work and his observations of a changing world, showing his metamorphosis from a wide-eyed student into a towering public intellectual who confronted and articulated America’s complexities.

Invisible Man

release date: Aug 18, 2016
Invisible Man
Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot''s The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.

The Black Ball

release date: Feb 22, 2018
The Black Ball
''If he only knew what it was, he would fix it; he would kill this mean thing that made Mama feel so bad.'' Belonging and estrangement intertwine in these four lyrical short stories from the the author of Invisible Man. Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series,with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York''s underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.

Going to the Territory

release date: Jun 01, 2011
Going to the Territory
The work of one of the most formidable figures in American intellectual life." -- Washington Post Book World The seventeen essays collected in this volume prove that Ralph Ellison was not only one of America''s most dazzlingly innovative novelists but perhaps also our most perceptive and iconoclastic commentator on matters of literature, culture, and race. In Going to the Territory, Ellison provides us with dramatically fresh readings of William Faulkner and Richard Wright, along with new perspectives on the music of Duke Ellington and the art of Romare Bearden. He analyzes the subversive quality of black laughter, the mythic underpinnings of his masterpiece Invisible Man, and the extent to which America''s national identity rests on the contributions of African Americans. Erudite, humane, and resounding with humor and common sense, the result is essential Ellison.

Flying Home

release date: Jun 01, 2011
Flying Home
These 13 stories by the author of The Invisible Man "approach the elegance of Chekhov" (Washington Post) and provide "early explorations of (Ellison''s) lifelong fascination with the ''complex fate'' and ''beautiful absurdity'' of American identity" (John Callahan). First serial to The New Yorker. NPR sponsorship.

Shadow and Act

release date: Jun 01, 2011
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 thirty years after it was first published.

Flying Home And Other Stories

release date: Jul 07, 2016
Flying Home And Other Stories
Raw, lyrical and blazing with intensity, these short stories are a potent distillation of the genius of Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man. ''He saw the dark bird glide into the sun and glow like a bird of flaming gold'' Ranging from the Jim Crow South to a Harlem bingo parlour, from the hobo jungles of the Great Depression to Wales during the Second World War, they all display the musically layered voices, soaring language and sheer ebullience that made Ellison a giant of twentieth-century American writing. Written early in Ellison''s career, several of these fourteen stories were unpublished in his lifetime, including ''A Storm of Blizzard Proportions'' which features in this collection for the first time. ''Approach the simple elegance of Chekhov'' Washington Post

The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison

release date: Jun 01, 2011
The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison
Compiled, edited, and newly revised by Ralph Ellison’s literary executor, John F. Callahan, this Modern Library Paperback Classic includes posthumously discovered reviews, criticism, and interviews, as well as the essay collections Shadow and Act (1964), hailed by Robert Penn Warren as “a body of cogent and subtle commentary on the questions that focus on race,” and Going to the Territory (1986), an exploration of literature and folklore, jazz and culture, and the nature and quality of lives that black Americans lead. “Ralph Ellison,” wrote Stanley Crouch, “reached across race, religion, class and sex to make us all Americans.”

Three Days Before the Shooting . . .

release date: Apr 26, 2011
Three Days Before the Shooting . . .
At his death in 1994, Ralph Ellison left behind several thousand pages of his unfinished second novel, which he had spent nearly four decades writing. Five years later, Random House published Juneteenth, drawn from the central narrative of Ellison’s epic work in progress. Three Days Before the Shooting . . . gathers in one volume all the parts of that planned opus, including three major sequences never before published. Set in the frame of a deathbed vigil, the story is a gripping multigenerational saga centered on the assassination of a controversial, race-baiting U.S. senator who’s being tended to by an elderly black jazz musician turned preacher. Presented in their unexpurgated, provisional state, the narrative sequences brim with humor and tension, composed in Ellison’s magical jazz-inspired prose style. Beyond its compelling narratives, Three Days Before the Shooting . . . is perhaps most notable for its extraordinary insight into the creative process of one of this country’s greatest writers, and an essential, fascinating piece of Ralph Ellison’s legacy.

Trading Twelves

release date: Apr 28, 2010
Trading Twelves
This absorbing collection of letters spans a decade in the lifelong friendship of two remarkable writers who engaged the subjects of literature, race, and identity with deep clarity and passion. The correspondence begins in 1950 when Ellison is living in New York City, hard at work on his enduring masterpiece, Invisible Man, and Murray is a professor at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Mirroring a jam session in which two jazz musicians "trade twelves"—each improvising twelve bars of music around the same musical idea-their lively dialog centers upon their respective writing, the jazz they both love so well, on travel, family, the work literary contemporaries (including Richard Wright, James Baldwin, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway) and the challenge of racial inclusiveness that they wish to pose to America through their craft. Infused with warmth, humor, and great erudition, Trading Twelves offers a glimpse into literary history in the making—and into a powerful and enduring friendship.

Three Days Before the Shooting--

release date: Jan 01, 2010
Three Days Before the Shooting--
An authoritative release of the incomplete final work by the late influential author of Invisible Man is culled from more than 3,000 unedited manuscript pages and is complemented by supporting notes, introductions and scholarly material.

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

release date: Jan 01, 2004
Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
The books that comprise the ''Casebooks in Criticism'' series offer edited in-depth readings and critical notes and studies on the most important classic novels. This volume explores Ellison''s ''Invisible Man''.

Living with Music

release date: May 14, 2002
Living with Music
Before Ralph Ellison became one of America’s greatest writers, he was a musician and a student of jazz, writing widely on his favorite music for more than fifty years. Now, jazz authority Robert O’Meally has collected the very best of Ellison’s inspired, exuberant jazz writings in this unique anthology.

Conversations with Ralph Ellison

release date: Jan 01, 1995
Conversations with Ralph Ellison
Having published only one novel, Ralph Ellison gained and retained a reputation as one of America''s premier authors. Though urged by his admirers and by critics to write more, at the time of his death in 1994 Ellison''s renown rested upon a novel published in the 1950s. He remained at the peak of his eminence, acclaimed principally for this single work. But this astonishing book was Invisible Man, one of the cornerstones of modern American literature. In these interviews the author of this masterpiece proves himself intellectually vigorous, witty, and sometimes combative. These conversations about himself and about literature show him to be strongly independent, whether his remarks consider race, art, writing, or culture.
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