The Distinguished Works of the Preeminent Black Author, Ralph Ellison

2060 Words9 Pages
The Distinguished Works of the Preeminent Black Author, Ralph Ellison Ralph Ellison is one of the most lauded yet misunderstood writers of the twentieth century. Ellison is considered a short-story writer and an essayist at heart, but his most distinguished work is the novel, Invisible Man. Ellison has been called everything from "the greatest black American author" (Brennan) to unnecessarily "excessive" in his writing style ("Ralph Ellison: 1914-1994"). For the most part, Ellison is held in high regard in the literary community. The critical consensus on Ralph Ellison is that he is one of the most influential and passionate authors of his generation. Ralph Waldo Ellison was born on March 1, 1914 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Lewis Alfred Ellison and Ida Ellison (Kennedy and Gioia). From his birth, it seems Ellison was destined to become a writer; his father named him after the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Early in life, Ellison was influenced by his mother who was an ardent social activist (Kennedy and Gioia). Ellison was raised in a middle-class white neighborhood. After graduating from high school in Oklahoma, Ellison was awarded a scholarship to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Ellison left school early and moved to Harlem ("Ralph Ellison: 1914-1994"). It was here that he met two of his greatest early influences: the poet Langston Hughes and the novelist Richard Wright (Kennedy and Gioia). In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Ellison was primarily an essayist who was published in several American periodicals. It was in these early years that he wrote "King of the Bingo Game" and the Buster and Riley trilogy. In 1952, Ellison's Invisible Man was published in what became his most notable work. Invisible Man won Ellison nume... ... middle of paper ... ...riticism. Galen Group. 16 Apr. 2001 http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC/. Kennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia. "Ralph Ellison: Biography." Literature Online 24 Apr. 2001 http://longman.awl.com/kennedy/ellison/biography.htm. Langman, F. H. "Reconsidering Invisible Man." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Gale Group. 17 April 2001 http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC/. Mitgang, Herbert. "Invisible Man, As Vivid Today as in 1952." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Gale Group. 16 Apr. 2001 http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC/. "Ralph Ellison: 1914-1994." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Gale Group. 16 April 2001 http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC/. Schor, Edith. "Ralph, Ellison, Journeyman: Three Early Stories." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Gale Group. 17 April 2001 http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC/.

    More about The Distinguished Works of the Preeminent Black Author, Ralph Ellison

      Open Document