The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison (Hardcover)

By Ralph Ellison, John F. Callahan (Editor), Marc C. Conner (Editor)

Random House, 9780812998528, 1072pp.

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

List Price: 50.00*
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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 

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 would bedevil and inspire 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, Saul Bellow, and 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 in words.

About the Author

Ralph Ellison is the author of the novel Invisible Man (1952), one of the most important and influential American novels of the twentieth century, as well as numerous essays and short stories. He died in New York City in 1994.

John F. Callahan is the Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis & Clark College. Callahan has been the editor or writer of numerous volumes related to African American and twentieth-century literature. As Ralph Ellison’s literary executor, Callahan worked as the primary editor for the posthumously released Ralph Ellison novel Juneteenth.

Marc Conner is the associate provost and Ballengee Professor of English at Washington and Lee University.