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Random House Publishing Group, Fall 2018

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The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison
By (author): Ralph Ellison Edited by: John F. Callahan Edited by: Marc C. Conner
9780812998528 Hardcover English General Trade LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Letters Dec 03, 2019
$66.00 CAD
Active 6.5 x 9.5 x 2 in 1072 pages CHAPTER-OPENING PHOTOS Random House
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 nation over six decades.

These extensive and revealing correspondences over six decades—from 1933 to 1993—provide a remarkable window into Ralph Ellison’s aspirations and anxieties, confidence and uncertainties throughout his personal and professional life. They include early notes to his mother, as an impoverished college student; debates with the most distinguished American writers and thinkers of his time, from Romare Bearden, Saul Bellow and Robert Penn Warren, to Richard Wright and Alfred Kazin; and exchanges with friends and family from his hometown of Oklahoma City, whose influence would always be paramount. These letters are a beautifully rendered, first-person account of Ellison’s life, work, and his observations of a changing world, showing his metamorphosis from a wide-eyed student into an esteemed public intellectual, from an aspiring composer into a world-famous novelist, and ultimately into a man who confronted and articulated America’s complexities in words.

NEVER PUBLISHED IN BOOK FORM: Ellison’s letters will constitute a fresh and creative autobiography of a beloved literary figure.

INVISIBLE MAN, is one of the greatest works of American literature. Ralph Ellison is a renowned literary figure whose appeal is wide and diverse. The letters tell the story of the creation and afterlife of this seminal work.

COMPREHENSIVE VOLUME: The volume extends from the 1930s-1990s, with a general introduction and editors’ notes to each section. .

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

Marc C. Connor is the associate provost and Ballengee Professor of English at Washington & Lee University.

Author Residence: Portland, OR; Lexington, VA

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