Ralph Ellison in progress : from Invisible man to Three days before the shooting-- /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Bradley, Adam.
Imprint:New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2010.
Description:viii, 244 p. ; 22 cm.
Subject:Ellison, Ralph -- Technique.
Ellison, Ralph -- Manuscripts.
Ellison, Ralph. -- Invisible man.
Ellison, Ralph. -- Three days before the shooting--
Ellison, Ralph.
Invisible man (Ellison, Ralph)
Format: Print Book
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/8002097
Hidden Bibliographic Details
ISBN:9780300147131 (alk. paper)
0300147139 (alk. paper)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Review by Choice Review

Writing this book necessitated, Bradley (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) writes, "imaginatively projecting a nation on the page." Though his familiarity with Ellison (he coedited, with John Callahan, Ellison's second novel, the unfinished Three Days before with Shooting, 2010) leaves him in a privileged position, his is a minority report. His argument makes sense--"It is impossible to understand Ellison's evolution as an author ... without considering the numerous manuscripts of his [second] novel in progress as they evolved over the decades"--but does not persuade. Bradley never surmounts the dominant theory, which is that Ellison did not publish the book because during his later years--when he lived through balkanized ethnic politics, neoconservatism, and the global loss of American prestige--he could not maintain the optimism about American identity he embraced on the cusp of the Brown decision. Bradley hedges his bet in asserting that "as long as the novel remained in progress, [Ellison] could comfortably sustain [such] indeterminacy" and that the "discrete textual decisions, once made, would have resulted in the loss of "the freedom he seems to have found in the open-ended manuscript." This notion flatters but incompletely explains a fine writer who seems to have lost his way. Summing Up: Optional. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. L. P. Jackson Emory University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review