Invisible criticism : Ralph Ellison and the American canon /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Nadel, Alan, 1947-
Edition:1st ed.
Imprint:Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, 1988.
Description:xiii, 181 p. ; 24 cm.
Subject:Ellison, Ralph. -- Invisible man
Invisible man (Ellison, Ralph)
Canon (Literature)
African Americans in literature.
Canon (Literature)
Format: Print Book
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Notes:Includes index.
Bibliography: p. [163]-172.
Review by Choice Review

Combining an intelligent use of critical theory with close textual reading, Invisible Criticism provides valuable insights into Ralph Ellison's relationship to the established canon of 19th-century American literature. The primary focus of Nadel's study is a careful examination of Ellison's allusions to Lewis Mumford's The Golden Day (1926) and to various texts by Emerson, Melville, and Twain. Building on a brilliant chapter concerning theories of literary allusion (particularly those of Northrop Frye and Harold Bloom), Nadel demonstrates how Ellison uses allusions to revise received interpretations of the tradition with which he identifies his own work. Equally significant, though not fully developed in its present form, is Nadel's examination of the concept of invisibility from a framework informed by the theoretical approach of Michel Foucault. The primary limitation of this otherwise exemplary study is Nadel's failure to examine the ways in which Ellison's apprehension of aspects of the canon was influenced by the work of his Afro-American relatives and ancestors. Suggesting fresh approaches to Ellison's revisions of other Euro-American writers (Poe, Faulkner, Hemingway), Invisible Criticism joins Robert O'Meally's The Craft of Ralph Ellison (CH, May '81) and Kimberly Benston's anthology Speaking for You (CH, Jun '88) on the short shelf of necessary Ellison criticism. -C. Werner, University of Wisconsin--Madison

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