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date: 02 April 2020

Invisible Manlocked

  • Ralph Sr. Reckley

Extract

has been an auspicious novel since its publication. During the summer of 1945 while Ralph Ellison was working on a war novel, he was forcefully drawn to type the first sentence of his now famous novel: “I am an invisible man”. He then stopped writing his war novel and began Invisible Man. The novel took seven years to complete, and during that period two of its sections were published—the battle royal episode in 1947 in the English magazine Horizon, and the prologue in Partisan Review shortly before the novel's publication. When the novel came out in 1952, it received mostly positive reviews. However, Communists attacked it as being affected and pretentious, written to please “the white supremacy”, and John O. Killens called it “a vicious distortion of Negro life” Scholars such as Robert Bone and Richard Barksdale later praised the novel as embodying the ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature.

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