Cover: The Craft of Ralph Ellison, from Harvard University PressCover: The Craft of Ralph Ellison in E-DITION

The Craft of Ralph Ellison

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674423176

Publication Date: 12/18/1980

212 pages


Available from De Gruyter »

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

This is the first full-scale analysis of the work of one of America’s leading men of letters. It traces the course of Ralph Ellison’s development as a writer over some forty years, and focuses on his distinctive fictional voice.

Robert O’Meally discusses Invisible Man and the many short stories and scores of essays that came before and after it. We see that despite Ellison’s marked shift in political persuasion, from the radical thirties to the more cautious seventies, his thinking about American art and life has remained consistent. He has always felt that Americans cannot know who they are until they know who they have been. His fictional heroes start to reach their goals when they think upon their tradition as reflected in its art and folklore.

We watch Ellison experimenting with fiction and folklore, drawing from Joyce, Faulkner, and other writers who used myth and vernacular forms in their work, until he discovers his style: a blend of the modern writing idiom of Hemingway and Richard Wright and the powerful ingredients of blues, folktales, sermons, spirituals, and jive. O’Meally shows how this distinctively Ellisonian idiom affects language, plot, and characterizations.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, by Peter Wilson, from Harvard University Press

A Lesson in German Military History with Peter Wilson

In his landmark book Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, acclaimed historian Peter H. Wilson offers a masterful reappraisal of German militarism and warfighting over the last five centuries, leading to the rise of Prussia and the world wars. Below, Wilson answers our questions about this complex history,