Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Ralph Ellison

Joseph Epstein calls Arnold Rampersad’s biography of Ralph Ellison a "lyinching, and the coarse rope used to hang the victim is political correctness." The short of it is that Epstein is persuasive, I’m sorry to say. The review is very much worth reading. Christopehr Benfey also reviews it for the current The New Republic (not available on-line) and thinks that Rampersad "weighs the evidence with impressive impartiality." I don’t agree. Too bad, Rampersad’s could have been a great intellectual biography, but, I guess, it would have to have been in different hands. The best thing to read on Ellison is Lucas Morel’s Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope (and await his next book). In the meantime you might also want to look at John F. Callahan’s Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: A Casebook and also Dannielle S. Allen’s Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education for some other serious views on Ellison. But, better to stick with the tragicomic attitude toward the universe--some magic here worth conjuring--and read the novel yourself: Invisible Man.

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