Invisible Man

Invisible Man One of the most important American novels of the twentieth century The Times It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves Ralph Ellison s blisterin

  • Title: Invisible Man
  • Author: Ralph Ellison
  • ISBN: 9780141184425
  • Page: 369
  • Format: Paperback
  • One of the most important American novels of the twentieth century The Times It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves Ralph Ellison s blistering and impassioned first novel tells the extraordinary story of a man invisible simply because people refuse to see me Published in 1952 when American society was in the c One of the most important American novels of the twentieth century The Times It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves Ralph Ellison s blistering and impassioned first novel tells the extraordinary story of a man invisible simply because people refuse to see me Published in 1952 when American society was in the cusp of immense change, the powerfully depicted adventures of Ellison s invisible man from his expulsion from a Southern college to a terrifying Harlem race riot go far beyond the story of one individual to give voice to the experience of an entire generation of black Americans.This edition includes Ralph Ellison s introduction to the thirtieth anniversary edition of Invisible Man, a fascinating account of the novel s seven year gestation.With an Introduction by John F Callahan Brilliant Saul Bellow

    One thought on “Invisible Man”

    1. Full disclosure: I wrote my master's thesis on Ellison's novel because I thought the first time that I read it that it is one of the most significant pieces of literature from the 20th century. Now that I teach it in my AP English class, I've reread it many times, and I'm more convinced than ever that if you are only going to read one book in your life, it should be this one. The unnamed protagonist re-enacts the diaspora of African-Americans from the South to the North--and the surreal experien [...]

    2. “I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fibre and liquids- and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible because people refuse to see me…When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination- indeed, everything and anything except me.” When I first read the book last year, the above quote really stood out to me. It seemed very Dostevskyan. It has taken a second reading for me to truly process the content of this book, and still [...]

    3. “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” Reading "Invisible Man" during a visit to New York was a deeply touching experience. What an incredible bonus to be able to follow in the footsteps of the young man struggling with racial and political identity questions. The physical presence of New York life enhanced the reading, and the city added flavour and sound to the story. Hearing the noise, walking in the lights of the advertisement, seeing the faces from all corners of the world made the [...]

    4. The writing is hypnotic in Invisible Man and the dread all-pervasive. Every time I sat down to read a bit more, I was sucked into the prose, even though it made me deeply uneasy and worried about what was going to happen next.It is stark, it is poetic, it is difficult, and it is rewarding. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbo [...]

    5. Most capital-G Great books can be a grim trudge, like doing homework. Invisible Man is one of the few Great books that's also relentlessly, unapologetically entertaining, full of brawls, explosions, double-crosses, and the exuberant mad. As a meditation on race, it's as fresh as if it had been first published yesterday. One of the most essential American novels ever written and only the best of the best can stand alongside it: Grapes of Wrath, Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, True Grit.

    6. "If social protest is antithetical to art," Ellison stated in an interview with The Paris Review, "what then shall we make of Goya, Dickens, and Twain?" I found the interview stimulating, especially since Ellison's narrator's voice seemed to reach across the pages of this book and coalesce with the myriad of current events. "Perhaps, though, this thing cuts both ways," Ellison continued in the interview, "the Negro novelist draws his blackness too tightly around him when he sits down to write— [...]

    7. This is such an amazingfantasticincredible book. If I were making a list of the 10 Best Novels About America, this would be at the top.*I first read Invisible Man in a college literature course, and my 19-year-old self liked it, but rereading it now was a really powerful experience. I definitely appreciated it more and admired Ellison's vision. This novel is the story of a black man in America. We never learn our narrator's name and we don't know what he looks like, but he feels invisible becaus [...]

    8. WellI can't say I enjoyed this novel, but I don't think I was supposed to. It's more of a send a message to the reader type classic.First published in 1953, an unnamed narrator and INVISIBLE MAN tells his life stories of fear, or maybe uncertainty is a better word of his place in the world. As a young and very naive black student, he proceeds through his tumultuous life while constantly haunted by his grandfather's dying words.The beginning chapters share how (OMG!) he was treated in a Harlem ba [...]

    9. after an almost intolerably harrowing and intense first chapter, this book is a major letdown. of obvious historical importance, but an inferior and turgid work of literature in which every character but the protagonist is reduced to an over-simplified archetype meant to represent a particular demographic of american society. what i found most interesting, however, is that despite having lived another forty-two years, ellison never published another novel. from :In 1967, Ellison experienced a ma [...]

    10. I have been seeing this on friends feeds lately. I read this for a college seminar African American History of the 1930s and 1940s. It was quite an interesting class as the demographics were literally half African American and half Caucasian, thus spurring provocative discussions. Our professor had us read Ellison's masterpiece and even though I do not remember it in its entirety, I remember the protagonist meeting Booker T Washington, George Washington Carver, discussing the talented tenth and [...]

    11. I put off reading this book for years, intimidated by its length and its venomous reputation. When I finally dove in, I definitely found lots of venom but lots of anti-venom too. Lurking behind all the nihilism in the title and particularly the struggles during his college years is a hidden (invisible?) optimism and dark humor I felt. In the US soon post-Obama, we have definitely moved forward superficially in the battle for equality and yet, Ferguson happened, Trump is happening and racism is s [...]

    12. This is strongly reminiscent of German Expressionist drama from the early 20th century. It suffers from an inability to actually characterize anyone beyond the protagonist. Every other character is crushed by the need to represent a whole class or demographic. All of the other figures are episodes in his life, his personal development, his realization of society's deep-seated decay and his inexorable (and predictable) movement towards disillusionment. Which is to say that it is a heavy-handed, y [...]

    13. I’m embarrassed to admit that for many years I thought this book was the basis for the Claude Rains movie in which his wardrobe consisted largely of sunglasses and Ace wrap. Once disabused of that notion, I still was slow to read it because the title suggested a character that, while not literally invisible, was of so little importance that his very existence wasn’t noted by others. Obviously, this is a treatise on racism and, as I already know that racism is bad, what’s the point of readi [...]

    14. A hard book to review because its subject is so powerful and it's story so important that to criticise it would seem wrong. So I'll simply say I thought this a very powerful book. Occasionally confusing. Occasionally laborious. Yet overall brimming with energy and truth as well as some vivid characters and some uncomfortable visceral moments.

    15. The chief irony, as has been noted through article headlines, is that in drawing a most stunning portrait of an invisible man, Ralph Ellison became arguably the most visible black writer of all time (Toni Morrison, assuredly would also receive votes). The irony being a result of Ellison using key events of his life as a foundation for the major plot points of his novel (attending an all black college, a move north, communist association), and then after telling this story of invisibility suddenl [...]

    16. "Now that I no longer felt ashamed of the things I had always loved, I probably could no longer digest very many of them. What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do? What a waste, what a senseless waste!"I could have sworn that I had read this in college many years ago in an exploratory course where we read Black Like Me and many others. But it didn't take long to realize my mistake when I began reading Ellison's classic. T [...]

    17. This book was brilliant. I'm tempted to stop right there, because what else can be said? If I hadn't known that the novel was published in 1952, I would have sworn it was a contemporary tale. Does that mean Ralph Ellison was ahead of his time, or that time has stood still and nothing has changed in 64 years? So many of the quotes and positions of The Brotherhood could be taken right out of the mouths of our current crop of politicians on both sides of the U.S. presidential race today that it chi [...]

    18. I read this as an elitist college freshman and understood it all as an allegory. The opening pages were more than a little shocking and graphic, but I accepted them in a way that was outside of actual life. I knew that it was written a long time before I read it and it was to be perused and appreciated rather than absorbed. I think scholars tend to do that kind of thing because it keeps us at arm's length to feeling.I cannot apologize for what I believed because it was the only way I could have [...]

    19. Winner of the 1953 National Book Award.One of the defining novels of the 20th century. You don't find racism and bigotry just in the South, you find it everywhere, and in many different forms and layers. Ellison does a masterful job of showing this through his unique style and prose. It's impact and influence on the reader will forever change the way you view your place in society and how your actions influence the lives of those around you.Revised Feb. 2016.

    20. [update 9/27/2013: OH BOY, seems like this book has made the newsd yes human stupidity is involved. I have never made it a secret on this site that I am a HUGE fan of this book. When I found out that this book had been banned by Randolph County [school board], North Carolina for not having any "merit", on the weekend before banned books week, the irony could not be more incredible. The book details the personal, cultural, and existential alienation and forced invisibility of the main character a [...]

    21. You Will Hit a Stride in Reading this Classic in Time to Ellison's Forceful DrumbeatThis classic novel stirs the soul--in the boom-boom, rat-a-tat-tat of drummers in a huge, swaggering marching band.While he meticulously plotted INVISIBLE MAN, Ralph Ellison successfully styled this classic in many ways as a virtuoso would a jazz improvisation, conjuring fertile imagery in lush and metrical prose. The book centers on an unnamed narrator, the Invisible Man, as he is expelled from an African-Americ [...]

    22. You should read this. You really should. It was eye opening, challenging, insightful, unsettling. It made me think and research and discuss. It made me wish I had a teacher and classroom full of students to help me through it. It was refreshingly honest and bold and eloquent.I struggled with this rating because my experience of reading this book was difficult and laborious. I think some context about the work would have helped me to engage. I wasn't sure what I was delving into when I started - [...]

    23. This novel can make you angry. A story of a young black man's search of his place under the sun. Heavy emphasis on being black and the difficulties that he has to go through because he is black. A book that oozes with racism. The problem of being a black during the 20's-50's in the Deep South as well as in the North in the now called Land of Freedom. Of the Brave. Of Opportunities. This book screams at us: Black. BLAck. BLACK.The eloquent unnamed narrator is a black man who participates in a con [...]

    24. A brilliant work of Black existentialism.The only reason why I wasn’t entirely in love with this novel is because I found myself a bit put off by the the plot sometimes, and even more so at the disinterest I felt towards other characters. What kept me going though was the engaging voice of the narrator and Ellison’s unique writing. It is a novel that truly captures the heart of American literature.Lovely narration by Joe Morton.

    25. An American classic.Not just a great African-American novel but a great American novel on the level of Moby-Dick or, The Whale, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Catcher in the Rye. Written in the early 1950s and with a narrative power as great as any of our finest writers, Ralph Ellison proclaims himself to be one of our best. Crafting metaphor, simile, stream of consciousness, poetry, surrealism, absurdism, and a variety of narrative devices, Ellison’s masterwork must be read.Using a narr [...]

    26. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Invisible Man is a sprawling narrative that follows an unnamed character, also the narrator, through the younger part of his life. It kept me gripped to the page and wondering, what next, through much of it. As coming-of-age novels go, it's protagonist goes through more change than most books I've read in this genre. In a short period, his early twenties, the lead character plots his way through the valleys and hills of both rural and urban life in 1950s America. In th [...]

    27. Is it always Ellisonian invisibility to not be seen as an individual? To have an ephemeral, contingent identity? One subject to the distortions of the objectification of classificatory prejudgment? In short, no. And if you don't really get that, but want to, this may be the book for you. I'd slept on this one for way too long. The language is compulsively readable, the polyphony quite an earful (experience enhanced by Joe Morton's audiobook performance, which I listened to while reading). Sure, [...]

    28. 1. I had 39 status updates from this one, most of them quotations. This book is highly quotable. I'm not even sure Invisible Man is a 'good' - i.e. traditional - novel (I will consider this in a moment), but the quotability of this! Now I know men are different and that all life is divided and that only in division is there true health.The rhythm of this! (sorry, long sentence ahead, so (view spoiler)[As I drove,faded and yellowed pictures of the school’s early days displayed in the library fl [...]

    29. This great American novel begins by articulating what it means to be an intellectual, young Afro-American in the South around the time of WWII. Invisible man meets with deceit, distrust and manipulation at every turn and decides to move North to New York City where he finds more of the same. After living hand-to-mouth in Harlem, he becomes a spokesperson for a social movement in Harlem seeking to mobilize for reform. He becomes a pawn in the hands of the leadership of this radical reform movemen [...]

    30. A powerful novel; one of the must reads. Written shortly after the Second World War it is the classic study of invisibility; what it means not be be "seen" in society. Set in the US it is an unflinching analysis of racism at all levels of society. The unnamed narrator starts in the South at college and continues in New York. Ellison pours into his writing his frustrations with the attitude of the left in America just after the Second World War. There are some memorable characters, I would like t [...]

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