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In this engaging study, H. William Rice illuminates the mystery that is Ralph Ellison: the author of one complex, important novel who failed to complete his second; a black intellectual who remained notably reticent on political issues during the desegregation of his native South. Rice reads both Invisible Man and the posthumously published Juneteenth as novels that focus on the political uses of language. He explores Ellison's concept of the novel, promulgated in that author's two collections of essays, as an inherently political form of art. And he carefully considers the political context that undoubtedly impacted Ellison's work and thought: a world and a time rocked to its foundation by such revolutionary actors as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. Rice guides his reader to a greater understanding of Ralph Ellison, his oeuvre, and the American novel.
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