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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
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Invisible Man (original 1952; edition 1995)

by Ralph Ellison (Author)

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14,356182320 (3.99)652
Invisible Manis a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952.  A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.  The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.  The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot'sThe Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.… (more)
Member:LibarbarianElizabeth
Title:Invisible Man
Authors:Ralph Ellison (Author)
Info:Vintage Books (1995), Edition: 2nd, 581 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work Information

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)

  1. 30
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    Black and Conservative by George Samuel Schuyler (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This very cynical novel takes place during the same time period as "The Invisible Man" and provides additional perspectives on race during the post WWII years.
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    aspirit: Describes the life a modern African woman to contrast with that of the historical African-American man. Similar tone.
  8. 02
    Big Machine: A Novel by Victor LaValle (goddesspt2)
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    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (kara.shamy)
1940s (29)
1950s (38)
My TBR (83)
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» See also 652 mentions

English (176)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (181)
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
Invisible Man's nameless southern protagonist forces the reader to run the gamut of emotions: by turns we are frightened, touched, shocked, amused, even pitying and hopeful. When we first meet him, he lives on the hem of society in an unused part of the basement of a building for whites. He steals shelter and electricity like a boogeyman. He is truly invisible. There comes a point in time when he tries to reach the light by going to college only to be expelled after being accused of offending a white man. Invisible again. Through various trials and tribulations this nameless young man finally makes it to New York where he is confronted with the reality of his race. His lack of identity allows him to be mistaken for someone else. As he becomes more and more invisible, the more and more I wanted him to rage against it. The problem is, when you are a young black man trying to escape the white man's thumb in the 1940s, rage is the last emotion you are allowed to express. Every endeavor leads him closer to destruction. Like a horror movie, I wanted to read Invisible Man with one eye closed against all the gross misunderstandings prejudice and racism can bring. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Mar 3, 2022 |
This book is way bigger than me in many ways. It deals with issues that are still happening until now. I guess it’s why it’s called a “timeless classic”. I honestly didn’t understand the book at first, and I have tried to put it down plenty of times but it’s a great thing I didn’t give up on it. It’s one of the books that will make you a good reader. The ideas presented in the narrative are very relatable even to this day. This is the kind of book which I would love to turn back to just in case I missed something on my first time reading it. ( )
  jam01 | Feb 26, 2022 |
The story is narrated by a young and idealistic Black man endeavoring to find his place and purpose. Although he tries to do everything "right" — go to college, find a decent job, advocate in and for his community — misfortune not of his own making seems to hound him at every turn. Especially depressing was the illusion that the Invisible Man (he is never formally named) so earnestly believed in, assured by his mentors that he was part of something important and momentous, only for it ultimately to become apparent that nearly everyone he encountered, from the beginning of the book to the end, was using him for their own gains. I was almost expecting a tone of dark humor à la The Good Lord Bird, but there was scant occasion for laughter. ( )
  ryner | Feb 9, 2022 |
Unforgettable. ( )
  sfj2 | Nov 6, 2021 |
This was one of those books I'm pretty glad I was reading for a class because it was really amazing to be able to discuss this book with other people and dig into all the themes and subtext. This book does a beautiful job using all the literary device we all learned about in school. I can absolutely see why this would be a classic because there were so many ideas in this book that are still extremely relevant today. Many of the ideas about race could have been taken from current day discussions in movements like black lives matter. The way the author uses repetition in this book is incredible. The book gives hints about how time should be viewed and allows you to see connections between scenes in such an interesting way. I think this book could be very much enjoyed just through reading it but I would highly recommend reading this book with someone you can discuss this book with because there are so many layers and metaphors and themes that can become so much more evident with just a little bit of analysis and discussion. Very happy to have read such a classic. ( )
1 vote AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
"Invisible Man" is tough, brutal and sensational. It is uneven in quality. But it blazes with authentic talent.
 

» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ralph Ellisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Callahan, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goyert, GeorgÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, Peter FrancisNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, JoeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"You are saved," cried Captain Delano, more and more astonished and pained; "you are saved: what has cast such a shadow upon you?"

--Herman Melville, Benito Cereno
HARRY: I tell you, it is not me you are looking at,

Not me you arre grinning at, not me your confidential looks

Incriminate, but that other person, if person,

You thought I was: let your necrophily

Feed upon that carcase. . . .

--T. S. Eliot, Family Reunion
Dedication
To Ida
First words
"I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me."
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Invisible Manis a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952.  A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.  The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.  The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot'sThe Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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