Going to the Territory

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The work of one of the most formidable figures in American intellectual life."

— Washington Post Book World

The seventeen essays collected in this volume prove that Ralph Ellison was not only one of America's most dazzlingly innovative novelists but perhaps also our most perceptive and iconoclastic commentator on matters of literature, culture, and race. In Going to the Territory, Ellison provides us with dramatically fresh readings of William Faulkner and Richard Wright, along ...

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Overview

The work of one of the most formidable figures in American intellectual life."

— Washington Post Book World

The seventeen essays collected in this volume prove that Ralph Ellison was not only one of America's most dazzlingly innovative novelists but perhaps also our most perceptive and iconoclastic commentator on matters of literature, culture, and race. In Going to the Territory, Ellison provides us with dramatically fresh readings of William Faulkner and Richard Wright, along with new perspectives on the music of Duke Ellington and the art of Romare Bearden. He analyzes the subversive quality of black laughter, the mythic underpinnings of his masterpiece Invisible Man, and the extent to which America's national identity rests on the contributions of African Americans. Erudite, humane, and resounding with humor and common sense, the result is essential Ellison.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These three volumes have been redesigned and reissued to commemorate the first anniversary of Ellison's death. (Mar.)
Library Journal
A new book by the author of Invisible Man is always a welcome event. Like Ellison's Shadow and Act , this collection of essays, addresses, and reviews deals with topics in literature, music, and race relations. ``Remembering Richard Wright,'' ``Homage to Duke Ellington on His Birthday,'' and ``What America Would Be Like Without the Blacks'' are among the essays included. While most of these essays have appeared previously, reprinting them here is nevertheless useful. When read together, they resonate off one another, reinforcing Ellison's emphasis on what blacks and whites share rather than on their differences. Throughout, Ellison tries to view American culture as a cloth of one piece. His analysis of the growth of that culture, and of the dynamic interaction of the diverse elements within it, is perceptive and convincing. Highly recommended. William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394750620
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/12/1987
  • Pages: 338

Meet the Author

Ralph Ellison
For better or worse, Ralph Ellison stands with writers such as J. D. Salinger or Joseph Heller as a writer whose limited output was dominated by one perfect, defining book. For Ellison, that book was The Invisible Man, an awe-inspiring distillation of the pre-Civil Rights black experience as told by one gifted but doomed narrator.

Biography

Ralph Waldo Ellison, named after the preacher-philosopher Emerson, was born in Oklahoma in 1914. His father died when he was three years old, and he was brought up by his mother, who worked as domestic help in white households in order to support herself and her two sons.

At the age of nineteen, he won a scholarship to study music at the Booker T. Washington Tuskegee Institute. In 1936, he went to New York and there met the black writers Langston Hughes and Richard Wright. He started contributing to the Federal Writers' Project, set up as part of Roosevelt's New Deal, and soon his short stories and articles began to appear in magazines and journals. In 1943 he joined the United States Merchant Marines returning to New York after the war. Awarded a Rosenwald fellowship he was able to concentrate on his writing and, seven years after starting it, his masterpiece Invisible Man (1952) was published. Immediately recognized as a classic in its own time, and described as a "touchstone of the 1950s", it won the American National Book Award and established Ellison as one of the major figures of twentieth-century fiction. He also published two collections of essays, Shadow and Act (1964) and Going to the Territory (1986), but his second novel, which he worked on for over four decades and repeatedly declared to be 'virtually finished', never appeared. Flying Home and Other Stories (Penguin 1996) is a collection of both published and previously unpublished short stories.

Ellison was highly regarded by both the literary and academic worlds. He was Fellow of the American Academy in Rome from 1955 to 1957 and on his return held several visiting professorships; latterly being Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities at New York University. He received the United States Medal of Freedom in 1969, became Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1970, and received the National Medal of Arts in 1985. Ralph Ellison died in 1994, survived by his wife of forty-eight years. In his obituary, The Independent declared him "a great gentleman, indeed a noble man, and the remarkable mythologising author of ... the great American Negro novel."

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books LTD.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ralph Waldo Ellison (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 1, 1914
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    1. Date of Death:
      March 16, 1994
    2. Place of Death:
      New York City

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Mysteryflower

    Hm seems fine she muttered.

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