The New TerritoryRalph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century

The New TerritoryRalph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century

Marc C. Conner and Lucas E. Morel

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9781496806796

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century offers fifteen original essays that seek to examine and re-examine Ellison’s life and work in the context of their meanings for our own age, the early 21st century, the age of Obama and of a nation that is simultaneously post-racial and all-too-racial. Following a careful introduction that situates Ellison’s writings in the context of new approaches and abiding interest in his work, while also exploring the affinity between Ralph Ellison’s fiction and commentary and Barack Obama’s political and literary sensibilities, the book offers four new essays examining Ellison’s 1952 masterpiece, Invisible Man. It then turns to his unfinished second novel, Three Days Before the Shooting . . . , with five detailed chapters exploring that powerful and elusive narrative—the first sustained, book-length treatment of that multi-faceted work (the source of the shorter, edited novel Juneteenth). The New Territory concludes with five chapters that discuss Ellison’s political, cultural, and historical significance, asking how Ellison speaks to the America of 2016 and beyond. In The New Territory, we see how clearly Ellison foresaw and articulated both the challenges and the possibilities of America in the 21st century. Together, these chapters offer a thorough and penetrating assessment of Ellison at this crucial historical moment and the most comprehensive interpretive study of the writer best suited to act as the cultural prophet of 21st-century America.

Table of Contents

The New Territory

Marc C. Conner and Lucas E. Morel

Part one Invisible Man Sixty Years Later: Revisiting Ellison’s Masterpiece in the Twenty-First Century

The Body and Invisible Man

Patrice Rankine

The Noisy Lostness

Herman Beavers

Part Two Three Days before the Shooting …: Ellison’s Ongoing Epic of America

Ralph Ellison in His Labyrinth

Eric J. Sundquist

Father Abraham

Marc C. Conner

Part Three Ralph Ellison and American Culture: Ellison Past, Present, and Future

Conclusion Ralph Ellison in the Twenty-First Century