New York: Random House, 1952. First edition. A Near Fine copy, signed by the author on the front free end paper, in a supplied, Near Fine dust jacket (with correct issue points, including original price of $3.50). Book with the spine lettering mostly rubbed off and with some little dings at the extremities. Internally in excellent condition. In a jacket with minor chips and wear at the spine end and corners, but generally presents well.
Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is one of the major novels of the twentieth century. Its unnamed narrator joins a long line of picaresque antiheroes. Additionally, Ellison drew on Dostoevsky, Melville, Kafka, Hemingway, and other experimental writers as well as vernacular forms of culture such as folklore for inspiration. Invisible Man adapts this rich and varied intellectual history to confront the constellation of challenges that Black Americans faced. In an interview with the Paris Review in Spring 1955, Ellison challenged the interviewer's skepticism that a Black author can "escape his particular need for social protest and reach the “universal." Ellison responded that "Too many books by Negro writers are addressed to a white audience. By doing this the authors run the risk of limiting themselves to the audience’s presumptions of what a Negro is or should be; the tendency is to become involved in polemics, to plead the Negro’s humanity. You know, many white people question that humanity, but I don’t think that Negroes can afford to indulge in such a false issue. For us, the question should be, what are the specific forms of that humanity, and what in our background is worth preserving or abandoning" (Paris Review, Spring 1955). Invisible Man won the 1953 National Book Award for Fiction. Near Fine in Near Fine dust jacket. (Item #3959)