Book Discussion on Ralph Ellison: A Biography
Arnold Rampersad talked about his book Ralph Ellison: A Biography, published by Knopf. Professor Rampersad researched the life of… read more
Arnold Rampersad talked about his book Ralph Ellison: A Biography, published by Knopf. Professor Rampersad researched the life of Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man, whose meditations on African-American identity won the 1953 National Book Award and critical acclaim. Mr. Ellison came to New York in 1936 where he became politically radical and the essence of cosmopolitan intellectualism. Professor Rampersad relays that Ellison would denounce his radical ideologies later in his life and his lifestyle would be construed as a form of elitism and create a schism between himself and a younger generation of black writers. Ralph Ellison never wrote a second novel. Professor Rampersad talked about the process of writing the biography and about Ellison’s life. He responded to questions from members of the audience.
Mr. Rampersad was the first scholar given complete access to Ellison’s papers at the Library of Congress. Ms. Birney spoke briefly about the collection at the beginning of the program.
The program, held in the Mary Pickford Theater of the James Madison Building, was part of the Books and Beyond author series organized by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. It was co-sponsored by the Library’s Manuscript Division. close
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
People in this video
- Alice L. Birney Specialist Library of Congress->Manuscript Division
- John Y. Cole Founding Director Library of Congress->Center for the Book
- Arnold Rampersad Professor Stanford University->English
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