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Shadow and Act

Shadow and Act

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Written by Ralph EllisonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Ralph Ellison

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: March 14, 1995
  • Price: $15.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-679-76000-9 (0-679-76000-8)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

With the same intellectual incisiveness and supple, stylish prose he brought to his classic novel Invisible Man, Ellison examines his antecedents and in so doing, illuminates the literature, music, and culture of both black and white America. His range is virtuosic, encompassing Mark Twain and Richard Wright, Mahalia Jackson and Charlie Parker, The Birth of a Nation and the Dante-esque landscape of Harlem. Throughout, he gives us what amounts to an episodic autobiography that traces his formation as a writer as well as the genesis of Invisible Man.

"A book that will be remembered...A body of cogent and subtle commentary on the questions that focus on race. It is, in its allusive way, the autobiography of a strong and sensitive man, who happens to be a gifted artist."--Robert Penn Warren


Part 1. The Seer and the Seen
That Same Pain, That Same Pleasure: An Interview
20th Century Fiction and the Black Mask of Humanity
Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke
Stephen Crane and the Mainstream of American Fiction
Richard Wright's Blues
Beating That Boy
Brave Words for a Startling Occasion
The World and the Jug
Hidden Name and Complex Fate
The Art of Fiction: An Interview

Part 2. Sound and the Mainstream
Living with Music
The Golden Age, Time Past
As the Spirit Moves Mahalia
On Bird, Bird-Watching, and Jazz
The Charlie Christian Story
Remembering Jimmy
Blues People

Part 3. The Shadow and the Act
Some Questions and Some Answers
The Shadow and the Act
The Way It Is
Harlem is Nowhere
An American Dilemma: A Review