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Ralph Ellison: A Biography

About the Author

Arnold Rampersad

Arnold Rampersad was a member of the department from 1974 to 1983, before resigning to accept a position at Rutgers University. Since then he has taught there and at Columbia and Princeton before returning to Stanford in 1998. He has just published Ralph Ellison, a biography of the novelist (1914 - 1994). His other books include The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. DuBois (1976); The Life of Langston Hughes (2 vols., 1986, 1988); Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993), co-authored with Arthur Ashe; and Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997). In addition, he has edited several volumes including Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; the Library of...

Alfred A. Knopf
2007

Arnold Rampersad's Ralph Ellison: A Biography, a study of the life of the author of the classic American Novel Invisible Man (1952), was praised in newspapers and magazines across the country.  The Chicago Tribune called it "outstanding . . . respectful, engaging, and penetrating . . . a significant contribution to our understandings of race, literature, and politics in the second half of the 20th century;" the Nation hailed it as "elegant . . . compassionate yet devastating;" and the Atlantic declared: "If anyone can finally provide more answers than questions about this most complex of men, it is Rampersad this vivid, graceful, exceptionally intelligent work." According to Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, "Ralph Ellison's place in American literature demands a biography that is as eloquent, thorough, and wise as its subject.  This is it.  The book represents a flawless match of biographer and subject.  In Arnold Rampersad's hands we fathom both the burden and measure of Ellison's brilliance." Ralph Ellison has been nominated as a finalist for the National Book Award for 2007.