Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (LIT2277.01)

Benjamin Anastas
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“All novels are about certain minorities,” Ralph Ellison insisted in a 1955 interview with The Paris Review. “The individual is a minority. The universal in the novel–and isn’t that what we’re all clamoring for these days?–is reached only through the depiction of the specific man in a specific circumstance.” If this is true, then the enduring power of Ellison’s Invisible Man (1953) lies in both the specifics of its depiction of African-American life in America and the literary and philosophical traditions that Ellison embraced in order to tell this story. We’ll read Ellison’s only complete novel slowly and carefully for the full seven weeks of this class, alongside influences like Dostoevsky, Richard Wright, James Joyce, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and T.S. Eliot. We’ll also explore the vernacular traditions (Jazz and Blues) that help animate the novel’s language and ideas.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 2
M 12:10pm - 2:00pm; W 12:10pm - 2:00pm (first seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
This course is categorized as 2000, All courses, Benjamin Anastas, First Seven Week, Literature, Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons, Two Credit, Wednesday Afternoons, and tagged , , , , , , .