Shadow and Act

Shadow and Act Review

With the same intellectual incisiveness and supple, stylish prose he brought to his classic novel Invisible Man, Ralph 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—“the scene and symbol of the Negro’s perpetual alienation in the land of his birth.” 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.

On every page, Ellison reveals his idiosyncratic and often contrarian brilliance, his insistence on refuting both black and white stereotypes of what an African American writer should say or be. The result is a book that continues to instruct, delight, and occasionally outrage readers.

Title:Shadow and Act
Edition Language:English

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    Shadow and Act Reviews

  • B. P. Rinehart

    Ellison's first collection of essays are nothing short of genius. This book really shows and gives a good look at the mind and ideas of the man who created the masterpiece Invisible Man. This book was...

  • Cara Byrne

    This collection of critical reviews, interviews, transcripts of speeches, and essays captures Ellison's poetic voice and musical background just as well as that found in his fiction. Organized in 3 se...

  • Colin

    An AMAZING collection of essays that articulates Ellison's dilemma for a negotiations of a sort of jazz-writing which: dances between his places as an Afro-American writer, with all the inherent socia...

  • Shaimaa Suleiman

    One of the greatest books I have ever read. Ellison's critical prowess amounts to that of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. UPDATE: Eliot is in the air. Turns out the title is an allusion to "The Hollow Men"...

  • Greg Fanoe

    I liked the concepts and love Ellison as a writer, but the essays here were just way too repetitive....

  • Ben Siems

    I read several of the essays in this collection for a college course some years ago, but recently decided to embark on the journey of reading the book cover to cover. Most know Ralph Ellison as the au...

  • Neal Marcus

    Excellent book;A collection of articles he wrote for magazines about various racial and political issues —adds to”Living with Music “;...

  • CyLarge

    This collection of Ellison essays is perfect for anyone wanting to take a closer peak to the inner workings of the genius' mind, the one responsible for Invisible Man. His ability to combine his incis...

  • Angie

    Major Field Prep: 56/133The title essay in this collection of Ellison's interviews, critical debates, book reviews, and essays, concerns the cinematic manifestation of Negro stereotypes from A Birth o...

  • Jake Berlin

    the middle section, about music, and primarily jazz, is wonderful, and absolutely worth reading. and ellison is unquestionably a top-notch wordsmith, and a deep thinker. but more than half of the chap...