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Ralph Ellison: A Biography: 2 Minutes Summary

1 SENTENCE SUMMARY: Through Arnold Rampersad’s powerful and empathetic biography of Ralph Ellison, readers gain an intimate understanding of the struggles and successes of the influential African American writer.

“If I am not a citizen of the United States, then I am a citizen of the world, and that is a far better thing to be.” – Ralph Ellison

Quick Info

Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad Cover
Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad
Category: Biographies
Publish Date: 2008-01-08
# Pages: 704
ISBN: 0375707980

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Ralph Ellison was a major figure in American literature in the 20th century.

His novel Invisible Man (1952) is considered a classic of the era, and it earned him the National Book Award.

Ellison was also an accomplished essayist and public intellectual, and he was an important advocate for civil rights and African-American culture.

Arnold Rampersad’s biography of Ellison, Ralph Ellison: A Biography, is the definitive portrait of this important cultural figure.

The book provides a comprehensive and nuanced look at Ellison’s life and work, exploring his motivations, his accomplishments, and his impact on the literary world.

Rampersad’s book is an essential read for anyone interested in understanding Ellison’s life and legacy.

4 Key Lessons from Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad

1. Follow Your Passion

Through his life, Ellison remained focused on his dream of becoming a writer.

He worked hard to make it happen, taking any job he could to make ends meet, and dedicating his spare time to honing his craft.

His commitment to his passion paid off, as he eventually became one of the most acclaimed writers of his time.

This lesson shows us that if we are passionate about something, we should never give up on it, and keep working hard to pursue our dreams.

2. Persevere Through Adversity

Ellison faced a lot of challenges throughout his life.

He was born into a poor family and had to drop out of college due to financial constraints.

Despite these obstacles, he was determined to make something of himself and he eventually achieved his goals.

This lesson teaches us that resilience and determination can help us overcome any hardship, no matter how difficult.

3. Believe In Yourself

Despite the challenges he faced, Ellison never lost faith in himself and his abilities.

He believed that he could make it as a writer and worked hard to make it happen.

This lesson teaches us to be confident in ourselves and our abilities and to never give up on our dreams.

4. Take Risks

Throughout his life, Ellison took risks, such as leaving his job at the post office to pursue his writing career.

This showed his courage and determination to make something of himself.

This lesson shows us that if we want to achieve something great, we must be willing to take risks and step out of our comfort zone.

Who Should Read It

People interested in 20th century American literature, African American history and culture, and/or Ralph Ellison’s life and work should read this book.

Where to Get It

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About Arnold Rampersad

Author Arnold Rampersad Ralph Ellison was an American writer and scholar best known for his novel, Invisible Man.

Arnold Rampersad is a professor emeritus of English and African American Studies at Stanford University and the author of Ralph Ellison: A Biography.

Rampersad has written numerous books on African American literature, including biographies of writers such as Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois.

He is a two-time winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

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