This month’s movie selection is Ralph Ellison: An American Journey, the first documentary on one of the most gifted and intellectually provocative authors of modern American literature. It establishes Ellison as a central figure in contemporary debates over art, politics, race and nationhood. Narrated by Andre Braugher, the film brilliantly presents the first scenes ever filmed from Ellison’s landmark novel, Invisible Man.
This richly symbolic, ironic, and often surreal novel describes a quest much like Ellison’s own to invent an identity independent of that imposed by society. Winner of the 1953 National Book Award, Invisible Manthrust Ellison not only into prominence but also into the vortex of the battles raging over the role of literature and art in politics, and specifically over Ellison’s rejection of the “protest novel.”
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