Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Arnold Rampersad on Ralph Ellison

It’s amazing the amount of cultural information at our fingertips via the Internet. With enough time, one could give oneself a college-level education in pornography world history or gambling literature or lolcats philosophy.

You want to know a supremely cool resource? Public radio archives.

In June, Stanford English professor Arnold Rampersad spoke with David Inge on WILL-AM 580, the University of Illinois radio station. The subject was Rampersad’s new book, “Ralph Ellison: A Biography.”

Their conversation makes me hungry to read Ellison’s “Invisible Man” again; I haven’t since high school.

Prof. Rampersad has interesting insights on the major mystery of Ralph Ellison’s creative life: Why, after having written a great American novel, did he never finish a second one?

You can download the full 50-minute interview as an MP3 podcast here. (Click on the headphones icon, then save to disk.)

I’m streaming a 4½-minute audio bite on my Vox annex, dealing with the criticism Ellison received from black nationalists and separatists. The clip begins with a question from David Inge. Click here to hear it.


DeAngelo Starnes said...

Dave, read Invisible Man again by all means. I first read it in high school. Got some parts. Twice in college with a portion gone over in a Black Lit class that helped me dig into it more. And twice more after graduation - the most recent two years ago. Man, you pick up different stuff every time.

I'm gonna listen to the entire interview. Thanks.

Also thanks for the Max Roach clip. Check out the double cd To The Max! Baad. Features his quartet, a double quartet featuring the Uptown String Quartet, M'Boom percussion ensemble, and all of the above with singers. Baad baad piece.

Eric said...

Washington Post Magazine had a lengthy article last weekend on Ralph Ellison's lost second novel.

Ross said...

Eric, that was a nice post on Ellison's lost second book. They already published a novel culled from his notes, it was terrible. I don't expect this second novel to be any better. I am looking forward to the day when Wright's unpublished last novel is finally published. Invisible Man is the best novel published in the United States period.