“A MAGNIFICENT CLASSIC”: INVISIBLE MAN, INSCRIBED BY RALPH ELLISON
ELLISON, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Random House, (1952). Octavo, original black and tan cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $6000.
First edition, third printing of Ralph Ellison’s great American novel, inscribed by Ellison on the half title: "For Richard Swanston, whose grandfather Thomas Talley is responsible for some of the insights that appear herein. Sincerely, Ralph Ellison."
"It is a resolutely honest, tormented, profoundly American book" (Wright Morris, New York Times, 1952). Winner of the 1952 National Book Award, Ellison's matchless first novel is "one of the most important works of the 20th century" (New York Times). This is a work in which Ellison's "visionary genius achieved a perfection" (Harold Bloom, Genius)—and the only novel published in his lifetime—Invisible Man is a "magnificent classic… [which] soon became a vital and permanent contribution to American literature" (Blockson 86). Dust jacket supplied from another copy. The recipient of this copy, Richard Swanston, was the grandson of noted Black scholar Thomas W. Talley. Talley taught chemistry and biology at Fisk University for almost 40 years—Talley-Brady Hall at Fisk is in part named after him—but is perhaps best remembered today for his seminal 1922 book Negro Folk Rhymes (Wise and Otherwise), one of the first works collecting and analyzing the sacred and secular vernacular music of rural Black southerners and the first of its kind by any Black academic. With Swanston's owner signature.
Book with soiling to covers; chipped dust jacket supplied from another copy. A desirable signed copy with an intriuging provenance.