Arnold Rampersad has written a new and well-reviewed biography of the author Ralph Ellison. Ellison wrote the classic novel Invisible Man.
Rampersad has also written, among other things, a widely read biography of Jackie Robinson. I have that book but have not read it. This Robinson book was given to me by my close friend Tyrone K.Yates.
Tryone currently represents the 32nd State House District of Ohio and is President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. If in Columbus go to the State House, look Tyrone up and tell him Neil sent you.
The best book about Robinson has got to be Baseball’s Great Experiment by Jules Tygiel.
Though the new Ellison book has been well-received, I won’t be reading the title. I’ve already read a biography of Ellison called Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius. That book was written by Lawrence Jackson who, at the time of publication in 2002, was an Assistant Professor of English at Howard University. If he is still at Howard or not I don’t know.
The Jackson book only goes up until 1953. Ellison lived well into the 1990’s. Every time I’d look at Jackson’s book on my bookshelf I would wonder why he cut off Ellison’s life at such an early point.
Well, I might have my answer. It seems that Ellison was simply an unlikable and bitter figure for much of his later life. Ellison was unable to produce a second novel to equal his first novel. He just got grumpy. Maybe Professor Jackson saw no need to chronicle all those bitter years.