Ellison, Ralph (Waldo )
- Michael C. Heller
(b Oklahoma City, OK, March 1, 1913, d New York, NY April 16, 1994). American novelist, essayist, and cultural critic. He is best known as the author of the landmark novel Invisible Man (1952). Ellison was also a renowned commentator on jazz, a recurrent theme throughout his writing. A talented trumpet player during his youth, Ellison entered Tuskegee Institute on a music scholarship in 1933. His focus shifted to literature by the late 1930s, and he wrote short stories and book reviews for several publications. He catapulted to fame with the publication of Invisible Man and was one of the world’s foremost African American intellectuals for the remainder of his life. He published several influential collections of essays, including many on jazz, and worked continuously on a second novel, which remained unfinished upon his death. Musicians appear as key guides for the protagonists in both of his novels....