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Friday, March 31, 2006

Increasing Ralph Ellison's visibility

Last November Fanny McConnell Ellison passed away (1).

Maybe now Library of Congress will lift its restrictions on the Ralph Ellison papers. Open access could shed further light on the author and his millieu. For instance, James Smethurst writes of Sonora [sic] Babb, 'with whom Ellison had an important romance' (2), but few scholars can cut to the heart of this literary relationship without the epistolary evidence. Completely opening the archive would shed more light on these matters.

1) John F Callahan, 'Fanny McConnell Ellison, Editor who married the author of Invisible Man and played a key role in the genesis of that American masterpiece', Guardian, Saturday February 4, 2006 (Obituary here).

2) '"Something Warmly, Infuriatingly Feminine": Gender, Sexuality and the Work of Ralph Ellison', in Steven C. Tracy (ed.), A Historical Guide to Ralph Ellison (Oxford University Press, 2004; p.127. Buy it
here (UK) and here (US). For more on Ellison's early years, click here.


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