Going to the Territory by Ralph Ellison
The seventeen essays collected in this volume prove that Ralph Ellison was not only one of America's most dazzlingly innovative novelists but perhaps also our most perceptive and iconoclastic commentator on matters of literature, culture, and race. In Going to the Territory, Ellison provides us with dramatically fresh readings of William Faulkner and Richard Wright, along with new perspectives on the music of Duke Ellington and the art of Romare Bearden. He analyzes the subversive quality of black laughter, the mythic underpinnings of his masterpiece Invisible Man, and the extent to which America's national identity rests on the contributions of African Americans. Erudite, humane, and resounding with humor and common sense, the result is essential Ellison.