Juneteenth (Paperback)

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"[A]n extraordinary book, a work of staggering virtuosity. With its publication, a giant world of literature has just grown twice as tall."--Newsday

From Ralph Ellison--author of the classic novel of African-American experience, Invisible Man--the long-awaited second novel. Here is the master of American vernacular--the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech--at the height of his powers, telling a powerful, evocative tale of a prodigal of the twentieth century.

"Tell me what happened while there's still time," demands the dying Senator Adam Sunraider to the itinerate Negro preacher whom he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young man, Sunraider was Bliss, an orphan taken in by Hickman and raised to be a preacher like himself. Bliss's history encompasses the joys of young southern boyhood; bucolic days as a filmmaker, lovemaking in a field in the Oklahoma sun. And behind it all lies a mystery: how did this chosen child become the man who would deny everything to achieve his goals? Brilliantly crafted, moving, wise, Juneteenth is the work of an American master.

About the Author


Ralph Ellison was born in Okalahoma and trained as a musician at Tuskegee Institute from 1933 to 1936, at which time a visit to New York and a meeting with Richard Wright led to his first attempts at fiction. Invisible Man won the National Book Award and the Russwurm Award. Appointed to the Academy of American Arts and Letters in 1964, Ellison taught at many colleges including Bard College, the University of Chicago, and New York University where he was Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities from 1970 through 1980. Ralph Ellison died in 1994.

John F. Callahan is Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis and Clark College. He is literary executor for Ralph Ellison's estate.


Charles Johnson is Pollock Chair in Humanities at the University of Washington. One of the most admired American writers of recent decades, he is the author of four novels (including Middle Passage, which won the National Book Award), numerous short stories, and more than twenty screenplays.

Praise For…


"[A] vastly ambitious informing allegory, an allegory made rich, as in Invisible man, with the sensory details of which Ellison was such a master."  -The New York Review of Books

"[A] stunning achievement.... Juneteenth is a tour de force of untutored eloquence.  Ellison sought no less than to create a Book of Blackness, a literary composition of the tradition at its most sublime and fundamental."  -Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Time  

"Juneteenth...threatens to come as close as any since Huckleberry Finn to grabbing the ring of the great American Novel."  -Los Angeles Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9780375707544
ISBN-10: 0375707549
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: June 13th, 2000
Pages: 400
Language: English