Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Ralph Ellison, Temporal Technologist$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael Germana

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190682088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190682088.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 October 2020

Time, History, and Becoming in Invisible Man

Time, History, and Becoming in Invisible Man

(p.41) Chapter 1 Time, History, and Becoming in Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison, Temporal Technologist

Michael Germana

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 locates the origins of Ralph Ellison’s philosophy of temporality in the ideas of Henri Bergson and Friedrich Nietzsche, and reads Ellison’s debut novel Invisible Man in light of these observations. Anticipating the work of Gilles Deleuze, Ellison places Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence into a Bergsonian context by combining Nietzsche’s arguments about history and immanence with Bergson’s claims about time and its fundamental creativity. The resulting philosophy prefigures Deleuze’s ideas about difference and repetition, or, the complex relationship between becoming and being. Because Invisible Man is the text where Ellison first fully articulates these concepts, this chapter treats the novel as a critical overture to Ellison’s corpus and the temporal and historical themes that recur throughout it. In the process, this chapter challenges long-held misconceptions about Ellison, including his debt to existentialism, his dedication to disorder, his commitment to surrealism, and his status as a modernist author.

Keywords:   Ralph Ellison, temporality, time, duration, immanence, becoming, Richard Wright, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, Friedrich Nietzsche

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .