The Critical Response to Ralph Ellison

By Robert J. Butler | Go to book overview
9.
Ellison introduces this claim, which contradicts LeRoi Jone's assertations on blues, in a review of Jones book "Blues People" in Shadow and Act, 249.
10.
The implicit "trickiness" of Ellison's claim--its use of words to "signify" quite other than what they seem to intend on the surface-is an aspect of the Afro-American "critic as trickster." In The Blackness of Blackness': A Critique of the Sign and the Signifying Monkey, a paper presented at the Modern Language Association Convention, New York, December 30, 1981, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., began an analysis--in quite suggestive terms--of the trickster's "semiotic" manifestation. For Gates, the Afro-American folk figure of the "signifying monkey" is an archetype of the Afro- American critic. In the essays "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke" and "The World and the Jug," Ellison demonstrates, one can certainly conclude, an elegant mastery of what might be termed the "exacerbating strategies" of the monkey. Perhaps one also hears his low Afro-American voice directing a sotto voce "Yo' Mamma!" at heavyweights of the Anglo-American critical establishment.
11.
"Reflexivity,"4. One of the most intriguing recent discussions of the Velazquez painting is Michel Foucault in The Order of Things, 3-16. Jay Ruby briefly discusses the Van Eyck in the introduction to his anthology, A Crack in the Mirror, 12-13.

WORKS CITED

Babcock-Abrahams Barbara. "The Novel and the Carnival World." Modern Language Notes 89 ( 1974):912.

-----. "Reflexivity: Definitions and Discriminations." Semiotica 30 ( 1980): 4.

Charters Samuel. The Legacy of the Blues: Lives of Twelve Great Bluesmen. New York: DaCapo 1977.

Ellison Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Vintage-Random House, 1974.

-----. Shadow and Act. New York: Signet-NAL, 1966.

Foucault Michel. The Order of Things. New York: Random House, 1973.

Freud Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. Trans. James Strachey. New York: Norton, 1950.

Geertz Clifford. "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight," Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic, 1973.

Jameson Fredric. "The Symbolic Inference; or, Kenneth Burke and Ideological Analysis." Critical Inquiry 4 ( 1978): 510-11.

Kent George. Blackness and the Adventure of Western Culture. Chicago: Third World, 1972.

Lamming George. Season of Adventure. London: Allison and Busby, 1979.

Lewis David Levering. When Harlem Was in Vogue. New York: Knopf, 1981.

Nicholas A. S., ed. Woke Up This Mornin': Poetry of the Blues. New York: Bantam, 1973.

Oakley Giles. The Devil's Music: A History of the Blues. New York: Harvest, 1976.

Radin Paul. The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology. London: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1955.

Rodgers Carolyn. How I Got Ovah: New and Selected Poems. New York: Doubleday, 1975.

Ruby Jay ed. A Crack in the Mirror: Reflexive Perspectives in, Anthropology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.

Turner Victor. The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967.

-----. "Myth and Symbol." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 10. New York: Free Press, 1986.

White Hayden. "Literature and Social Action: Reflections on the Reflection Theory of Literary Art." New Literary History 12 ( 1980): 378.

From PMLA 98 ( October 1983), 828-845.

-93-

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