The University of Wisconsin Press

Classics / African American Studies / Literature & Criticism


Ulysses in Black
Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature
Patrice D. Rankine

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Laura McClure, and Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell, Series Editors

“A powerful and pioneering study that creatively links the rich traditions of classical antiquity to contemporary black thought. I highly recommend it.”
—Cornel West, Princeton University

Ulysses in Black demonstrates that, similar to their white counterparts, African American authors—including Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Countee Cullen—have been students of classical languages, literature, and mythologies by such writers as Homer, Euripides, and Seneca. Ultimately, this unique study of black classicism becomes an exploration of America’s broader cultural integrity, one that is inclusive and historic.

“As reader friendly as a tightly reasoned, well-referenced scholarly text can be, this book argues persuasively for a wider integration of classic European texts with African American literature. . . . Rankine makes an important contribution to the fields of African American literary scholarship and American cultural studies. [Ulysses in Black] should be read and reread.”

“Rankine’s study does not simply introduce the influence of ‘the classics’ on the writing of African-American authors; he asks us to reconceive American cultural identity through the work of African-American authors such as Ellison. It is a worthy effort and an excellent read.”
—Lesliee Antonette, Multicultural Review

• Selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine

Photo of Professor RankinePatrice D. Rankine is associate professor of classics and assistant head of foreign languages and literatures at Purdue University and has served as director of Purdue’s Interdisciplinary Program in Classics.

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Cover of book is yellow, brown and black, with a black and white photo of an eye.

November 2006
LC: 2006008598 PS
272 pp.  6 x 9
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Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-22004-4
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