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by Ellison, Ralph

  • Used
  • first


New York: Random House, (1952). First edition. His National Award-winning first book. Ranked 19th on the Modern Library list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century and one of Time Magazine's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Anthony Burgess called it "a masterpiece." Crisp and near fine with just a faint shadow from item previously laid in at rear; in about very good price-clipped dust jacket free from chips and tears but with rubbed and flattened creasing to spine ends, corners and along lower edge rear panel.
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About this book

Even though Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man is sometimes featured on banned books lists, it remains a consistent staple on many high school reading curriculums. In the novel, Ellison laments the feeling of hopelessness and invisibility that many Black men experience in the United States, and it elegantly explores the themes of racism and bigotry in ways that are both unsettling and accessible.

First Edition Identification

Invisible Man was first published in 1952 by Random House for the price of $3.50. The classic dust jacket featured the outline of a man centered in what may be a scope of some kind, contradicting the inherent notion of invisibility. The author's picture is featured on the back dust jacket cover. 

True first printings are easy to identify, as the text “First Printing” is clearly visible on the copyright page. Some believe the presence of “A.B” on the bottom of the copyright page is indicative of a first printing, but that text has also been found on other printings as well. So if you believe you have a true first printing of Invisible Man, always check the top of the copyright page for the distinctive “First Printing” text. Additionally, when you remove the dust jacket of first editions, you will see an illustration on the top half and spine of the Random House boards. 

Like many Random House first printings, the pricing information of Invisible Man can be found at the top right-hand corner of the inside dust jacket flap. That information may not be included in later printings or subsequent book club editions.