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Invisible Man (INSCRIBED/SIGNED association copy)

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Invisible Man (INSCRIBED/SIGNED association copy)

by ELLISON, Ralph, [Dorothy Peterson]

  • Used
  • very good
  • hardcover
  • Signed
  • First
Very good/good +
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About This Item

New York: Random House, 1952. First Edition, sixth printing. Original cloth. Very good/good +. ELLISON, Ralph, Invisible Man (INSCRIBED/SIGNED association copy), Random House, NY, 1952. 1 blank leave (with inscription) + half-title page + TP + 1 leaf = dedication “To Ida” + 1 leaf = epigraph + half-title page + 3 - 439 + 1 blank leaf, Octavo. First edition, 6th printing.

The existential odyssey of a young African-American man. Arguably one of the most important novels in the canon of American Literature, it can be read through the lenses of philosophy, American literature, psychoanalysis, civil rights. Ellison, inspired by Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, imagines the alienated voice of his unnamed narrator—faced with the paradoxes of a journey to self—constrained by the limits of his society. Just as Dostoevsky’s narrator is both the product of and trapped within the intellectual structures of a Chernyshevskian world, Ellison’s narrator is both a product of and trapped within the social structures of a segregationist world. Journeying through a crucible of self discovery eventually leads him to freedom.

An important association copy, signed and inscribed to Dorothy Peterson. Dorothy Peterson (1897-1978) moved to Harlem in the 1920s to attend New York University. In 1929 she co-founded the Negro Experimental Theater. Dorothy Peterson was a Spanish teacher, aspiring actress, novelist, and arts patron actively engaged with writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance. As an active patron of the arts, she founded the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of Negro Arts and Letters (Yale) and the Jerome Bowers Peterson Collection of Photographs of Celebrated Negroes (Wadleigh High School, Harlem).

The inscription on the flyleaf reads as follows: “For Dorothy Peterson, who, somehow, transcended all the foolishness of Negro pride and provincial slavery, and arrived at that exquisite balance which is simply and miraculously humanity. With sincerity, Ralph Ellison, her old admirer.”

CONDITION: Good to Very Good. Protected jacket has pieces missing at top and bottom of spine, some smudging on the front, a few scratches on the back, price-clipped. Covers have some spotting in lower right corner in front and lower left corner in back. Binding straight, text marked in pen by American novelist William Heath, author of The Children Bob Moses Led. Inscription on the flyleaf, very rare and highly collectible.


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.

Read more: Identifying first editions of Invisible Man (INSCRIBED/SIGNED association copy)


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Eternal Return Antiquarian Bookshop US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
Invisible Man (INSCRIBED/SIGNED association copy)
ELLISON, Ralph, [Dorothy Peterson]
Original cloth
Book condition
Used - Very good
Jacket condition
good +
Quantity available
First Edition, sixth printing
Random House
Place of Publication
New York
Date published
American Literature, African-American Literature, existentialism, freud, philosophy, Harlem Renaissance

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About the Seller

Eternal Return Antiquarian Bookshop

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2009
San Diego, California
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About Eternal Return Antiquarian Bookshop

Rare and antiquarian bookshop specializing in philosophy and philosophical literature.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]
Association copy
An association copy is a copy of a book which has been signed and inscribed by the author for a personal friend,...[more]
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing...[more]
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...[more]
When a book is described as being inscribed, it indicates that a short note written by the author or a previous owner has...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]

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