Professor Alejandro Nava published an essay this month in the popular literature news site Lit Hub on the sorrow and exuberance in novelist Ralph Elison's work.
Ralph Elison's Tragicomic Soul was adapted as an excerpt from Nava's recent book, In Search of Soul: Hip-Hop, Literature and Religion. In the essay, Nava explores the nature of "soul" in Ellison's work, particularly the soul's ability to resuscitate itself after experiences of degradation and death:
By speaking from the American underground, Ellison adds a blues-like color and prophetic edge to his concept of soul; it is a force of dissent against vain and jingoistic versions of American greatness. Ellison’s “soul” is not unlike biblical understandings—vital spirit, life force, or essential self—but he clearly adds the particular shibboleths of black history and culture to the religious account.
Read the full essay at Lit Hub.