“The Enigma of Arrival; or, When Should We Have Read Ralph Ellison’s Three Days Before the Shooting?” is a review essay that looks at the context in which we as readers have come to receive Ellison’s posthumously published novel. It is also a provocation that suggests a way of approaching Ellison’s posthumously published novel that takes seriously Ellison’s move away from the tropes and figures of race that concerned him in his previous work. I argue that Ellison’s novel speaks directly to our contemporary moment and what he already saw in 1982: the “potent and dangerous force” evangelicalism plays in American political and cultural life. Using Erich Auerbach’s understanding of “passio” as a guide, I suggest ways in which Ellison’s novel figures a worldly vision of human passion and belonging that is a rebuttal to the ultranationalist evangelicalism of the eighties and now.
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Book Review| August 01 2012
The Enigma of Arrival; Or, When Should We Have Read Ralph Ellison’s Three Days Before the Shooting?
Book Reviewed: Ellison, Ralph,
Three Days Before the Shooting, ed. John Callahan and Adam Bradley (
boundary 2 (2012) 39 (3): 169–189.
Richard Purcell; The Enigma of Arrival; Or, When Should We Have Read Ralph Ellison’s Three Days Before the Shooting?. boundary 2 1 August 2012; 39 (3): 169–189. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-1730662
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