Notes on Ralph Ellison's Three Days Before the Shooting: Objective Art, Alchemical Cabala, Roman a Clef, Modern Civil Messiahs, Ancient Egypt, and Pseudo-Communism

Notes on Ralph Ellison's Three Days Before the Shooting: Objective Art, Alchemical Cabala, Roman a Clef, Modern Civil Messiahs, Ancient Egypt, and Pseudo-Communism

Jon Woodson / May 19, 2019

Notes on Ralph Ellison s Three Days Before the Shooting Objective Art Alchemical Cabala Roman a Clef Modern Civil Messiahs Ancient Egypt and Pseudo Communism Everyone knows who MLK was Hardly anyone knows that MLK was the creation of the breakaway American followers of the modern mystic G I Gurdjieff Led by A R Orage a large group of highly accomplished A

  • Title: Notes on Ralph Ellison's Three Days Before the Shooting: Objective Art, Alchemical Cabala, Roman a Clef, Modern Civil Messiahs, Ancient Egypt, and Pseudo-Communism
  • Author: Jon Woodson
  • ISBN: 9781548733858
  • Page: 225
  • Format: Paperback
  • Everyone knows who MLK was Hardly anyone knows that MLK was the creation of the breakaway American followers of the modern mystic G.I Gurdjieff Led by A.R Orage, a large group of highly accomplished Americans intervened in history by creating a modern civil messiah To do this they followed a plan laid down four thousand years ago by the priests of Horus and two thousaEveryone knows who MLK was Hardly anyone knows that MLK was the creation of the breakaway American followers of the modern mystic G.I Gurdjieff Led by A.R Orage, a large group of highly accomplished Americans intervened in history by creating a modern civil messiah To do this they followed a plan laid down four thousand years ago by the priests of Horus and two thousand years ago by the Essene community Orage s group of self appointed spiritual supermen began in the early 1930s, and twice they failed The third time they changed their strategy and the result was the charismatic civil rights activist, MLK Ralph Ellison s unpublished second novel Three Days Before the Shooting hides an account of this daring scheme beneath layers of ciphers, myth, and literary dazzle Concealed within the American Communist Party and other groups, a cadre of writers, intellectuals, editors, lawyers, artists, and publishers staged an Objective Drama that made MLK a towering moral leader Only in the disordered pages of Ellison s esoteric, experimental novel is there a full account of this monumental project Building on a decades long course of research beginning with an audacious dissertation on Melvin B Tolson, Jon Woodson has revealed the contents of Ellison s fascinating and profound work of genius Jon Woodson s investigation of Ralph Ellison s second novel marks an important departure from the former approaches to Ellison s fiction Previous scholarship on Ellison was grounded in either Ellison s own comments or derived from speculations that disguised their provisional nature through jargon, volume, and theory Woodson argues that Ellison s surface text is always deceptive, so using Ellison s essays and notes to explicate his fiction is fruitless Woodson has produced a reading of Three Days Before the Shooting that accounts for everything in the text by turning in each case to the texts that Ellison consulted in the writing of his novel Woodson shows how Ellison invented new modes of encryption that surpassed those devices used in such indecipherable texts as Djuna Barnes s, Nightwood, William Faulkner s Pylon, and Mina Loy s Insel novels with a deep kinship to Ellison s Three Days Woodson s six notes address the materials at the core of Ellison s novel Objective Art, Alchemical Cabala, Roman a Clef, Modern Civil Messiahs, Ancient Egypt, and Pseudo Communism Woodson provides the name of a real person for every character in Three Days Before the Shooting This is all the astonishing against the fact that no other scholar has discussed the novel as a one for one roman a clef Jon Woodson s insights establish an entirely new understanding not only of Three Days Before the Shooting but for the complete Ellison oeuvre Reviews of previous books Jon Woodson s Anthems, Sonnets, and Chants is a thoroughly engaging work This is a major work of scholarship which genuinely breaks new ground in the field James A Miller, professor of English and American studies, The George Washington University Woodson has proven to be a scholar of immense originality in his choice of methods, topics and analyses His dedication to mining and interpreting evidence is never in doubt, nor is his willingness to resist what he views as conventional academic readings He is a critic s critic , who boldly follows paths of inquiry leading to fresh understandings Lauri Ramey, Professor of English, California State University, Los Angeles Review of Anthems Wasafiri, 2015.

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    About "Jon Woodson"

      • Jon Woodson

        An innate surrealist sensibility was instilled in me during my time wandering the bomb damaged streets of Frankfurt, Germany at the age of eight years old in 1952 I never completely recovered from being taken to see Carl Sandburg when he was performing for Negro children at the Library of Congress in about 1956 Realizing the dangerous tendencies in my personality, my parents tried to turn me into a normal person by forceful applications of baseball on the radio and brutal tennis training Once I discovered science fiction and Samuel Beckett s novel Molloy read at the age of fourteen the hopes for my recovery were grim I was sent away to a New England preparatory school at fifteen, where I suffered a further decline by discovering Beat literature and dada I finished high school in Washington, DC, where I began to write poetry and was published in the Howard University literary magazine, Stylus, which ran a contest for high school students At the University of Rhode Island I published poems and edited the literary journal After earning an M.A in English from U.R.I in 1969, I taught at Lincoln University in the 13 College Curriculum Program TCCCP , a massive avant garde experiment in higher education From 1971 to 1979 I studied literature at Brown University and taught at George Mason University At Brown University I was taken under the wing of Edwin Honig, translator of Fernando Pessoa, and I also was associated with Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop I wrote a dissertation that read Melvin B Tolson s poetry through the lens of Gurdjieff s esotericism, a view that was immediately rejected by other scholars I have since worked to explore the esoteric cast of American modernism and have published To Make a New Race Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance 1999 an account of how Tolson was introduced to esotericism by contact with the members of the Harlem Renaissance, many of whom were writing coded esoteric fiction and poetry I have continued to write and to publish on this topic, showing that other major figures were also involved in this tendency James Agee, Djuna Barnes, Dawn Powell, and Ralph Ellison I have taught at Towson University and Howard University As a Fulbright lecturer in American Literature, I taught at two Hungarian universities in 2006 I now am at work on a series of comic novels.


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