Juneteenth (novel)

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Juneteenth (novel).jpg
AuthorRalph Ellison
CountryUnited States
GenreAfrican-American literature
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)

Juneteenth is Ralph Ellison's second novel, published posthumously in 1999 as a 368-page condensation of over 2000 pages written by him over a period of forty years. It was originally written without any real organization, and Ellison's longtime friend, biographer and critic John F. Callahan, put the novel together, editing it in the way he thought Ellison would want it to be written.

Ellison claimed to be devastated when much of the original manuscript of Juneteenth was destroyed by a fire in 1967. However, the loss of the crucial, irrecoverable sections of his manuscript appears to have been something Ellison concocted after the fact to justify his lack of progress. Arnold Rampersad, in his 2007 biography of Ellison, points out that, following the fire, Ellison wrote to critic Nathan Scott of his relief that he still "fortunately had a full copy" of all his writing.

While there had been over 2,000 pages written by the time of his death, the novel was never finished by the author himself. A fuller version of the manuscript was published on February 2, 2010, as Three Days Before the Shooting.

See also[edit]


  • Ralph Ellison. Juneteenth. New York: Random House, 1999. Introduction and afterword by John F. Callahan describe the writing and editing process.
  • Loretta Johnson. "History in Ellison's Juneteenth". Studies in American Fiction, 32, 1 (Spring 2004), 81-99.

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