First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, this book is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. Many critics point out that Ellison has included almost every kind of black consciousness in his work: Music, the legacy of slavery, the tradition of preaching, dancing and relations between the North and the South. In jazz, he found a metaphor of African-American existence, and the technique of improvisation on a given subject was presented as a democratic principle, the principle of essential equality, which the protagonist adopts. Through spiritual songs and slave begging was presented the whole of African-American history. Throughout the novel, a musical metaphor emerges as a common background for the maturation of the invisible man.