"Battle Royal" is the name of the first chapter of Ralph Ellison's 1952 novel Invisible Man. This first chapter was originally published as a short story in the October 1947 issue of the English literary periodical Horizon and entitled "The Invisible Man." "Battle Royal" is the name adopted by subsequent anthologies to differentiate the story from the novel of the same name.
Ellison's novel won him fast and sustained acclaim as a major writer of the twentieth century. The story was well received upon publication and alerted many to Ellison's talent. "Battle Royal" presents a startling scene of violence, naiveté and economic power—a scene that implies the philosophical depth behind the institutions of racism and the pathos of asserting an identity in the shadow of historical tragedy.