This critical edition of the epic 1968 Malian novel explores its enduring literary power and the racist plagiarism scandal that devastated its author, the first African winner of France’s prestigious Renaudot Prize.
An engrossing, tragic tale spanning the thirteenth to the twentieth century, Bound to Violence recounts the fate of the imaginary empire of Nakem and the dynasty of the Saïfs who reign there as devious masters.
While the novel was initially praised as an insider’s guide to and critique of African history, with its vivid descriptions of the brutality of local rulers and the slave trade, Yambo Ouologuem’s biting satire goes far beyond his native land. Through the society of Nakem, he paints a universally relevant portrait of sex, violence, and power in human relationships.
In this new edition of Ralph Manheim’s vigorous translation, professor and award-winning documentary filmmaker Chérif Keïta provides invaluable context for the novel, whose publication in the West was mired by accusations of plagiarism, fraught with racist undertones.