Le Devoir de violence de Yambo Ouologuem: Une lecture intertextuelle
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Bound to violence (1968) is the first novel written by the Malian author Yambo Ouologuem. Winner of the Renaudot Award (November 1968), the novel was pulled from bookstore shelves by the French editor in the early 1970’s, following the accusations of plagiarism, which never went to trial. When the French text is reprinted in 2003, it is presented as an attempt to rehabilitate its reputation to the francophone public. Our study analyzes the intertextual practices, of which plagiarism is a major constituent, that are the foundation of the innovative narrative process of Bound to violence. The author appropriates the texts of the occidental novel as well as of the Bible, which various theories of intertextuality allow to identify. Similarly, the paratext of Bound to violence, which categorizes it as a novel, permits the blending of different discourses of that period in a mixture of narratives and genres. The novel presents “fixed” discourses such as the story of Hamitic Myth, ideological discourses about blackness and colonialism but also discourse about society, particularly History. The intertextual and hypertextual practices allow a fusion of narratives and genres which defines the novel’s originality. This study goes beyond a simple listing of the literary texts which are part of Bound to violence and examines the elaboration of an intertextual link between Bound to violence and other literary texts, as well as their function in the newly created novel.