Bruce Chatwin: The Viceroy of Ouidah

(648 words)

In the early eighteen-hundreds, Francisco Felix da Souza, a Brazilian slave trader, helped a Dahomeyan Prince to seize his country's throne and was rewarded by being granted a monopoly over the sale of slaves in that entire part of Africa. However, the friendship with the African ruler did not last and da Souza died a ruined and broken man. Bruce Chatwin, who originally intended to write a biography of da Souza, realized Pierre Verger's monumental study of the Benin-Brazil slave trade had already covered the subject extensively, and decided instead to transform the historical details into a work of fiction. The result, published in 1980, is a terse and compelling novel about one Francisco Manoel da Silva, a poor, white, and footloose …

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Utz, Richard. "The Viceroy of Ouidah". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 March 2001
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]