"After existing orally for hundreds of years, Sunjata was written down in the 20th century. David Conrad, who recorded a new version of the epic, has now crafted a prose translation that preserves the oral flavor of live performance. The result is a captivating work of literature that will finally give the story of Sunjata its well-deserved place among the great epics of world literature."
—Martin Puchner, Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; June 2016
- ISBN 9781624664960
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
- Title: Sunjata: A New Prose Version
- Author: David Conrad (ed.)
Imprint: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
In The Press
"Conrad's translation seems to me much clearer and more accessible than Niane’s 1965 rendering. In addition, Conrad's notes are exceedingly useful. His maps, and his notes on the maps, are terrific.
"The Sunjata epic speaks to the founding of the great empire of Mali. The introduction situates the epic in the world of the Mande, as a people, culture, and group of languages; it also provides the context for the epic, and explains the meaning of a "bard," origin mythologies, linkage with a founding ancestor, as well as events and their cosmic interpretations.
"[In this translation we can hear] a powerful griot voice, chanting about histories, singing about heroes and genealogies, and reciting poetry on memories, all accomplished in ways to give us an expansive entry into the past of a world that forcefully speaks to the present, inviting wonder and imagination about the possibilities for a greater future."
—Toyin Falola, University of Texas Austin, and author of A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt
About The Author
David C. Conrad is Professor of History at the State University of New York, Oswego, and President of the Mande Studies Association.