I Spit on Your Graves  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (Eng: I Spit On Your Graves) is a 1946 French novel by Boris Vian written under the pseudonym Vernon Sullivan. It was adapted to film by Michel Gast in 1959 and was distributed in the United States by Radley Metzger. Miscegenation, racism murder and revenge are the themes of this French crime drama set in the American South.


The story, like the other stories that Vian wrote under the "Sullivan" moniker, is set in the American South and describes the difficulties African Americans face in their daily lives with "whites". In this novel, Lee Anderson, a light-skinned African-American, leaves his native town after his brother was lynched and hanged because he was in love with a white woman. Once arrived in this other city, Lee becomes librarian and fraternizes with the local youngsters who crave for alcohol and sex. His goal is to avenge his brother.

Different in style from other Vian novels, this story is more violent, rawer and most representative of the "Sullivan" series, in which Vian denounces the atmosphere of racism and the precarious situation of African Americans' living conditions in the American South.

Shortly after its publication (in 1949) the novel was banned because it was perceived as pornographic and immoral; Vian himself was convicted of "outrage aux bonnes mœurs" a French phrase meaning outrage to public morality or "an insult to public decency. (see Censorship in France) There was a 1947 illustrated version by Jean Boullet. The novel also exists in a bowlderized version.

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