Death and the King's Horseman: A Norton Critical Edition (Norton Critical Editions) (Paperback)

Death and the King's Horseman: A Norton Critical Edition (Norton Critical Editions) By Wole Soyinka, Simon Gikandi (Editor) Cover Image
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“This Second Edition of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman has been edited by Simon Gikandi to further augment its place as one of the most important texts of world literature. Gikandi’s notes are both masterful and well-judged and help to provide a rich framework for situating the play historically, dramaturgically, and also in terms of its adoption and alchemical reconstruction of key aspects of Soyinka’s own Yoruba culture. This Norton edition is a must for all serious scholars of Death and the King’s Horseman.” —Ato Quayson, Stanford University


“With its substantial new introduction by a preeminent literary scholar, this book offers provocative and diverse perspectives on Death and the King’s Horseman. Each essay reminds us of the staggering beauty and complexity of this classic African play. The book is a welcome addition to any collection, especially at the present time when scholars are debating how to understand local systems of knowledge in world drama.” —Stephanie Newell, Yale University


“An authoritative edition with an insightful introduction by Simon Gikandi who situates Soyinka’s play in the context of ‘Yoruba beliefs and systems of thought’ along with covering this Nobel laureate’s diverse 60-year career. Key essays provide significant cultural and critical material (updated from the 2003 Norton Critical Edition) valuable to students and scholars in interpreting this play. Additionally, a new section, ‘The Play on Stage,’ usefully brings the printed text to life with discussions of Soyinka as director, and the challenges of producing this play in theaters across the world with varying audiences, and critical receptions. A welcome new Critical Edition from Norton.” —Ketu H. Katrak, University of California, Irvine


This Norton Critical Edition includes:



  • The only student edition of Soyinka’s play.

  • An expansive introduction, headnotes, and explanatory footnotes by Simon Gikandi.

  • Nine interior images.

  • Background materials related to traditional Nigerian myth and culture, including two selections new to the Second Edition.

  • A new section, “The Play on Stage,” that considers Soyinka as director as well as the interpretative challenges of producing and performing Death and the King’s Horseman.

  • Seven critical essays—five of them new to the Second Edition—by Henry Louis Gates Jr., David Richards, Wole Ogundele, Eileen Julien, Cheryl Sterling, Eugene McNulty, and Ato Quayson.

  • A chronology of Soyinka’s life and work and a selected bibliography.



About the Author


Wole Soyinka, one of Africa's foremost writers, won the Nobel Prize in 1986 and is the author of Death and the King's Horseman, among other works.

Simon Gikandi is the Robert Schirmer Professor of English and Chair at the University of Princeton. His books include Reading the African Novel, Writing in Limbo: Modernism and Caribbean Literature, and Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism. He is editor of the Ngugi wa Thiong’o volume in the Cambridge Studies in African and Caribbean Literature series. He is presently editing The Encyclopedia of African Literature (Routledge).
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393888720
ISBN-10: 039388872X
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 25th, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: Norton Critical Editions