Death and the King's Horseman / Edition 1

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Overview

This Norton Critical Edition of Death and the King's Horseman is the only student edition available in the United States. Based on events that took place in 1946 in the ancient Yoruban city of Oyo, Soyinka's acclaimed and powerful play addresses classic issues of cultural conflict, tragic decision-making, and the psychological mindsets of individuals and groups. The text of the play is accompanied by an introduction and explanatory annotations for the many allusions to traditional Nigerian myth and culture.
"Backgrounds and Sources" helps readers understand Death and the King's Horseman's traditional African contexts and the role of theater in African culture. Included are a map of Yoruba-land, discussions of Yoruban religious beliefs and cultural traditions, Soyinka on the various forms that theater has taken in African culture in order to survive, and Anthony Appiah on Soyinka's struggle with the problem of African identity in the creation of Death and the King's Horseman. Commentary on the play as both a theatrical production and a classroom text is provided by Gerald Moore, Tanure Ojaide, and Martin Rohmer.
"Criticism" collects nine major essays on the play and the difficulties it presents to readers. Contributors include D. S. Izevbaye, Eldred Durosimi Jones, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Biodun Jeyifo, Wole Soyinka, Joan Hepburn, Adebayo Williams, David Richards, and Olakunle George.
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

Examines the explosive tension between the traditional African culture and the West.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
Soyinka both entertains and asks subtle questions about mass psychology, individual psychology, and universal human struggles of the will.
Chicago Tribune
“?Death and the King's Horseman blends European literary theater with total-theater traditions from the Yoruba tribe in Southwest Nigeria. Through poetry, chorus, politics, and storytelling, Soyinka both entertains and asks subtle questions about mass psychology, individual psychology, and universal human struggles of the will.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393977615
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 184,488
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet 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 Robert Hayden Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. 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).

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Acknowledgments
The Text of Death and the King's Horseman 1
Map of Yorubaland 66
The Yoruba World 67
Oba Waja (The King Is Dead) 74
Theatre in African Traditional Cultures: Survival Patterns 89
Wole Soyinka and the Myth of an African World 103
Soyinka's New Play 113
Death and the King's Horseman in the Classroom 115
Wole Soyinka's 'Death and the King's Horseman,' Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester 121
Mediation in Soyinka: The Case of the King's Horseman 141
Death and the King's Horseman 151
Being, the Will, and the Semantics of Death 155
Ideology and Tragedy 164
Elesin Oba and the Critics 172
Ritual Closure in Death and the King's Horseman 177
Ritual and the Political Unconscious: The Case of Death and the King's Horseman 187
Death and the King's Horseman and the Masks of Language 196
Tragedy, Mimicry, and "The African World" 207
Wole Soyinka: A Chronology 223
Selected Bibliography 227
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