Death and the King's Horseman by Wole Soyinka

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How can I find the text of Death and the King's Horsemen online?

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Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Death and the King's Horseman is a relatively modern play, first performed in 1975. As such, as with the vast majority of modern plays, it's impossible to find online. The reason for this is simple: the play is still within its copyright term. While it's very easy to find older plays online, such as the plays of Shakespeare, this is because these plays have long since been part of the public domain. Very occasionally, an author will waive his or her right to copyright or want to commit their works to the public domain when they die, rather than having the copyright pass to their estate (their family and heirs). Usually, though, you won't be able to find anything in the public domain (at least not a work of this length) until seventy-five years after the author has died.

Sometimes this isn't true of short stories—often because the copyright terms were different here and the copyright remained with the publishing magazine rather than the author. With this text, though, I'm afraid you'll have to buy it—unless you're a member of the Open Library. See the link in the description for the Open Library record for this book, which will allow you to join the waiting list to borrow the e-text.

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I'm afraid you're not going to be able to read the text online free of charge. Copyrighted texts are protected by law for the author's lifetime plus 75 years. To make such texts available for free access to all would infringe on the author's rights and be punishable by law.

You can purchase a printed book or a downloadable etext from either Barnes and Noble ( or Amazon ( among other resources. Alibris offers previously used books at discount prices ( You can purchase Derek Walcott's works there as well.

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