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Lover's Vows

Lover's Vows by August von Kotzebue
By: (1761-1819)

Lovers' Vows (1798), a play by Elizabeth Inchbald arguably best known now for having been featured in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park (1814), is one of at least four adaptations of August von Kotzebue's Das Kind der Liebe (1780; literally "Child of Love," or "Natural Son," as it is often translated), all of which were published between 1798 and 1800. Inchbald's version is the only one to have been performed. Dealing as it does with sex outside marriage and illegitimate birth, Inchbald in the Preface to the published version declares herself to have been highly sensitive to the task of adapting the original German text for "an English audience." Even so, she left the setting as Germany.

The play was first performed at Covent Garden on Thursday, 11 October 1798, and was an immediate success: it ran for forty-two nights, "making it by some distance Covent Garden's most successful venture of that season," and went on to be performed in Bristol, Newcastle, Bath, and elsewhere. It was likewise successful as a print publication, though it also aroused controversy about its "levelling" politics and moral ambiguity. Anne Plumptre, who translated Kotzebue's play as The Natural Son, wrote (perhaps not disinterestedly as the production of Inchbald's work effectively precluded the production of her own) that Inchbald had transformed the character of Amelia into a "forward country hoyden." Others, however, defended the morality of the play. And indeed, various characters indulge in considerable moralizing about charity, honour, and forgiveness.

First Page:

This etext was provided by Kelly Hurt .

Lovers Vows A Play in Five Acts by Mrs. Inchbald from the German of Kotzebue


This e text is taken from the 5th edition published in 1798.

As the PREFACE. makes clear, "Lovers Vows." is not a direct translation of Kotzebue's play "Child of Love" (sometimes known as "Natural Son").

In the printed text, when a character enters or exits, the name is often in all CAPS. I retained this.

In the original, some of the spoken words are emphasised by italics. In the plaintext version I've created, I have used underscores ( ) in front of and behind the word/s that are italicized in the print copy. An example: The underscores indicate italicized text.

The stage directions, actors in the DRAMATIS PERSONAE., and the speakers' names were all italicized. I ignored that in the plaintext version.

In the HTML version I've created, I have used italics, centering, etc. as they are used in the printed copy. For ease of reading, I have placed the speakers' names in bold and skipped a line between speeches... Continue reading book >>

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