Armuth und Edelsinn

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Armuth und Edelsinn ("Poverty and nobleness of mind") is a German comedy in three acts by August von Kotzebue (1761-1819)[1].

The original text

Published in Leipzig by Paul Gotthelf Kummer, 1795.

Translations and adaptations

Like most of Von Kotzebue's works, this play was widely performed in the 19th century, and translated into a number of languages.


Translated as Armoede en Grootheid, by Cornelis Loots. Published in Amsteldam by P.d. Uylenbroek, 1795, reprinted in 1796.


Directly translated as Poverty and Nobleness of Mind by M. Geisweiler in 1799.

Translated "with Alterations" as Sighs, or The Daughter (or Sighs: Or, the Daughter in early versions) by Prince Hoare (1755–1834)[2], also in 1799. Apparently adapted to a play in five acts.

Performance history in South Africa

1818: Presented in English in Cape Town on 30 May as Sighs: Or, the Daughter (using the Hoare adaptation), performed by the Gentlemen Amateurs in the African Theatre, with Fortune's Frolic (Allingham) as afterpiece. Amusingly in this instance , according to F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 154), the original German play is wrongly referred to by the company as "Armuth und Edelstein" (i.e. "poverty and gemstone") in the programme.

1837: Performed in Stellenbosch in Dutch (as Armoede en Grootheid) by Door Yver Vruchtbaar on 29 April, with Ephraim, of De Bedrogene Jood (Anon.).

1844: The Dutch text performed in Cape Town on 18 September by the joint company "Het Privaat Hollandsch Tooneellievend Gezelschap" playing under the united motto of Tot Nut en Vermaak and Door Yver Vruchtbaar, along with Het Huishouden van Jan Steen (Westerman)


Online Books by August von Kotzebue[3]

Facsimile text of Sighs: Or, the Daughter[4]

George Watson and Ian R. Willison (Eds) 1971. The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, Volume 2: p173[5]

Facsimile version of the second printing of Armoede en Grootheid, Hathi Trust Digital Library[6]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [7]: pp. 154, 255, 447.

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