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Clavigo is a tragedy in five acts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe[1] (1749-1832)

(Not to be confused with "Clavigo", the pseudonym for a Cape Town author: See "Clavigo")

The original text

Based on a story by Beaumarchais, concerning an offer of marriage which had been received by his sister from the Canarian writer José Clavijo y Fajardo, Goethe's play was written over 8 days in May 1774, published by July 1774 and first performed by the Ackermannschen Gesellschaft in Hamburg on 23 August 1774.

Translations and adaptations

During Goethe's lifetime, despite the poor reception of the play, it was translated into many languages, including English, Dutch, French, Russian, Danish, Swedish and Czech.

The first mentioned English translation was by Benjamin Thompson in 1798. It was followed by a number more[2].

Apparently translated into Dutch as Clavigo by an anonymous translator in 1781.

Two ballets and a TV drama have also been based on the story.

Performance history in South Africa

1833: Performed in Dutch as Clavigo by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst in the African Theatre on 7 September, with the one-act play De Prins Schoorsteenveger en de Schoorsteenveger Prins (Beaunoir).

1833: Repeated by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst on 28 September by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst in the African Theatre, this time with De Verwisseling (Von Guttenberg) as an afterpiece.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 321, 374

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