Der Opfer-Tod

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Der Opfer-Tod is a German play in three acts by August von Kotzebue (1761–1819)[1].

The original text

It was first performed in 1796 in Berlin, and published in Vienna by Baptist Wallishauffer in 1798. Von Kotzebue apparently considered it his best and most interesting play[2]

Translations and adaptations

By 1805 the play had already been translated into 6 languages, including English, French and Dutch, among them:

Translated into English as Self Immolation, or The Sacrifice of Love, by Henry Neuman, was published by R. Phillips in 1799.

Translated into French as Honneur et Indigence, ou Le Divorce par Amour ("Honor and Indigence, or Divorce by Love") by Mathias Weiss and Joseph Patrat, and first performed at the Théâtre de la Cité- Variété in 1803 and published by in Paris by Huet in the same year.

Translated into Dutch by a number of authors in the years. These include:

Robert Maxwell, of De Offerdood translated from the German by Jan Steven Van Esveldt-Holtrop, published in 1798 by both J.C. Leeuwestyn and . J. Dóll.

Eerzucht en Behoefte, of De Huwelyksscheiding uit Liefde, translated from the French version, rather than the German, by Steenbergen van Goor and performed and published in 1803. Confusingly, F.C.L. Bosman (1928, p.556 ) assigns the translation by this name to H. Kup. However, no such translation can be traced, so it may be assumed to be an error.

Both Dutch versions were produced in South Africa (see below).

Performance history in South Africa

1815: Performed as Eerzucht en Behoefte, of De Huwelyksscheiding uit Liefde in Cape Town by Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense on 26 September. According to Bosman, (1928, p.556) Eerzucht en Behoefte was credited to a French version by Patrat (only). The play was followed by De Wanhoop van Jocrisse (Dorvigny).

1834: Performed in Dutch as Robert Maxwell, of De Offerdood on 24 May by the company Vlyt en Kunst in the Liefhebbery Toneel - Amateur Theatre in Cape Town, with De Wonderdoctor (Molière), with De Gekwetste Reputatie, of Het Komedielootje (Boniface) as interlude.

1843: Performed in Cape Town on 21 November in the Dutch translation as Robert Maxwell, of De Offerdood by "Het Privaat Hollandsch Liefhebbery Tooneel Gezelschap" ("The private Dutch amateur theatre company") Door Yver Vruchtbaar with De Wonderdocter, of Le Médecin Malgré Lui by (Molière).


Facsimile of the original 1798 German text, Google E-Book[3]

Facsimile of the 1798 Dutch translation by Van Esveldt-Holtrop, Google E-Book[4]

Facsimile of the 1803 Dutch translation by Van Goor, published by Abraham Mars , Google E-Book[5]

Klaartje Groot. 2010. Geliefd en gevreesd: Duits toneel in Nederland rond 1800. Hilfersum: Uitgewerij Verloren, p. 56

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [6]: pp. 139, 322, 444, 556,

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