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Kenilworth is the main title of a much dramatized 3 volume historical novel by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)[1].

The original text

The first volume of the novel was published as Kenilworth. A Romance on 8 January 1821.

Translations and adaptations

Scott's popular novel has been adapted and dramatized a number of times by various authors over the years, appearing under a variety of titles. Among them:

Kenilworth Castle, or The Days of Queen Bess, a three act version by James Robinson Planché (1796-1880)[2], appears to have been first, for it was first performed at the Adelphi Theatre on 9 February, 1821.

In 1822 followed a four act drama entitled Kenilworth, A Historical Drama by an anonymous dramatist (possibly even Scott himself, who had dabbled in dramatisation before), which was performed in Edinburgh in 1822, and published there by James L. Huie in 1823.

Kenilworth, or Ye Queene, Ye Earle and Ye Maydenne, a burlesque by Andrew Halliday (formerly Andrew Halliday Duff, 1830–1877)[3] and Frederic Lawrance (fl. 1850s-1860s) was licensed for performance under this title on 23 December, 1858 and performed at The Strand Theatre, London, on 27 December, 1858. (The title also found as Kenilworth, or Ye Queen, Ye Earle and Ye Maydene and Kenilworth, or Ye Queen, Ye Earle and Ye Maidene.)

Other titles found include:

Kenilworth, or The Golden Days of Queen Bess (ascribed to Scott, published in 1823); Kenilworth, Kenilworth, or The Days of Queen Bess, Kenilworth, or The Golden Days of England's Elizabeth, Kenilworth, or The Days of Good Queen Bess, Kenilworth, or The Merry Days of Old England, etc.

Performance history in South Africa

1832: A play entitled Kenilworth, or The Days of Queen Bess ("a drama in four acts") was performed in South Africa for the first time on 11 August by the All the World's a Stage in the African Theatre, with Catherine and Petruchio, or The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare) as afterpiece. The particular text used is not specified in the sources, but the title suggests the Planché version, though the four acts again point to the anonymous 1822 version.

1877: The burlesque by Holiday and Lawrance was performed (as Kenilworth, or Ye Queene, Ye Earle and Ye Maidene) by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 9 August, with Jane Shore (Rowe). The evening a benefit for the scenic artist W. Thorne.


A History of Early Ninteenth Century Drama 1800-1850 (p. 477), CUP Archive[4]

Facsimile version of the 1823 text of Kenilworth, A Historical Drama, Google E-book[5]

Walter Hamilton. Parodies of the works of English & American authors (Volume v.5) online text (page 69 of 72) - accessed 30 May 2020[6]

Royal Holloway Library. "52977 A-BB. Lord Chamberlain's Plays, 1852-1866. December 1858" [7]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [8]: pp. 223

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.359

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