Le Devoir et la Nature, ou Le Conseil de Guerre

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Le Devoir et la Nature, ou Le Conseil de Guerre ("Duty and nature, or the war council") is a French play in 5 acts by Benoît Pelletier-Volméranges (1756-1824)[1].

The original text

First performed in Paris at the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe in 1797. In 1807 performed at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin. Published in Marseille: Les Libraires-associés in 1799 or 1800.

Translations and adaptations

A Dutch as translation, simply entitled Natuur en Pligt ("Nature and duty"), was published in Spectatoriaale schouwburg, behelzende eene verzameling der beste zedelijke tooneelstukken, byeen gebragt uit alle de verscheide taalen van Europa, Volume 27: pp3-124 by Pieter Meijer, on 1800.

Also apparently translated into Dutch as Natuur en Pligt, of De Zoon Rechter over Zijnen Vader ("Nature and duty, or the son the judge of his father") by an unknown translator, published in Amsterdam by G. Warnars, 1808.

The title is spelled wrongly in some sources, e.g. Natuur en Pligt, of De Zoon Regter over Zijn' Vader and either Natuur en Pligt, of De Zoon Regter over Zyn Vader or Natuur en Pligt, of De Zoon Regter over Zynen Vader (the latter two variations both cited by F.C.L. Bosman, 1928).

(An interesting variation of the theme was a poem entitled Natuur en pligt, of de zoon rechter over zijne moeder ("Nature and duty, or the son the judge of his mother") by J.W. Van Ditmar, published in Amsterdam by T. Wiering in 1838.)

Performance history in South Africa

1823: Performed as Natuur en Pligt, of De Zoon Regter over Zyn Vader in Cape Town by Tot Nut en Vermaak on 26 April, after they had managed to borrow a copy of the text from a certain Mr Kekewich. It was accompanied by the one-act comedy, Het Strandregt (Von Kotzebue).

1830: Performed in Dutch again in Cape Town by Tot Nut en Vermaak on 23 October, after they had once more managed to borrow a copy of the text. This time entitled Natuur en Pligt, of De Zoon Regter over Zynen Vader and accompanied by Niets en Iets (Stoopendaal)

1844: Performed in Dutch in Cape Town on 5 June 1844 by the joint company "Het Privaat Hollandsch Tooneellievend Gezelschap" playing under the united motto of Tot Nut en Vermaak and Door Yver Vruchtbaar, as their first performance, along with De Dronkaard (Kotzebue).

1844: Repeated by the same company at special request on 14 June , 1844 along with 't Zal laat Worden (Meijer).

Sources

Facsimile of the 1799/1800 French text in Warwick Digital Collections[2]

Facsimile of the 1808 Dutch text, Google Books[3]

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beno%C3%AEt_Pelletier-Volm%C3%A9ranges

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 234, 243, 445, 447

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