Zélie, ou L'ingénue

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Zélie, ou L'ingénue is a French dramatic piece, in five acts by Madame de Genlis (Stéphanie Félicité comtesse de Genlis, 1746-1830)[1].

Also known simply as Zélie.

The original text

Published in Paris by M. Lambert & F.J. Baudouin as one of three works (La curieuse, Zélie, ou L'ingénue and Le méchant par air) as Volume 2 of her plays, called Théatre de Société, in 1781.

Translations and adaptations

Translated and adapted into English as The Child of Nature by Mrs Inchbald (1753-1821)[2] , originally as a drama in four acts, performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden and published in London by G.G.J. and J. Robinson in 1788. Later published in two acts by T. Dolby, London, in 1825, to coincide with another production in Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.

South African productions

1846: Performed in English as The Child of Nature, as part of the final production in the Victoria Theatre in Pietermaritzburg, on 1 April 1850, along with Borough Politics (Marston).


Facsimile version of the 1788 four act edition of Inchbald's English text, Hathi Trust Digital Library[3]

Facsimile version of the 1825 two act edition of Inchbald's English text, Hathi Trust Digital Library[4]

Patricia Clancy. 1993. "Mme de Genlis, Elizabeth Inchbald and The Child of Nature", Australian Journal of French Studies Volume 30 Issue 3: pp. 324–340.



F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [5]: pp. 217-8.

Schauffer, Dennis 1978. The Establishment of a Theatrical Tradition in Pietermaritzburg, Prior to the Opening of the First Civilian Playhouse. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal.

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