Volsan, of De Menschenhater Door Tegenspoed

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Volsan, of De Menschenhater Door Tegenspoed ("Volsan, or the misanthrope through misfortune") is a Dutch play in three acts by J.D. Villenhoven.

The original text

Described by F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 233) as a translation by an anonymous author of Volsan, ou Le Misanthrope Par Infortune, a French original by Villenhoven. This is confirmed by the entry in the Ceneton-website[1], which has the following:

"Anoniem (naar het Frans van J.D. Villenhoven): Volsan, of de menschenhater door tegenspoed. In: Zedelyk schouwtooneel der menschelyke hartstochten en daaden, of tooneelstukken van vernuft en smaak, derde deel, derde stuk. Amsterdam: Wed. Jan Dóll, 1797". Which suggests it may be a somewhat older play. (This is supported by a similar entry in the Catalogue of publications by Dòll contained in De neef van ider een: blyspel in een bedrijf, Volume 1, 1797).

However, the two extant versions of the play - both published in Amsterdam - also suggest the opposite scenario: The Dutch version having been published in 1797 and the French in 1798, both by J. Dòll and, since no information could be found about the author beyond references to this one play, it could be argued that he (or she) may have been a bilingual Dutch or Belgian playwright, who wrote and published the play in both languages.

It is only known in South Africa in the Dutch version.

Performance history in South Africa

1822: Performed in Dutch by Tot Nut en Vermaak in the African Theatre, Cape Town, with De Deserteur (Von Kotzebue). Originally announced for 21 September, but postponed to 24 September.

1843: Performed in Dutch by Tot Nut en Vermaak in the African Theatre, Cape Town, on 13 September, with Het Misverstand, of Elk is Een Dief in Zyne Neering ("K").

1846: Performed in Cape Town in Dutch by Tot Nut en Vermaak en Door Yver Vruchtbaar on 30 April, in the Roeland Street Theatre, with De Kalkoen van Breda, of Menig Voordeel Komt Onverwacht (Van Ray) as afterpiece.




De neef van ider een: blyspel in een bedrijf, Volume 1, Dòll 1797, Google E-Book[2]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 233, 443, 450

Ceneton-website (Census Nederlands Toneel), Department of Dutch Language and Literature University of Leiden[4],

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