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Elfride is a German tragedy in three acts by Friedrich Justin Bertuch (1747-1822)[1].

Also found as Elfriede in some early versions of the German text.

The original text

According to the Foreword, the play was based on a passage from The History of England by David Hume[2] about the wife of the wife of the Duke of Devonshire in the time of King Edgar.

The German text of the play was first performed in 1773 and published in Weimar, 1775 and again in Vienna in 1791.

Translations and adaptations

Translated and adapted into Dutch as Elfride, a tragedy in four acts by Petrus Johannes Kasteleijn (or Kasteleyn, 1746-1794)[3]. First performed by the Genootschap van Rhetorica in Cortryk in 1776 and published in in Gent by J.F. van der Scheuren in the same year, and in Amsteldam by D. Klippink in 1783.

Performance history in South Africa

1878: Performed in Dutch as Elfride in the Oddfellows Hall, Cape Town by the Rederijkerskamer De Eendracht on 21 and 28 November and 11 December, De Eerste Bruidsdag (Inchbald/Burlage).


Facsimile version of the German text of 1791, Klassik Stiftung Weimar (from the digitised material of the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek)[4]

Facsimile version of the Dutch text of 1776, Google Play[5]




F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.450.

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