The Rightful Heir

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The Rightful Heir can refer to a number of works, among them:

The Rightful Heir by Edward Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873)[1]

The original text

This is a drama in five acts, a substantially rewritten version of Lytton's own play The Sea Captain (or The Sea Captain, or The Birthright) of 1839, which had been inspired by Alexandre Dumas's novel Le Capitaine Paul (1838)[2]. Originally performed with a modicum of success by Macready under the management of Benjamin Webster and published by Saunders and Otley in 1839, the play was substantially rewritten by Bulwer Lytton after the initial run. After languishing in unperformed for a number of years, it was finally produced under the new title in the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 3 October, 1868 and published the same year.

Translations and adaptations

The Rightful Heir by "Der. F. la Yar"

The original text

Probably a burlesque of the Bulwer Lytton play, it was created/written by "Der. F. la Yar" (pseudonym based on an anagram for Alfred Ray, a British soldier stationed at Cape Town in the 1860s). The piece also known as The Rightful Heir. The Dead Hand and the Hour of One

Translations and adaptations

Performance history of all plays by this title in South Africa

1876: Performed as The Rightful Heir by the Disney Roebuck Company in the Athenaeum Hall, Cape Town, on 19 September. As no author is given by F.C.L. Bosman, this could have been either play, though it is probably the Bulwer Lytton piece. The afterpiece was the burlesque of A Young Rip van Winkle (Reece).


Facsimile version of the 1838 French edition of Le Capitaine Paul[3]

Facsimile version of the 1875 edition of Bulwer Lytton text of The Rightful Heir, Hathi Trust Digital Library[4]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 342,

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