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Lover's Vows

Elizabeth Inchbald

Book Overview: 

Lovers' Vows, a play by Elizabeth Inchbald arguably best known now for having been featured in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, is one of at least four adaptations of August von Kotzebue's Das Kind der Liebe (literally "Child of Love," or "Natural Son," as it is often translated). Inchbald's version is the only one to have been performed. Dealing as it does with sex outside marriage and illegitimate birth, Inchbald in the Preface to the published version declares herself to have been highly sensitive to the task of adapting the original German text for "an English audience." Even so, she left the setting as Germany.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I had made of repentance and amendment. I have fulfilled it--;and now, Frederick, you may look at me again. [He embraces her.]

  Frederick. But my father all this time? [mournfully] I apprehend he died.

  Agatha. No--;he married.

  Frederick. Married!

  Agatha. A woman of virtue--;of noble birth and immense fortune. Yet, [weeps] I had written to him many times; had described your infant innocence and wants; had glanced obliquely at former promises--;

  Frederick [rapidly]. No answer to these letters?

  Agatha. Not a word.--;But in time of war, you know, letters miscarry.

  Frederick. Nor did he ever return to this estate?

  Agatha. No--;since the death of his mother this castle has only been inhabited by servants--;for he settled as far off as Alsace, upon the estate of his wife.

  Frederick. I will carry you in my arms to Alsace.. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I didn't expect to have so much fun reading this! Obviously, like almost anyone else in the review section, I read this because it's the play the characters in Mansfield Park play and... yeah, that other layer on top of this play made the whole experience even better. But even of itself, this was ve

This play follows the sad fortunes of Agatha, who is forced to beg on the street. Her son, Frederick, returns from the army, and she confesses to her son that he is illegitimate. He vows to find his true father, the Baron Wildenhaim. Agatha is taken ill, and some kindly cottagers welcome her into th

A thoroughly enjoyable read - and very illuminating for rereading Mansfield Park too.

"I think love comes just as it pleases, without being asked."

Read this exclusively because it was in Mansfield Park. The verdict: not bad!

I wasn't able to abscond with a sexy Shakespeare-quoting rake as a result of reading this play, and although this may be due to the lack of green baize curtains, I thus can only give it three stars.

One of the tests of Jane Austen fan seriousness is whether you seek out and read Lovers’ Vows, the play enacted in Mansfield Park. For one thing, MP is one of Austen’s least-loved novels; for another, who reads eighteenth-century drama anymore? I resisted for many years, but my Jane Austen reading g

This could have been a great drama / genuine redemption story, if the author had not tried to make it a comedy and give us such a forced ending.

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