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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

Today this play is most famous for being put on in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park.It is about a women named Agatha who was seduced by the future baron of the village and he didn't marry her and it's many years later and the child they had is grown,the baron married someone and she died and he...more

This play, first published a couple of hundred years ago, raises some interesting moral questions, but is really only known today for being the play that they plan to act out in Mansfield Park. And that's the only reason why I read it! It was neat to see the real story behind Agatha and Amelia an...more

This is the "scandalous" play that is practiced in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. It's hardly scandalous to modern-day audiences, but I can see how at the time it would raise some eyebrows, especially in the context of people acting it out, not just going to see it.

Now that I have read this, I fee...more

Sir Thomas having just arrived home, I took a break from Miss Austen's most underappreciated novel to listen to the play with the play. I discovered it to be a really quite amusing little melodrama. And the inmates of Mansfield Park could hardly have accomplished a worse performance than this Lib...more

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 Austens least-loved novels; for another, who reads eighteenth-century drama anymore? I resisted for many years, but my Jane Austen reading...more

I would absolutely love to design and direct a stage rendition of this. The costumes, the German pastoral scenery, the melodramatic plot - everything here appealed to me. A truly enjoyable play.

A short play, adapted from Kotzebue by Mrs. Inchbald, who explains in a preface that she worked from a literal translation from the German, modifying it for the English stage.

Of course, it is worth reading, if only to understand what the characters in MANSFIELD PARK are on about:

"... Simplicity,...more

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.

This 1798 adaptation by Elizabeth Inchbald of the German play Das Kind der Liebe by August von Kotzebue was a surprisingly quick and easy read. The play, about an unwed mother and her illegitimate son, is in some aspects a typical melodrama but the morality advocated isn't of the Victorian variet...more

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