Adelheit von Rastenberg: The Original German Text

  • Author: Eleonore Thon
  • Editor: Karin A. Wurst
  • Pages: xxxviii & 74 pp.
  • Published: 1996
  • ISBN: 9780873527811 (Paperback)
Adelheit von Rastenberg: The Original German Text Cover
Paperback ($6.95)

When the knight Adelbert leaves his beloved Adelheit for the Crusades, her father arranges for her to marry the rich and powerful Robert von Rastenberg, whom she does not love. Several years later, while strolling through the forest, Adelheit encounters her former lover, who has returned to persuade her to run off with him. Torn between her love for Adelbert and her honor and duty as wife, Adelheit chooses to remain with Robert, but her manipulative stepson, Franz, hungry for his father’s love and his inheritance, conspires to trick Adelheit into fleeing—and precipitates a series of events that end in tragedy.

Purporting to chronicle historical events, Eleonore Thon’s play reveals more about the changing roles of women at the dawn of the Industrial Age than it does about knightly conduct in the German Middle Ages. Published in 1788 and translated here for the first time in English, Adelheit von Rastenberg will be of interest to students of German literature, comparative literature, women’s studies, and theater.

Eleonore Thon (1753–1807) was a member of an impoverished noble family and the daughter of August Friedrich Rˆder, private secretary at the ducal court in Weimar. She wrote three novels, including the widely read Julie von Hirtenthal (1780–83), and many poems, translations, and essays. Adelheit von Rastenberg is her only known play.