Louis Couperus’ Work

By many, Louis Couperus (1863-1923) is considered as one of the greatest writers that The Netherlands has produced. His work is now considered classic and it truly is a masterful picture of the fascinating world around 1900.


In his novels and stories, Louis Couoperus immortalized the stormy developments in the political, social, and cultural life of the fin de siècle. Couperus’ work is versatile and he is an author of many faces. His versatility is just as impressive as the scale of his work.

With an inexhaustible imagination, labor, and stylistic variety, he wrote psychological, mythological, and historical novels, stories, fairy tales, and poems. In his travelogues and serials, he also shows himself as a keen observant journalist.


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A Child With A Majestic Voice

P.F. Thomése on Louis Couperus

“No fighters but breakaways”…that’s what Couperus’ characters are in the eyes of P.F. Thomése. The gentleman who never let people overcome their weakness was, however, a naughty child dep inside who opposed dull, dull citizens. Playful and empathetic, he woke everyone alive, from perverse Romans to stiff Hague ladies.

The introduction of Thomése to Couperus’ work took place when his mother’s mother was taken to an elderly home and her books were delivered in large wooden crates at Thomése’s. There he found all sorts of writing, many unreadable for him, but what he dug out with pleasure were some old editions of Eline Vere, excerps from the books of little souls and, he believes, Psyche.

“My parents did quite scared about the first two books so they ended up in their bookcase. Frankly, I found the book covers more interesting than the contents because that caused some difficulty – I was sixteen.” (more…)

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A Look into Louis Couperus’ Writing Methods

Of course, scientific methods and beliefs come and go in the arts, but it remains the question if the published “full works” of Louis Couperus from about a decade ago can ever be improved. Apart from the quality of the edition, which seems to me to be difficult to surpass, probably no subsidy source would be even more abundant for such a costly edition, of which some-roughly forty of the fifty parts in principle are unsaleable.

But the project was completed: a prestigious accomplishment of the commercial world. In a sense, the silver monument for Couperus (and its readers) is itself a correction to an earlier edition which arose some fifty years ago. Already before the appearance of the twelve-part collected work, edited by Garmt Stuiveling, it became clear that that edition contained not that much quality.

Much of Couperus’ work (especially poetry, serials, and stories) was left out without clear reason; the chronology was tampered with; a good and deliberate (scientific) accountability was lacking; there was no variables research conducted and the spelling was adapted to then-prevailing rules.


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Does Louis Couperus still count in Dutch literature?

The three most heard prejudices about Louis Couperus

Is Louis Couperus (1863-1923) still relevant in Dutch literature? Are his books still being read? Of course. For years he has a prominent place in the official textbooks and literary histories. There is a flourishing society, a well-visited website, and a museum dedicated to the author. In Arabesken, the Journal of the Society, his work is extensively sniffed, turned inside out, analyzed, and commented on. In addition, his most famous novels are still reprinted with some regularity. Are there more Dutch writers of his generation for whom that counts?

Well, I would be inclined to answer that question with a resounding NO, though when I express my appreciation and love for the author., I sometimes come across an angry literary outer world. I can’t tell you how often I’m confronted with glassy glances thrown out when I drop the name of Louis Couperus.

Louis Couperus… ‘Isn’t that the writer who… ‘, and then a mostly cautious, but undisguised opinion is best given. All too often, these judgments prove to be based on a volatile and compulsory introduction to the author in a distant, school-past. Time to reply to these people and give them a second chance. ‘But Louis Couperus, that’s the writer who… ‘ Read on to learn all about the three most heard prejudices about Louis Couperus


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“Holland Marketing” – NBTC

NBTC Holland Marketing is the organization responsible for branding and marketing the Netherlands nationally and internationally. Using the ‘Holland’ brand, NBTC puts the Netherlands on the map as an attractive destination for holidays, business meetings and conferences.

Europe, America, and Asia

In total, the NBTC Foundation employs approximately 70 people, including 30 at offices and Holland Alliances in other countries. Together with Holland partners, NBTC cultivates the countries and regions that generate the most visitors and highest spending for the Netherlands. Based on this concept NBTC is active in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, North America, Japan, China, Russia, and Brazil.


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