"Surprisingly fresh and lively. It’s astounding how early Couperus foresaw the end of the Colonial period." - Süddeutsche Zeitung
The Hidden Forceby Louis Couperus
Set in Java at the height of Dutch colonial rule in the East Indies, Couperus’s evocative and sensual narrative depicts the clash between Western rationalism, represented by the district commissioner Otto van Oudijck, and ancient indigenous mystical traditions upheld by the local native prince, Sunario. The behaviour of Van Oudijck’s promiscuous wife
Set in Java at the height of Dutch colonial rule in the East Indies, Couperus’s evocative and sensual narrative depicts the clash between Western rationalism, represented by the district commissioner Otto van Oudijck, and ancient indigenous mystical traditions upheld by the local native prince, Sunario. The behaviour of Van Oudijck’s promiscuous wife Léonie proves to be his Achilles heel, and his seemingly impregnable authority disintegrates.
Pushkin Collection editions feature a spare, elegant series style and superior, durable components. The Collection is typeset in Monotype Baskerville, litho-printed on Munken Premium White Paper and notch-bound by the independently owned printer TJ International in Padstow. The covers, with French flaps, are printed on Colorplan Pristine White Paper. Both paper and cover board are acid-free and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
A major novel (written in 1900) by a great modern European writer virtually unknown to American readers. Its setting is the island of Java, and its protagonist a Dutch colonial official undone by his willful application of reason and pragmatism to a culture secure in its nonrational, mystical intimacy with nature and the spirit world. This is a tragedy of colonialism essentially contemporary with, and fully comparable to, the work of Joseph Conrad.
With the inexorable momentum and prophetic courage, Couperus probes the psychological and cultural causes of [protagonist] Van Oudijck's fall from presumed power and happiness against a fin-de-siècle background. Magic is but one theme in the novel, along with that of cultural estrangement and lovelessness in the sensuous but isolated world of the Indies.
A rare and unusual achievement.... Stark, haunting, and evocative, this eerie narrative time-travels back to another age, a darker dispensation.
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.36(d)
Meet the Author
Louis Couperus was born in The Hague in 1863. Couperus spent much of his youth in the Dutch East Indies and many of his novels and stories are set there. Couperus gained prominence in 1889 with the publication of Eline Vere—a psychological novel influenced by the style of Zola and Flaubert. Eline Vere was followed by Ecstasy in 1892, Psyche in 1898 and Inevitable in 1900; all available from Pushkin Press. A renowned wit, raconteur and commentator, Couperus continued to publish critically and commercially successful work until his death from blood poisoning in 1923.
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