Cornelius von Baerle lives only to cultivate the elusive black tulip and win a magnificent prize for its creation. But when his powerful godfather is assassinated, the unwitting Cornelius becomes caught up in a deadly political intrigue. Falsely accused of high treason by a bitter rival, Cornelius is condemned to life in prison. His only comfort is Rosa, the jailer's beautiful daughter, who helps him concoct a plan to grow the black tulip in secret. As Robin Buss explains in his informative introduction, Dumas infuses his story with elements from the history of the Dutch Republic (including two brutal murders) and Holland's seventeenth-century "tulipmania" phenomenon.
About the Author
Best known as the author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas (1802–70) wrote travel books and children's stories as well as popular historical novels. He ranks among France's most widely read authors, and his works have been translated into nearly 100 languages.
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The Black Tulip
By Alexandre Dumas
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 2017 Alexandre Dumas
All rights reserved.
A GRATEFUL PEOPLE
On the 20th of August, 1672, the city of The Hague, so lively, so clean, and so smart that one would have thought every day was a Sunday; the city of The Hague, with its shady park, its tall trees overhanging its Gothic houses, and its broad, mirrorlike canals reflecting the almost Oriental cupolas of its bell-towers; the city of The Hague, the capital of the Seven United Provinces, was flooded in all its main thoroughfares by a black and red stream of eager, panting, and excited citizens, who, with knives at their girdles, muskets on their shoulders, or sticks in their hands, were hurrying towards the Buitenhof, a formidable prison, the barred windows of which may still be seen, where, upon a charge of attempted murder brought against him by the surgeon Tychelaer, Cornelius de Witt, brother of the ex-Grand Pensionary of Holland, was lying confined.
If the history of the period, and especially of the year, in which we begin our story were not indissolubly connected with the two names which we have last mentioned, the few explanatory lines which we are about to insert might appear superfluous; but we must explain at the outset to the reader — that old friend whom we always on our first page promise to please, and with whom in the pages that follow we keep our word, more or less — we must explain, we say, to the reader that this introduction is as necessary for the clearness of our story as it is for a proper understanding of the great political events with which the story is interwoven.
Cornelius, or Cornelis, de Witt, Ruart de Pulten, that is to say, Inspector of the Dikes, of his country, ex-burgomaster of his native town of Dort, and deputy in the Assembly of the States of Holland, was forty-nine years of age when the people of Holland, tired of the Republic as it was understood by John de Witt, the Grand Pensionary, were suddenly seized with a violent desire for the Stadtholderate, which the Perpetual Edict, forced by John de Witt on the United Provinces, had abolished utterly and forever in Holland.
Public opinion, in its capricious variations, almost always identifies a principle with a man; and accordingly, behind the Republic the people saw the two stern figures of the brothers De Witt, those Romans of Holland, who would not condescend to flatter the national whims, but acted as inflexible supporters of liberty without license and prosperity without luxury. Similarly, the Stadtholderate was represented in their minds by the grave, serious, and thoughtful countenance of the young William of Orange, to whom his contemporaries had given the surname of "the Silent," a name adopted by posterity.
The two De Witts tried to keep on terms with Louis XIV, for they recognised that his moral influence throughout Europe was increasing, and they had recently had experience of his physical superiority in Holland during the marvellous and successful campaign of the Rhine (a campaign sung of by Boileau and made illustrious by the romantic hero known as the Comte de Guiche), which in three months had utterly overthrown the power of the United Provinces.
Louis XIV had long been the enemy of the Dutch, who insulted or ridiculed him to their heart's content, nearly always, it must be admitted, through the instrumentality of French refugees in Holland. The national pride regarded him as the Mithridates of the Republic. Thus the brothers De Witt had to contend with a twofold movement, due partly to the vigorous resistance offered to an authority fighting against the desires of the people, and partly to the weariness which comes naturally to all conquered races when they are hoping that a new leader will be able to save them from ruin and disgrace.
This new leader, quite ready to come forward and measure his strength against that of Louis XIV, gigantic as the power of the latter appeared likely to become in the future, was William, Prince of Orange, son of William II, and grandson, through Henrietta Stuart, of King Charles I of England. In the eyes of the Dutch, this silent youth represented, as we have said, the Stadtholderate. In 1672 William was twenty-two years of age. John de Witt had been his tutor, and had brought him up with a view to making this former prince into a good citizen. His love for his country had prevailed over his love for his pupil, and by the Perpetual Edict he had deprived the young man of all hope of becoming Stadtholder. But God had smiled at the human presumption which thinks to make and unmake earthly potentates without regard to the designs of the King of Heaven; and, by means of the fickleness of the Dutch and the terror inspired by Louis XIV, had overthrown the political schemes of the Grand Pensionary and abolished the Perpetual Edict, re-establishing instead the stadtholdership in the person of William of Orange, with regard to whom He had his own designs, hidden as yet amid the deep mysteries of the future.
The Grand Pensionary bowed to the will of his fellow-citizens; but Cornelius de Witt was less yielding, and in spite of threats of death from the Orangeist mob, which besieged him in his house at Dort, he had refused to sign the act which re-established the Stadtholderate.
The tears of his wife finally induced him to sign, but he added to his name the two letters V. C., vi coactus, that is to say, constrained by force.
On that day it was only by a miracle that he escaped from the assaults of his foes.
John de Witt's more rapid and easy submission to the will of his fellow-citizens brought him little or no advantage. A few days later an attempt was made to assassinate him. Stabbed in several places, he barely escaped death.
This was not at all what the Orangeists wanted. The existence of the two brothers was a perpetual obstacle to their projects. They therefore changed their tactics for a moment, and while leaving themselves free to crown at any opportunity the second crime by the first, they attempted to bring about by calumny what they had not been able to achieve by the dagger.
It is but seldom that at a given moment there is found under the hand of God, a great man ready to execute a great action, and that is why, when the providential combination does occur, history both records the name of the chosen hero and, at the same time, holds him up to the admiration of posterity.
But when the devil interferes in human affairs to ruin a life or overthrow a state, it is seldom indeed that he does not find ready to hand some wretched being, into whose ear he has but to whisper a word in order to set him immediately to work as he desires.
The scoundrel who, in the present case, was ready to be the agent of the evil spirit was a surgeon, and his name, as we think we have already mentioned, was Tychelaer.
He lodged an information that Cornelius de Witt, furious, as the letters added to his signature proved, at the revocation of the Perpetual Edict, and urged on by hatred of William of Orange, had commissioned an assassin to deliver the Republic from the new stadtholder, and that this assassin was himself, Tychelaer; but that, stung by remorse at the bare idea of the deed which he had been asked to commit, he had preferred to reveal the crime rather than to commit it.
One can easily imagine the outburst which the report of this plot provoked among the Orangeists. The Public Prosecutor, on the 16th of August, 1672, caused Cornelius to be arrested in his own house, and the Ruart de Pulten, the noble brother of John de Witt, underwent in one of the halls of the Buitenhof the preliminary torture designed to drag from him, as from one of the vilest criminals, a confession of his pretended plot against William.
But Cornelius had not only a great mind, but also a great heart. He belonged to that company of martyrs, who, sustained by political, as others have been by religious, faith, laugh at the pains inflicted on them. During the tortures he recited in a firm voice, and scanning the lines according to their metre, the first verse of Horace's Justum et tenacem. He confessed nothing, and wore out not merely the physical strength of his executioners, but even their fanaticism.
The judges, nevertheless, dismissed Tychelaer without saying anything against him, while they passed sentence on Cornelius, depriving him of all his offices and dignities; and further condemned him to pay the costs of the proceedings, and banished him forever from the territories of the Republic.
To the populace, whose interests Cornelius had always devotedly served, this sentence passed upon one who was not only an innocent man, but also a great patriot, was indeed a certain satisfaction. But, as we shall see, it was not enough.
The Athenians, who have left a bad enough reputation for ingratitude, were surpassed in this quality by the Dutch. They contented themselves with banishing Aristides.
John de Witt, at the first rumour of the charge brought against his brother, had resigned his position of Grand Pensionary. He, also, was fittingly rewarded for his devotion to his country. He carried with him into private life his cares and his wounds, the only return that honest men, as a rule, receive for having laboured for their country without thinking of themselves.
During this time William of Orange, not without using every means in his power to hasten the event which he desired, was waiting until the populace, whose idol he was, should make of the bodies of the two brothers the two steps which he needed to enable him to reach the stadtholdership.
On the 20th of August, then, 1672, the whole town, as we said at the commencement of this chapter, was hastening towards the Buitenhof, to watch Cornelius de Witt leave his prison on his way into exile, and to see the traces left by the torture on the body of this great man, who knew his Horace so well.
It must not be supposed, however, that all the multitude which was hastening to the Buitenhof was doing so merely with the innocent intention of enjoying a spectacle. Many of the crowd were anxious to play an active part in it, or rather to do over again something which they considered had not been properly carried out — that is to say, the work of the executioner.
There were others, it is true, who went with less hostile intentions. All they were concerned about was a spectacle, always pleasant to the feelings and flattering to the pride of a mob, that, namely, of the overthrow of one who has long held a high position.
"Is not this fearless Cornelius de Witt," they asked, "now under lock and key, and broken down by torture? Shall we not see him, pale, bleeding, and disgraced? Was not this a great triumph for the burghers, whose jealousy was much stronger than that of the common people, and should not every good burgher of The Hague take his share in it?"
"And then," said the Orangeist agitators, skilfully mingling with the crowd which they intended to make use of as an instrument, keen-edged, and at the same time crushing, "shall we not find between the Buitenhof and the town-gate some small chance of throwing a little mud, or even a few stones, at this inspector of dykes, who not only refused the stadtholdership to the Prince of Orange until vi coactus, but also wished to have him assassinated?"
"To say nothing of the fact," added the fanatical enemies of France, "that if things are only well and boldly done at The Hague, Cornelius de Witt will never be allowed to go into exile, where, once free again, he will renew all his intrigues with France and live with his scoundrel of a brother on the gold of the Marquis of Louvois."
Animated by such sentiments, spectators usually run rather than walk, and this is why the inhabitants of The Hague hurried so fast towards the Buitenhof.
In the midst of those who advanced most eagerly, with rage in his heart and no settled plan in his mind, the honest Tychelaer hurried onward, paraded by the Orangeists as a hero of probity, of national honour, and of Christian charity.
This fine scoundrel related, with all the embellishments which his imagination could conjure up, the attempts which Cornelius de Witt had made to corrupt him, the sums which he had promised him, and the infernal machinations by which he had endeavoured to remove beforehand all the difficulties which he, Tychelaer, might meet with in carrying out the assassination.
And each sentence that he uttered, eagerly listened to by the mob, roused enthusiastic shouts in favour of Prince William, and cries of blind rage against the brothers De Witt.
The populace even went so far as to curse the iniquitous judges whose sentence had allowed such an abominable criminal as this Cornelius to escape with life and limb.
Some of the agitators kept muttering:
"He will get away! he will escape from us!"
"A vessel awaits him at Scheveningen, a French vessel. Tychelaer has seen it."
"Brave Tychelaer! Honest Tychelaer!" shouted the mob in chorus. "Don't forget either," added a voice, "that while Cornelius is flying in this way, John, who is just as much a traitor as his brother, will also escape."
"And the two rascals will squander our money in France, money got by selling our ships and arsenals and dockyards to Louis XIV."
"Don't let them go at all!" cried a patriot, more extreme than the rest.
And amid these cries, the burghers, cocking their muskets and brandishing their axes, began, with fury in their eyes, to run still faster towards the Buitenhof.
Still no violence had as yet been done, and the body of horsemen who were guarding the approaches to the Buitenhof remained cool, impassible, silent, more awe-inspiring by their very calmness than the whole crowd of burghers with their shouts, their excitement, and their threats. They sat motionless under the eye of their chief, the captain of the mounted troops of The Hague, who held his sword drawn but lowered, and with its point against the corner of his stirrup.
This troop, the sole defence of the prison, kept in check by its attitude not only the disorderly and shouting masses of the populace, but also the detachment of the town-guard, which, though placed in front of the Buitenhof to share with the horsemen the duty of keeping order, encouraged the seditious rioters by constantly shouting:
"Hurrah for Orange! Down with the traitors!"
The presence of Tilly and his horsemen was, it is true, a salutary check on all these civic soldiers, but in a short time their own shouting excited the town-guard more and more, and as they did not understand that it is possible to be brave without shouting, they attributed the silence of the horsemen to cowardice, and began to move towards the prison, drawing the whole disorderly mob after them.
But at this point the Count de Tilly advanced alone to meet them, and raising his sword, said, with a frown:
"Now, gentlemen of the town-guard, why are you moving, and what do you want?"
The burghers waved their muskets and continued their shouts of "Hurrah for Orange! Death to the traitors!"
"'Hurrah for Orange!' certainly," said De Tilly, "although, as a matter of fact, I prefer pleasant faces to gloomy ones. 'Death to the traitors! 'if you like, provided you don't go beyond wishing it in words only. Shout as much as you please 'Death to the traitors!' but as for actually putting them to death, I am here to prevent that, and I will prevent it." Then, turning towards his men, he cried:
"Soldiers, make ready!"
The soldiers obeyed their commander's order with a precision and calmness which caused an immediate retreat of the burghers and the populace, a retreat accompanied by so much confusion that the officer laughed.
"There! there!" said he in that bantering tone which is peculiar to military men, "don't be alarmed, citizens; my men will not fire a shot, but you on your side will not advance a step towards the prison."
"Let me tell you, sir, that we have muskets," shouted the leader of the burghers, angrily.
"I see well enough that you have muskets," replied Tilly, "you make them flash so under my eyes, but take notice on your side, too, that we have pistols, and pistols carry admirably at fifty yards and you are only twenty-five yards off."
"Death to the traitors!" shouted the furious burghers.
"Bah! you always say the same thing," growled the officer; "it becomes wearisome."
And he resumed his post at the head of the troop, while the tumult continued to rage more and more furiously round the Buitenhof. And yet the enraged populace were unaware that, at the very moment when they were so keenly on the scent of one of their victims, the other, as though hastening to meet his fate, was passing at only a hundred yards' distance, behind the crowd and the horsemen, on his way to the Buitenhof.
John de Witt had in fact just got down, with one servant, from his carriage, and was quietly walking across the fore-court of the prison.
Excerpted from The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas. Copyright © 2017 Alexandre Dumas. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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Table of Contents
I. A Grateful People
II. The Two Brothers
III. The Pupil of John de Witt
IV. The Murderers
V. The Amateur Tulip-Grower and his Neighbor
VI. A Tulip-Fancier's Hatred
VII. The Happy Man Becomes Acquainted with Misfortune
VIII. An Incursion
IX. The Family Cell
X. The Jailer's Daughter
XI. The Will of Cornelius van Baerle
XII. The Execution
XIII. The Thoughts of One of the Spectators During the Last Scene
XIV. The Pigeons of Dort
XV. The Wicket in the Cell Door
XVI. Master and Scholar
XVII. The First Bulb
XVIII. Rosa's Lover
XIX. A Woman and a Flower
XX. What had Happened During the Eight Days
XXI. The Second Bulb
XXII. The Opening of the Flower
XXIII. The Jealous Man
XXIV. In which the Black Tulip Changes its Master
XXV. President Van Systens
XXVI. A Member of the Horticultural Society
XXVII. The Third Bulb
XXVIII. The Song of the Flowers
XXIX. In which Van Baerle, before quitting Louvestein, Settles his Accounts with Gryphus
XXX. In which One Begins to Suspect what Kind of Punishment was Reserved for Cornelius Van Baerle
XXXII. A Last Prayer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Never having read Dumas prior to this, I was pleasantly surprised by the cheeky tone to the book. Amidst the general upbeat feel to the book, however, were a number of profound statements about human nature that made me stop and appreciate the truth for a moment, before continuing to read on.
this was captivating and exciting. not to mention romantic. I couln't put this down. it took a time of tulipmania and made me wish that I could have witnessed it firsthand. Dumas was truely gifted.
Similar premise to my favorite book 'The Count of Monte Cristo', 'The Black Tulip' delivers a story of Murder, Envy, Love, and Triumph without disappointment. Halfway through the book I found myself staying up till 4:30 in the morning not able to put it down until I knew how it ended!
The more works of Dumas you read,the more you will recognize his genius. Dumas is the king of suspense in the world of victorian lit. This book and the rest of Dumas's works show his ability to captivate a reader and present a story throgh excitement and suspense. His characters are developed and represent heros of actions and situations. This is a good read. this book is complex enough to be entertaining to and advanced reader yet simple enough for the novice. Another example of French Literatures strong points.
I first read 'The Count of Monte Cristo' and then a friend gave me 'The Black Tulip'. Once I got started, I could not put the book down. It's an intriguing story with fascinating characters which will draw you in from the start.
Who would have thought that a book, with a simple plot about two rivals trying racing to be the first to grow a black tulip, could be so unputdownable? There are no lords and ladies, no swashbuckling heros, no evil cardinals or Miladys -- nothing but a darn good yarn, and a very sweet love story. Dumas is just brilliant (as always) and his dialogue (as always) is among the finest I've ever come across. A very quick, albeit enjoyable, read. Highly recommended.
Two main chracter race to bloom the bluck tulip.A person who bloom the bluck tulip can recieve a lot of money.And this story contains a facter of love story.But the ending of this story was so called"Justice doesn't always win."
Great story, it reminded me very much of the Count of Monte Cristo. However...A wrongfully persecuted man sent to prison chooses the path of love instead of revenge...The book showed you the extremes of humanity such as kindness and utter evil.
There are many character.Cornelius Van Baerle, who is a rich and handsome man.He grow a black tulip.I had a deep fear. Because he was arrested!!And I think De Witt brothers are most poor.They are innocence. Only, they are friends of the French king. But, for the reasons, they are killed by people.The story can obtain the tension.I like this story.
The Black Tulip is a story of politics, brutality, greed, jealousy, horticulture, and young love. Cornelius van Baerle, a wealthy young man whose life is absorbed by his passion for tulips, has the misfortune to be caught up in the political events that led to the violent death of his godfather, Cornelius De Witt, in 1672. The young Cornelius's imprisonment interrupts his cultivation of a rare black tulip, worth 100,000 guilders to the first person who succeeds in producing one. With the help of his jailer's young daughter, Rosa, Cornelius secretly continues his tulip experiment and, in the process, falls in love with his young assistant. Will the young lovers succeed against all odds, or are both the experiment and their love doomed to fail?More than anything, this story reminded me of the biblical book of Esther, with the young Cornelius in the role of Mordecai, Rosa in the role of Esther, William, Prince of Orange in the role of King Ahasuerus, and Cornelius's envious and bitter neighbor, Isaac Boxtel, as Haman. My suspense grew as I hoped the story would end as happily as the book of Esther, but feared that it would not.I listened to the audio version of this book while I was on the road. It turned out to be well suited for listening while driving. Since the book originally appeared serially, the beginning of each chapter briefly summarized the events of the preceding chapter. When characters from earlier chapters reappeared several chapters later, the author included brief reminders of what the characters were doing when they last appeared in the story. I miss the occasional passage when road conditions require intense concentration, so I appreciated the brief reminders of characters and events interspersed throughout the story. Had I read the book instead of listening to it, I might have viewed those same features as interrupting the flow of the story.Recommended for readers of historical fiction, classics, and gardening enthusiasts.
I like this story. there are a lot of scene I could sympathize. This not only be a love story but also excited me. It was interesting to be think about boyh yhe whereabouts of the black tulip and the whereabouts of love.
Who would have thought that a book about growing tulips could be so exciting? And yet Alexandre Dumas managed to write a compelling page turner based on that very subject. Dumas became one of my favourite authors a few years ago when I read The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers but I had not read any of his lesser-known works until now. I regret not reading The Black Tulip sooner because I enjoyed it almost as much as the two books I've just mentioned. The book is set in seventeenth century Holland and begins with the violent murders of John and Cornelius De Witt, suspected of conspiring against the young Stadtholder, William of Orange. Our hero is the fictional godson of Cornelius De Witt, who is also called Cornelius. Cornelius Van Baerle is a keen tulip-fancier whose biggest goal in life is to produce the world's first black tulip. However, Van Baerle is not the only tulip-grower in the race for the Grand Black Tulip ¿ and his rival Isaac Boxtel will stop at nothing to get there first!The first few chapters put the novel in historical context and will be slightly challenging to anyone like myself, who doesn't have much knowledge of Dutch history, but if you read carefully and refer to the notes it's easy enough to follow. As soon as Dumas finishes setting the scene, the story explodes into action and never stops until the final page, taking us on a journey through the full range of human emotions ¿ love, hatred, greed, loyalty, jealousy and obsession. Rosa, the only female character in the book, is a jailer's daughter who falls in love with Cornelius and finds herself having to compete with the tulip for his affections. Despite making a few remarks of the "I am but a woman" variety she is otherwise a strong and quick-thinking character who does what she knows is right, even if it means going against the wishes of Cornelius or her father. The starring role in the story, though, goes to the elusive black tulip itself.As you might have guessed, I really loved this book. If you enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo there's a good chance that you'll like this one too, as it's very similar in writing style, pace and even several plot elements. It could almost be described as a shorter, less epic, less complex version of The Count. Highly recommended.
I would recommend buying this book *now* while it's still free. It would certainly be worth the $1.99 list price, but free is even better. If you've read any of Dumas' other novels you'll probably like this one. It begins rather slowly and without drama but the intensity quickly builds as does the intrigue and violence. Writing reviews about mysteries is challenging because I don't want to give too much away but I do want to encourage fans of Dumas' other works, Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, and those who just enjoy period literature to read this book because it really is a good one. The characters are lively and there is even a strong secondary female character. Dumas' writing, while not overly emotional in and of itself, definitely provokes emotion in defense of his strong characters. The villian is repulsive and unlikeable while the soon to be identified hero is awkwardly charming and by turns wiley. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but in the spirit of full disclosure I was an English major that primarily dealt with British literature so perhaps that's why I enjoyed this book so much. For non-English majors this book might be too stilted or old timey but for anyone who enjoys mysteries, suspense, or gardening this book is a great freebie to download.
this is my favorite book that I've read as an adult. Taking place in Holland during "tulipmania", it is a captivating story about a young aristocrat who's only love in life is growing tulips and chasing the elusive Black Tulip. When he is thrown in prison he is befriended by the jailer's daughter. This story is suspenseful and beautifully written. The drama and excitement is difficult to turn away from until you've finished reading entire thing. The first chapter is a little dry but I still LOVE LOVE LOVE this book and would encourage anyone to read it!
Up till now I'd only ever read Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo," which is a wonderful story. We're going on vacation in the Netherlands in May to see the tulips, so casting around for fitting books to read in preparation I came across this one. It's just delightful. It's so refreshingly and straightforwardly a good story: good guys and bad guys, some unexpected changes in character along the way, a vivid setting, a quirky passion, bold symbols, and a little philosophy. It includes one of the most charming and comical cases of the male's conflict between love of the female and love of his projects. (My mom always like to say: "Women have men. Men have projects. Sometimes the woman is the project.") The heroine Rosa recognizes the power of the project (the black tulip) and it perhaps one of the most brilliant moves to reconcile men and women dubs the black tulip their "daughter," and sets the hero Cornelius finally in the right frame of mind about the relative importance of Rosa and his tulip.
Y'all I am an Alexandre Dumas fan girl. If I could resurrect him and make him be my writer boyfriend, I totally would (sorry boo!). Last summer I read the unabridged Count of Monte Cristo translated by Robin Buss* over a period of two weeks. I am a generally fast reader, especially when I have few work hours, however, I really wanted to savor the experience. Dumas is a high calibre writer, his stories are swashbuckling, exciting, and often tinged with romance. Basically it has everything I could ask for out of a book.The Black Tulip begins with political strife. Two brothers in Holland are murdered by the people because of their correspondance with this French guy. How nutty. The crazy definitely hooked me. We then go on to meet Cornelius who is the godson of one of the brothers. He's in his 20s, he's rich and obsessed with tulips. Yes, that's right, flowers. I guess in the 1670s flowers were all the rage, kind of like yachts for rich people. People were just mad about tulips in Holland. Jealousy leads to some CoMC-esque actions, oh hai Albert nice to see you here. However, this book departs from the CoMC formula. Friends, I was enraptured. Although this book did not have the girth of CoMC, it has that compulsive readability where I absolutely needed to know what would happen. Often, Dumas would make asides to the reader, which I love, love love because it really felt as though there was someone sitting there telling a story to me.There is a female lead, Rosa, who exhibits courage and a cool head. She's the one who tells her father and Cornelius exactly what they need to do to be safe. However, she's also given the attribute of purity, which I feel must have been a pre-requisite of her time. Seeing as how she is smart and hot and her milkshake brings the boys to the yard, she needs to be pure too.One thing I picked up on was socioeconomic status -- it seems like the poor were portrayed as ignorant, bloodthirsty nuts. I feel the message I come across in Dumas's books is that only through money are people happy. Now, I've only read two Dumas books, so this is definitely a leap to conclusions, but I think Dumas tends to portray the wealthy as having more virtue than the poor. Granted, yes he inserts some rude wealthy people. The poor virtous person is often rewarded for their virtue with vast amounts of money. Perhaps this was normal for literature of the time, but I'm no expert on classics, so I can't say that for certain.The Black Tulip made me want to abandon my reading commitments and kick back with the rest of Dumas's catalouge. Alas, that is not in my stars for awhile.
Very entertaining. The way Dumas weaves his story plots never fails me. He is so intelligent and so are his heroes in his books. At first I was drawn to the title of the book because tulips are my favorite kind of flowers.This book is a short read yet you don't feel the story development is rushed. It has everything, suspense, romance, humor, etc. Characters are very well developed and I actually really am very fond of Gryphus character because he is very funny, haha!
Very entertaining and rather more accessible than many of Dumas's other works, though showing some of the same degree of obsession. Set in seventeenth century Holland it details the travails of Cornelius de Baerle, an innocent horticulturist from Dordrecht who dreams of breeding the first pure black tulip. Inadvertently caught up in the political rivalries of the time he finds himself imprisoned while a neighbour seeks to steal his black tulip and claim it as his own. His only source of hope and assistance is Rosa, daughter of his prison guard (and far too good for him).
Major themes include family relationships and botany most obviously, combined with a manipulative malcontent and the strength of the underdog, economical and political.I'm so glad I picked this up, mentioned somewhere on the BBC Books board a few weeks ago. The best character has to be the baddie Boxtel. He's brilliant! Complete cartoon character. And as the writing is almost like the unfolding of a fairytale, complete with some very avuncular observations by Dumas, it's hard to shake the cartoon imagery from your mind (might have been easier in 1850 of course!).There is much darkness in the novel too, not least in the title of course. There is the violent martyrdom of the (real) de Witts, the Canetti-style mob, the cloak-and-dagger of politics and royal ambition (or is that ultimately patriotism...?), abject violence (much of which is softened by the cartoon-style of story-telling), a drunken abusive father, Dumas' own use of irony to express something dark in a light, almost flippant, aside, and much more that will keep coming back to me over the course of today I'm sure.Out of this darkness rise two flowers, the black tulip and Rosa, the gaoler's Frisian daughter. Her father is like the porter in Auto da Fe (more Canetti!), we have godfathers, tutors, nurses and brothers, and even where relationships do not exist, Dumas likens Rosa (and tulip too) to mother here, daughter there, sister somewhere else, and 'Sire's and 'My child's crop up in poignant places throughout the dialogue. And, as a book of two parts, out of the darkness of the first, where pale Prince William is skulking around signifying doom, blooms the light of the second, where the dark tulip is the focus amongst all the other flowers of Holland, signifying hope.In its fairytale way the whole book is neat, a neat story with some neat twists, and God in his neat place, and then cluttering the thing up delightfully are often incongruous references to Dutch paintings, to myths of Greece and Rome, to the Bible and snippets of history. There's something liberatingly, childishly slapdash about some of the inaccuracies too; about Dumas' mistaking a Juvenal quote for a Horace, bestowing Medusa's snakes on someone else (Envy), or mixing his monarchs' epithets, and bounding all the way to the publishers without bothering to check.The wicked Boxtel himself (with whom it IS possible to feel some sympathy for if you've ever felt the guilt of jealousy) bears the two names Isaac and Jacob, which would probably be changed for the Disney version.The focus on the flower is reminiscent of the focus of Harris' chocolate or The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Rosa could have stepped out of Dickens, the President of the Horticultural Society is a cartoon butler-meets-town-mayor - there are so many superb cameo parts. AND, thanks to LM pointing out Dumas quarter-African status from his grandmother, it does make me wonder if either consciously or subconsciously she and her role in his family's life aren't partly being paid tribute here.And guess what, as in Seth's Equal Music, there is a dog who knows: the greyhound sitting at the feet of King William in the Dumas (p.214), the dog in Vittore Carpaccio's painting of St Jerome and St Augustine at the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni in Venice in the Seth (p.358).
She wimpers, retreating back into the bushes.
Note to BN: Most of the reviews here are actually kids and their fantasy world. I got tired of filing reports and flags about 30 in.......
Wide-eyed, scared stiff. Curled in a closet with his friends. Footsteps, frantic yells. Gunshots ringing through the air. Screams, it seems to be a living he//. Whisper me the truth. Am l going to live? Why are they dead? Is the bad man gonna get me? Is the bad man gonna get me? Whisper me the truth. The worst is yet to come. Shots are fired. The little girl knowing with each one she lost a friend. Her brother. Dead. Her teacher. Dead. Is there anyone left besides me? She says to herself; Whisper me the truth. Am l going to live? Why are they dead? Is the bad man gonna get me? Is the bad man gonna get me? Whisper me the truth. The worst is yet to come. Twenty futures were lost amist the bullets fired. Twenty smiles. Twenty little lives. A victim's four-year-old brother asked, "When is my sister gonna come home, Mommy?" The mom's answer, "She already is home. A better home." These children were each shot at least twice. And the shooter had enough bullets to kill everyone in the school. Six teachers lost their lives protecting their students. The children who were gunned down were only six and seven. Many of them already have presents under their trees that will never be opened. God bless the innocents whose futures were stolen.
Eats a fruit rollup
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BLANK POSTS?!???!