Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Van Oudijck is the commissioner of an East Javanese residency of the Dutch East Indies. Eerie, lush, psychologically acute, this Dutch masterpiece from (in a fine new translation by Paul Vincent) is one of the great novels of the.

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We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. Couperus began his literary career with the novel Eline Vere which is set in The Hague.

In fact The Hidden Force is haunted by a force which is even more hidden. Louis Couperus may be the greatest Dutch novelist in history, but during his lifetime, he was always an outsider. Teixeira de Mattos’ translation revised and updated by Beekman — who notes: Couperus was married to his cousin, who helped him with his work and kept him company on his trips, but his work is full of undisguised homosexual emotions, especially in his novels that are set in Antiquity, like the madly decadent The mountain of light and The comedians She is frustrated by her husband’s focus on his work, but unlike most doesn’t go in for the easy affair she could have she, too, has a devoted admirerand instead tries to make the best of life here, putting on entertainments and the like.

The hidden force is not only one of the great masterpieces of Dutch literature, it is a world-class book with which Couperus proves he can effortlessly stand next to great contemporaries such as Emile Zola and Marcel Proust.

the hidden force

Addy did not seem to possess a modicum of intellect or imagination, and was incapable of uniting two ideas into one composite thought. Faced with their direct surroundings people only understand random scraps of an intangible whole, what they call life is nothing but a ripple in the pond of the world.

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Indeed, Van Oudijck lives in blissful or willful ignorance of most of what is going on in his household: As a backdrop to his dramatic story about the demise of commissioner Van Oudijck, he quite literally used his own direct environment, the small community of Dutchmen in a far corner of the colony, but in the novel, that stuffy world acquires a deep, existential resonance that is present throughout his work: Details De stille kracht Please give your input here.

Otto van Oudijck governs his province with vigour. The other main character is Eva, the wife of the residency’s secretary.

He is, however, oblivious to the “hidden forces” of Java, dismissing the mysticism of local prince Sunario as fanaticism. The lives of seemingly placid people in The Hague are marked torce volcanic passions.

The Hidden Force (Louis Couperus) – book review

This could be a problem for rationalist modern readers, but nothing too critical rests on these phenomena, which though not explicable remain largely isolated. In his series of novels The books of small soulsa highlight in his oeuvre, he describes how a hdiden family from The Hague falls apart; the kouis, nineteenth-century certainties do not suffice anymore.

The downfall of Otto van Oudijck makes us painfully aware of the impossibility to fully understand others. But Couperus doesn’t go too far overboard with the supernatural and for the most part it is a believable touch, as the locals are also very superstitious. Despite some oddities, it seems quite adequate in this revised form. The East Indies of his youth symbolize an overwhelming nature in which the fearful forcs becomes a stranger to himself.

He merely felt, with that vague good nature that had settled on the entire family.

The Hidden Force: A Story of Modern Java by Louis Couperus

And, indeed, The Hidden Force is a story about the futility coupedus cost of colonialism. The hidden force De stille kracht is a visionary novel that places western culture opposite eastern culture as being irreconcilable. He produced novels and stories at a surprisingly fast pace and created a completely new world each and every time, sometimes naturalistic, sometimes historical or symbolic.


Couperus winds things up rather quickly and a bit awkwardly, as the characters disperse, with some too quickly out of mind and sight Theo, for example. The hidden force is generally regarded as a poetic and mental power.

Louis Couperus spent much of his younger life in fprce Dutch East Indies modern Indonesiacouperud many of his novels and stories are set either here, or in The Hague where he was born, though his work also contains impressions of Italy, Africa and China, the fruits of his tireless….

Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Otto van Oudijck experiences this personally.

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He slowly loses all of his certainties and all he holds dear. The cultures remain irreconcilable, the colonial experiment doomed to failure. The hidden force is an enthralling story about the misunderstandings and incomprehension between cultures, as well as between close relatives.

Couperus does occasionally get carried away, and a few of the ideas stray thf bit too far, but his rich characterisation and the clever way he goes at presenting colonial degeneracy make The Hidden Force well worthwhile. He does have a weakness of sorts: It makes him blind and deaf to the needs of his family. He decisively governs his district on Java.