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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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Behind the elegant facade of bourgeois civilization, there are emotions that are very human indeed: Supernatural elements have a prominent place in The Hidden Force: In particular, Van Oudijck’s psychological disintegration could as well be grounded in the breakup of his family as in his encounter with the inexplicable.

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. It is extraordinary that this Dutch dandy, writing in the flowery language of fin-de-siecle decadence, should still sound so fresh.

The Hidden Force

The East Indies of his youth symbolize an overwhelming nature in which the fearful person becomes a stranger to himself. He commits violence on ordinary syntax and idiom, and always appears to do so with an almost irritating nonchalance. He merely felt, with that vague good nature that had settled on the entire family.

Eva, too, leaves Labuwangi — her husband having been more simply broken, by overwork — and on her way home visits Van Oudijck, who has once lousi latched onto a woman and makes do as best he can — a fitting scene showing what their world has come to His life is dedicated completely to his mission: As a small boy, little Louis often had to walk to the Indian bathroom in the dark, which was far away from the house during colonial times.

Van Oudijck is a good administrator, handling some difficult situations well — yet even he is, by the end, a completely broken man. He decisively governs his district on Java. The downfall of Loui van Oudijck makes us painfully aware of the impossibility to fully understand others.

He is, however, oblivious to the “hidden forces” of Java, dismissing the mysticism of local prince Sunario as fanaticism. One hixden fate strikes ruthlessly. The powerful Dutch colonizer is unable to deal with the hidden force that is present in the background and is slowly causing damage. They suffer, they are bored, and while they can get together for a good cause the copuerus picture is one of growing decay moral and otherwise.


The pouis main character is Eva, the wife of the residency’s secretary. The Hidden Force – UK. In The Hidden Force the decline and fall of the Dutch resident Van Oudyck is caused by his inability to see further than his own Western rationalism. A masterly novel about decay. He sees himself as the representative of a superior European culture.

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

She comes to recognise the hopelessness of recreating European culture of the sort she was used to music, literature here. The Hidden Force – Canada. But, down in lokis soul, it had never been conquered, though smiling in proud contemptuous resignation and bowing submissively beneath its fate.

And she too has louia sensitivity to and understanding of Java and the Javanese way of life, explored in her close friendship with Van Helderen, a Dutchman who was born in Java and has never left it.

In the original Dutch, Couperus’s unorthodox syntax is replete with neologisms. Divorced, he has four children from his first wife: Note that in his Introduction E. Please send a request for log in data here.

The Hidden Force (Louis Couperus) – book review

What is left is a powerless western man in the Indonesian forest. I want to bring him to the stage as a contemporary, as someone who strikes the nerves coupfrus our 21st century in his work.

couperuss He grew up in an environment of Dutch colonial governors and spent five years of his childhood in the Dutch East Indies, an experience that played a decisive role in oouis life as a writer. She is amoral but not really or at least usually bad: Rate Please give your input here. His journalistic work brought Couperus a large audience. 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: Despite some oddities, it seems quite adequate in this revised form.


The Hidden Force – India. Nor has he an eye for local culture and traditions. He wrote The hidden forceone of his masterpieces, in only a few months, during a visit to his sister and her husband, who was a commissioner in Pasuruan on East Java.

Her husband trusts and loves her completely; he doesn’t even consider for the longest time that she may be getting up to inappropriate things behind his back — though he is constantly getting letters denouncing her and accusing her of horrible things many of which she is, in fact, guilty of.

Like for so many authors during the nineteenth and twentieth century, Italy was the land of natural life to him; he saw it as his real homeland. The Hidden Force is a compelling read for anyone curious about the Dutch in Java or more broadly about the psychology of colonialism and the conflict of cultures. And his sympathy for the hybrid, the impure and the ambiguous gave him a peculiarly modern voice. But Couperus doesn’t go too far overboard with hldden supernatural and for the most part it is a believable touch, as the locals are also very superstitious.

At the end of his life, he made a long, arduous journey to the Dutch East Indies, China and Japan as a special correspondent for a weekly magazine. Van Oudijck; unfortunately, Doddy fell for him at a very tender age and has pretty much cokperus any opportunity she might have had such as going to school back in the Netherlands in pining for him. The hiddej Constance van de Welcke, one of the main characters, is a formidable anti-Bovary; when she loses her illusions about social standing and romance, she has to start looking for something that can make her life useful again.

The universality of this theme helps to prevent his work from ever th dated.