Louis Couperus was catapulted to prominence in 1889 with Eline Vere, a psychological masterpiece inspired by Flaubert and Tolstoy. Eline Vere is a young heiress: dreamy, impulsive, and subject to bleak moods. Though beloved among her large coterie of friends and relations, there are whispers that she is an eccentric: she has been known to wander alone in the park as well indulge in long, lazy philosophical conversations with her vagabond cousin. When she accepts the marriage proposal of a family friend, she is thrust into a life that looks beyond the confines of The Hague, and her overpowering, ever-fluctuating desires grow increasingly blurred and desperate. Only Couperus--as much a member of the elite socialite circle of fin-de-si cle The Hague as he was a virulent critic of its oppressive confines--could have filled this "Novel of The Hague" with so many superbly rendered and vividly imagined characters from a milieu now long forgotten. Award-winning translator Ina Rilke's new translation of this Madame Bovary of The Netherlands will reintroduce to the English-speaking world the greatest Dutch novelist of his generation.
Louis Couperus (1863-1923) spent much of his youth in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and many of his novels and stories are set either there or in The Hague, where he was born, though his work also contains glimpses of Italy, Africa, and China, where he traveled extensively. He gained prominence in 1889 with Eline Vere. His novels The Hidden Force, Old People and the Things That Pass, Ecstasy, and Inevitable are also celebrated. Couperus was the greatest Dutch novelist of his generation. Ina Rilke translates Dutch, French, and Flemish literature. The writers she has translated include Hafid Bouazza, Hella Haasse, W. F. Hermans, Arthur Japin, Erwin Mortier, Cees Nooteboom, and Dai Sijie. She has won the Vondel Translation Prize, the Scott Moncrieff Prize, and the Flemish Culture Prize for Translation.