A withering indictment of Dutch colonialism, Louis Couperus’s The Hidden Force is a vivid portrait of fin-de-siècle moral and social decay.
A mystical Javan prince and a promiscuous wife are twin challenges to Dutch Commissioner Van Oudijck’s seemingly impregnable authority. As he struggles to maintain control of his district and his family, ancient local traditions reassert their influence and colonial power begins to disintegrate. Set at the height of Dutch colonial rule in the East Indies, this classic of Dutch literature portrays the clash between Western rationalism and indigenous mysticism through an evocative and sensual narrative.
Translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent, Louis Couperus’s The Hidden Force is published by Pushkin Press.
Louis Couperus (1863-1923), regarded as one of the foremost figures in Dutch literature, was a leading member of the Tachtigers movement. Born in the Hague, Couperus was taken by his family to the Dutch East Indies as a child, where he remained until his father’s death. His other novels include Eline Vere (1889), Ecstasy (Extaze: Een boek van geluk, 1892), Inevitable (Langs lijnen van geleidelijkheid, 1900), and The Hidden Force (De Stille Kracht, 1900), all of which are available from Pushkin Press. A renowned wit, raconteur and commentator, Couperus continued to publish critically and commercially successful work until his death.