Eline Vere is a engrossing, brilliantly observed novel. Love, sorrow, madness and the tyranny of social snobbery are all laid bare in this classic of Dutch literature the book which made Louis Couperus, The Netherlands' answer to Oscar Wilde, famous.
In 1889, Dutch society was enthralled by Eline Vere, published in instalments in the newspaper, which minutely described the conventions, manners and hypocrisies of society with richness of description and vivid characterizations. Eline Vere and her sister Betsy are wealthy young socialites living in The Hague in the 19th century. Eline attempts to break free from the confines of her narrow existence through tumultuous and ultimately disastrous courtships. Eline is not merely a figure of her times but also a passionate spokesperson, too often foolish and futile. In her sensibility she is worthy of having one of the richest most satisfying novels of the late 19th century named after her.
Translated by Ina Rilke
Cover illustration by Georg-Hendrik Breitner
Published 27 April 2010