Louis Couperus was one of the few Dutch writers to become fairly widely known outside Holland. His great novel ‘The Hidden Force’, (‘De Stille Kracht’), which is set in the Dutch East Indies, has been translated into English and is available from Pushkin Press.
The description on the inside jacket reads:
“A mystical Javanese prince and a promiscuous wife are the 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.”

The picture on the right wordlessly captures something of the strange and alien relations between East and West: the Soesoehoenan of Soerakarta Pakoe Boewono X stands arm in arm with Commissioner De Vogel, who is lording it over his people and land. Couperus in his novel has one of his characters say that the Soesoehoenan is like a living ‘Wajang-doll’

1 Comment

  1. Just wanted everyone who is interested to know that this publication is available from It is a wonderful read and gives you insight into colonial times.

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