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The Black Tulip

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  15,742 ratings  ·  1,074 reviews
'To have discovered the black tulip, to have seen it for a moment...then to lose it, to lose it forever!'

Cornelius von Baerle, a respectable tulip-grower, lives only to cultivate the elusive black tulip and win a magnificent prize for its creation. But after his powerful godfather is assassinated, the unwitting Cornelius becomes caught up in deadly political intrigue a
Paperback, 246 pages
Published April 24th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1850)
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Gökhan Ö. prince was so young and "politically correct" to destroy his enemies in order to gain sovereignthy in that age. because there was no democrasy and rul…moreprince was so young and "politically correct" to destroy his enemies in order to gain sovereignthy in that age. because there was no democrasy and rule of law. even there was huge masses and they did not believe in democrasy and rule of law. he had to use response of dutch public to gain a crown. because there was a french invasion on dutch. have a good night (less)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-dutch
”Contempt for flowers is an offence against God. The lovelier the flower, the greater the offence in despising it. The tulip is the loveliest of all flowers. So whoever despised the tulip offends God immeasurably.”

In 1672 two brothers Cornelius and Johan de Witt (Grand Pensionary/prime minister of Holland) were charged with treason and sentenced to exile. Cornelis had been tortured with the hope that he would confess to plotting with the French king.

He did not.

He had corresponded with the Frenc
This is a brilliant piece of work by Alexander Dumas. The story holds many themes: love, courage, honesty and jealousy; and Dumas has woven all these themes in to one of the history's most beautifully said stories.

The story mainly revolves around Dr. Cornelius Van Baerle, a tulip grower who has been wrongly imprisoned, and his journey of sheer courage to see his dream for the production of a black Tulip become a reality. His dream was aided by Rosa Gryphus, the jailer's daughter who becomes the
Nicole Shelby
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have read this several times. I love the complexity of it, as well as it's simplicity.

If you are into love stories - this has a great one - of loyalty, devotion, and self-sacrifice.

If you are into studies of human nature - here too. It explores mob-mentality, politics, truth as it relates to justice, aspirations of power and the willingness to achieve that end regardless of the cost to others. And, underlying everything, the complete destructive capacity of jealousy. The danger of covetousne
3.5 rounded up.

Nothing makes me feel like a youngster again quite like reading Dumas. He is a consummate storyteller and when you are reading the story is everything, you are immersed in it, you are suffering the confinement and the injustice and the suspense. The romance is necessary, but not terribly realistic, but then Dumas’ strength is action and it is his male characters who seize and keep your interest. Nobody watched Errol Flynn movies to see the fainting heroine...she was his prop.

Gabrielle Dubois
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 19th-century
What I like with Alexandre Dumas is that he’s easy to read, despite the facts that he’s clever, he always made historical researches (or had them done by Auguste Maquet?) for his historical novels or plays and had a good knowledge of men hearts, minds and behaviours. The only thing that he misses is the knowledge of women. Most of the time, and wouldn’t say all the time, because I like Alexandre Dumas; mostly, his female characters are secondary and only cute and kind. But, I don’t mind, I’m a w ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Alexandre Dumas was best known for his historical novels of adventure and romance which blended fact and fiction with real and imagined characters. The Black Tulip wasn't as popular among his critics as his better known works such as The Count of Monte Cristo, but his readers were happy with it when it was first published back in 1850. My book club chose to read it for February, to discuss a classic with some romance, in honor of Valentines Day. And it was a good choice for an entertaining read ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it

It has been a long time since I've read anything from Alexandre Dumas and so I was looking forward to this novel. 

The Black Tulip takes place in Holland, not France, and is on a much smaller scale than expected. Dumas usually paints on a huge canvas but not this time. The first few chapters do deal with exploding events, but very soon, the narration zooms in on the burgeoning love between an obsessed tulip grower and a courageous and intelligent girl, and a mythical flower. 

I loved the langua
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Black Tulip is set in the Netherlands in 1672. It is the story of Cornelius van Baerle and Rosa Gryphus. Hindered by some very unfortunate circumstances they join forces to grow the elusive black tulip. Whilst it is not precisely historically accurate, I think Dumas did an excellent job to capture the tulip-mania zeitgeist.

For me, it was a very easy to read classic, because of my familiarity with the Dutch language and some of the historic events, but that set aside, it is just a wonderful
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great page turner from Dumas. Really enjoyed this uplifting tale.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Murder! Obsession! Betrayal! Tulips!

This book was such a delight. After the murder of two men, the DeWitts, Cornelius van Baerle is accused of crimes against the state and they lock him up and throw away the key - right into the hands of a cruel and abusive jailer.

Cornelius has been working on developing the black tulip, which is both a labor of love and a task that will win him 100,000 florins if he succeeds. After Cornelius is imprisoned he falls in love with the jailer's daughter, Rosa. Thank
Eric Kinney
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it

As the first, and in much likelihood, the only romantic novel I will ever pick up this summer, Alexandre Dumas' "The Black Tulip" is one of the most sentimental, endearing classics I've come across, and is probably every botanist's favorite love story if not their favorite book. Taking place in 17th Century Holland, a gifted and passionate florist by the name of Cornelius Van Baerle, has doted his time and inherited fortune on the cultivating of tulips, widely regarded throughout Europe as the
Sue K H
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a quick and entertaining read with an interesting historical backdrop of the tulip mania of the time combined with the murder of the Dutch politician John de Witt and his brother Cornelius by rioting mobs.

From that backdrop, fictional characters are created including a godson of Cornelius (also named Cornelius) who is unjustly imprisoned for high treason, largely because of the connection to his godfather. The fictional Cornelius is a tulip fancier who has created valuable bulbs capabl
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
You know how people watch comfort tv-shows or eat comfort food? Well, I find that Dumas is my comfort reading. When I want to read a good story, a good adventure with a good plot, characters I can root for or characters I can hate without remorse, I go to Dumas. He's a bit like that grandfather who's been everywhere in the world and tells the best stories.

Here he goes on to do all this, perhaps a little less successefully than usually: the plot takes a bit to start and I found the beginning a b
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 1672, Cornelius and Johan de Witt, brothers and prominent citizens of Holland were charged with treason and sentenced to exile. Cornelius had been tortured in the hope that he would confess to plotting with the French king, but he said not a word. He was guilty but he was safe in the knowledge that the evidence was safely hidden.

His silence did not save them. The authorities, and William of Orange in particular, wanted rid of the troublesome pair and so they manipulated the situation. The tw
Alexandre Dumas has never failed in providing me with a wonderful reading experience. The Black Tulip is no exception, it’s simply great. It amazes me that this story is so deeply complex in both character and plot descriptions. I was completely invested in this story, just an old softy at heart. The descriptions of the De Witt brother’s murder, reading of Rosa’s anguish and sorrow at watching Cornelius being led to the scaffold, were spellbinding. As tension in the story increased I could feel ...more
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ereader, classics
Y'all I am an Alexandre Dumas fan girl. If I could resurrect him and make him be my writer boyfriend, I totally would (sorry boo!). Last summer I read the unabridged Count of Monte Cristo translated by Robin Buss* over a period of two weeks. I am a generally fast reader, especially when I have few work hours, however, I really wanted to savor the experience.
Read the rest of my review here
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who would have thought that a book about growing tulips could be so exciting? And yet Alexandre Dumas managed to write a compelling page turner based on that very subject. Dumas became one of my favourite authors a few years ago when I read The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers but I had not read any of his lesser-known works until now. I regret not reading The Black Tulip sooner because I enjoyed it almost as much as the two books I've just mentioned.

The book is set in seventeenth
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Consider me befuddled. William of Orange is depicted in The Black Tulip as an almost pantomime villain, although bereft of curling moustaches. Whereas Neal Stephenson characterizes Willie as a paragliding badass who saves England in the Glorious Revolution. I’ll ignore period politics and remain bemused, which is an appropriate way to savor this novel. Dumas is masterful at maintaining suspense and creating concurrent narratives that fall into convenient heap for a happy conclusion.

I should add
J.M. Hushour
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Somehow this is the first Dumas novel I've ever read, aside from some questionable kids' version of Musketeers. However, I'm no idiot and I know that Dumas liked writing stories about people in prison and either wearing diving helmets or falling in love. I don't know if the guy was impotent or what, but if he was than Tulip must've been written after he discovered some efficacious unguent for his harried nethers. This is so, it must be so, because this novel is about all kinds of blossomings, bu ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this tale of drama around the development, growth, theft, and recovery of the Black Tulip in Holland of the 1670's. Throw in some romance and suspense, fear, hatred, and forgiveness, and add in a prison and a couple of mentions of the guillotine, and you have Dumas' formula for a very exciting and tantalizing story. Read it -- It's fun!! ...more
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
To despise flowers is to offend God.
The more beautiful the flower is, the more does one offend God in despising it.
The tulip is the most beautiful of all flowers.
Therefore, he who despises the tulip offends God beyond measure.

I've been very excited to read this for a while and am glad I finally got around to it! The story is set in Holland during the Tulip Mania...for me as a gardener that was intriguing, to say the least! 😊
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
“To despise flowers is to offend God. The more beautiful the flower is, the more does one offend God in despising it. The tulip is the most beautiful of all flowers. Therefore, he who despises the tulip offends God beyond measure.”

I really liked this book, my first by this author but romance isn't particularly my genre if choice ....

Our hero is Cornelius, god son of the brutally murdered (and eaten!) political prisoner Cornelius De Witt and his brother Johan.I have looked into this and Dumas ha
Rana Adel
Very disappointed !!

I thought it would be more complicated, but it was very predictable and more like "Naive" !

The structure of the novel wasn't that bad, but i think I was expecting more from the writer of "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "The Three Musketeers"

anyway, it was old Romantic Short story .. which i needed at this busy time of year :)
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Set some years after the famous tulipomania in Holland, this story nevertheless revolves around the cultivation of that rarest of flowers the black tulip. Dumas conjures up the story of three fictional characters whose lives happen to intersect with those of real persons of the time, including William of Orange. It's a charming story, and provides cause to ruminate on the creation of art, but its chief value, in my opinion, is in giving the reader a broad glimpse into Dutch life of the period. ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
The Black Tulip is a curious sort of a story, written by the popular and prolific Aexandre Duman (the father, not the son) it is as charming and engaging as all the works written by this author, whose work I personally adore. The story begins in the Netherlands with a historical event—the 1672 mob lynching of the Dutch Grand Pensionary (the historic equivalent to a modern Prime Minister) Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis. This is an actual historic event which, I believe is considered by ma ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
While I still hold The Count of Monte Cristo to be his masterwork, it is similarly exceptional that Dumas is able to write a gripping, page turning novel about a man endeavoring to grow a black tulip. This is the fourth book I've read of his, and while this one is drastically different than the others, it is undoubtedly impressive the way he is able to take the mundane and turn it, by force of his will and skill, into an engaging story that fully drew me in.

This is a short, quick read that is e
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definately liked it better than I did 14 years ago. I actually preferred this one over Dumas' The Three Musketeers, but possibly only because I was not as dissapointed in this one as I was in the latter. ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've always been in love with tulips and how delicate they are, how about a magnificent Black Tulip?

The events take place in Holland during the tulip-mania era which is the Dutch golden age of the 17th century. A great amount of money is offered as a prize to whoever cultivates a grand black tulip, the thing that nobody had succeeded to achieve before. Here appears the hero.

My first impression of the book was not that great. Reason? I dislike political history, and that's how the first few chapt
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-books
Oh Dumas.. it's only you who can twist and turn things like this.

How heartbreaking it is the way you started it all. My heart fell while reading the fate of the Witt brothers. It didn't take long to turn things to a tale of pain, love and adventure. It's amazing how far a person can go when driven by pure jealousy. Isaac always struck me as this really evil and vile creature who wants to get Cornelius at any cost, even if it involves putting innocent lives in peril. Rosa, trapped in between an
Feb 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Those who have suffered much, have a right to be happy
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This note regards Alexandre Dumas, père, the father of Alexandre Dumas, fils (son). For the son, see Alexandre Dumas fils.

Alexandre Dumas, père (French for "father", akin to Senior in English), born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, was a French writer, best known for his numerous historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world. Many of h

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