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Eline Vere: A Novel of the Hague

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,473 ratings  ·  123 reviews
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 i ...more
Paperback, 1st, 523 pages
Published June 25th 2010 by Archipelago Books (first published 1889)
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Aladdin Yes, if you're interested in female-character-based European fiction, then this is the book for you. …moreYes, if you're interested in female-character-based European fiction, then this is the book for you. (less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch, owned
When I moved back to The Hague I thought it was high time to finally read the Dutch classis Eline Vere. After getting used to the archaic language I absolutely loved it.

Since I now live in The Hague I also took the opportunity to visit the Couperus museum and do the Couperus literary walk on the "Literaire Routes" app provided by the Literatuurmuseum.

Let me take you along:

The Couperus Museum displays Couperus' desk with some original ornaments.


The tour starts in the Surinamestraat where Couper
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the version put out by Archipelago Books. It was a lovely book to hold. I really enjoyed its comfortable heft, the binding, the font, the overall design and texture of the cover. It may have been about the stodgier side of the Hague in the 19th century, but the book itself was a sensual delight. Every time I turned a page, I enjoyed touching the paper it was printed on. This was very fitting since there is a lot of material culture in it. There was a sameness to what people said; the deta ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful English translation of a Dutch masterpiece. This is not a book to be raced through. It doesn't drag and it's not tedious, but you will want to go along with it's unhurried pace because you'll enjoy it all the more.

Eline Vere lives with her sister, brother-in-law and nephew in The Hague. She's frivolous, she's kind, she's lively and witty, she's melodramatic and given to bouts of temper tantrums, she's a daydreamer and given to flights of fancy, she's eccentric, she's uncertain, she'
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am pretty much always going on about the lack of real classics of Dutch literature. Louis Couperus's 'Eline Vere' is probably as close as it gets, even though it does borrow heavily from the Russian tradition of realist novels, and Anna Karenina in particular. Luckily though, 'Eline Vere' does manage to establish itself as a well-balanced and ultimately independent novel which is mainly about melancholy, desire and morality.

It does take some getting used to. The high society of Den Haag is a s
What a wonderful read! I have loved everything I have read by this author so far. This is Couperus' first novel published in 1889 and takes place in The Hague. I have seen this book compared to Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and I do see some similarities. The central character of Eline Vere is self-centered and her life is a series of unrealistic hopes and fantasies. She seems never able to attain the happiness she longs for, throwing away her best chance at a good life with a husband who loves her. ...more
lola :D
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, classics
Rating: 4 stars.

Lola? Finishing AND enjoying a classic? The world is shook.
If you know me at all, you'll know I WOULD LOVE TO READ ALL THE CLASSICS but I just can't. They're just so boring to me and and I can never finish them and I always feel like the characters are SO RIDICULOUS. And just. No.
Buuuuuuuut...that was before I discovered the world that is.....audiobooks. I listened to this audiobook while cycling to school and before I went to sleep at night, and I loved it so much?!? It made it
Monica Carter
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: btba
She was finding it increasingly difficult to get along with Betsy; they quarrelled frequently, and most of the time it wasn't even her fault. Then there was Frederique, who was noticeably cool towards her, for what reason she hadn't the faintest idea, and although Madame van Raat seemed fond of her as ever, Eline herself had not lately been minded to display the winsome, respectful openness, that had endeared her to the old lady. There was no point to her life, the way she drifted aimlessly fr
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin McClain
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lourens Scholing
Basically a slow burner about the wealthy and bored, turn-of-the century patricians with too much time on their hands. Eline Vere is a young lady who images she's cut out for great things, cannot abide mediocracy and in the end burns out completely, insane and hooked on morphine.

Yes, it's a modern book, and he who enters here finds no heroes, nothing to look up to. There's always something interesting going on to make it worthwhile, though, for example, the way Couperus' works with the common tr
Surprisingly beautiful dutch literature. I sensed a few comparisons with ''Anna Karenina'' by Leo Tolstoj. ...more
Bernadette Jansen op de Haar
The story of Eline Vere, the name of our heroine, is a romantic tragedy set in the late 1800s. If you enjoy novels by authors such as Jane Austen you will also love Eline’s world.

Eline is beautiful, flirtatious but also intelligent. She wonders why men fall down at her feet just for her smile whereas it is really hard work to make women like her.

The stifling provincial society of The Hague makes her feel uncomfortable although she doesn’t quite know how to express this. She has a love-hate relat
When a book as a reputation that precedes it, there's always the risk of it not living up to the expectation. So every time I was deciding which Dutch classic was next, I chose another work of Louis Couperus instead. Now having finally read it, I can say it was underwhelming.

Couperus is a master at manipulating the Dutch language to create beautiful sentences, but it did not make up for the story. It strongly reminds me of the themes used by English Realist novelists and Eline is a caricature o
Jim Jones
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The greatest 19th century novelist you’ve never heard of!
What if you combined the socially and the psychologically complex world of the rich as examined by Henry James and Marcel Proust, the aesthetic sensibilities of Oscar Wilde, and the subtle political astuteness of Joseph Conrad, and combined them all in one novelist? Welcome to world of Louis Couperus.
Couperus was Holland’s great novelist in the late 19th and early 20th century, but is almost unknown here. His novels have been slowly re-ap
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-literature
Difficult style, a bit faltering and rather heavy; very descriptive, with quite a lot of intermediate sentences. And it takes about 200 pages before the real action starts. Conclusion: it didn't really resonate with me. It seems Couperus in this work is very indebted to Henry James (Portrait of a Lady), Flaubert (Bovary) and Tolstoi (Karenina): realism, naturalism and romance. ...more
Mike Van Helden
Feb 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eline Vere is set in The Hague of the 19th century. It follows Eline Vere - a 23-years old woman who is very pretty, bright and has quite a lot of money. Still, she doesn't know what to do with her life except marrying a man. Eline Vere has difficulties seperating reality (which is quite mundane and boring) from her fantasies (which are more exciting). This prevents her from loving people and be close with them. Also, she takes decisions in rages, which have negative outcomes. This again prevent ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I gave Couperus another shot, after discarting 'het Noodlot' after reading into a corner seven years ago and crying out 'never again'. Though Eline Vere was much better, after 70% of the book I wanted to scream 'use your words, then all of this will go away!'. If it wasn't for Couperus introducing the Elize character at 75% of the book, telling Eline 'hey, how about you stop ruiing your life?', I wouldn't have been able to finish it.
Now this is highly negative of Eline, nevertheless I gave three
Jonathan yates
Generally i am a really big fan of this genre of literature, the traumatic experience of life leading to a long story of growing up and growing older, becoming ok with the world and in this case, perhaps more in line with real life you read 500 pages to only have the main character not grow at all as a character or a person, and though this might be more realistic in a real world context thats why not why i or anyone i know read literature
ie it was kind of boring
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, classics, fiction
A wonderful translation of a Dutch classic. Not to be's that good. A leisurely paced novel of Dutch society in The Hague in the late nineteenth century. Very modern in many ways and not to be missed. I can't do it justice but it is one book that will remain on my kindle (I usually delete them once read) and I'll buy the book for my shelves (a big commitment as shelf space is at a premium!) ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My expectations about this book were that it was going to be very lengthy and a bit boring. As I was reading though, I discovered that the extensiveness was actually an asset for the book. The only thing I didn't like was the main character, she was way too weepy for my taste. ...more
Katarzyna Bartoszynska
4.5 stars - tempting to go 5, but it did decline a bit during the last hundred pages, as so many great Realist works tend to. Overall though, absolutely phenomenal. If you're a fan of Flaubert, or George Eliot, or Tolstoy - you must read it. ...more
A story of a naive, young girl living in her own fantasy world, I didn't really fell in love with the Eline, I wanted to teach her a lesson. It is quite interesting to see how people interact in that period. ...more
Jack Goodstein
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
New Edition from Pushkin Press.
Sep 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a bit slow, but overall a fascinating perspective of how the rich lived in The Hague in the late 1800s.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a few years since I read this. Willing to give it a second chance. To re-read when I have enough time. Maybe I'll like it better. ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved
It's a psychological novel, it got a little bit under my skin. But just as much so that I liked it. ...more
Kirsten Bett
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. So The Hague I imagine it to eb int he olden days!
Apr 21, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous and poignant, with language that strikes the reader as true.
Niki Nikakis
Meh, didn't want to finish it but it was relatively ok ...more
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Reading 1001: Eline Vere 2 22 Dec 29, 2021 11:42AM  
Never too Late to...: 2018 May Classic in Translation: Dutch "Eline Vere" 45 42 Aug 10, 2018 11:32AM  

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Louis Marie-Anne Couperus (June 10, 1863 – July 16, 1923) was a Dutch novelist and poet of the late 19th and early 20th century. He is usually considered one of the foremost figures in Dutch literature.

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