Couperus

The collection: One of the largest collections of the works of Louis Couperus (1863-1923), including first edition, deluxe copies, bookbinding variants, and manuscripts, including all later editions, translations, and studies about Couperus.
Size: Ca. 2200 volumes, of which 1400 from the Eekhof collection; also some 70 manuscripts.
Access: The books can be found in the KB-Catalogus.
More informatie: Arno Kuipers 070-3140561 or Paul van Capelleveen 070-3140331.

Louis Couperus, De boeken der kleine zielen (1901-1903), gebonden in perkament naar een ontwerp van Theo Neuhuys

Louis Couperus, De boeken der kleine zielen (1901-1903), gebonden in perkament naar een ontwerp van Theo Neuhuys

Description of the collection

The Hague writer Louis Couperus (1863-1923) is one of the greatest Dutch writers of all time. His gigantic oeuvre continues to attract new readers. Classics such as Eline Vere, De stille kracht and Van oude menschen, de dingen die voorbij gaan are among the highlights of the Dutch literary canon and have been translated many times.

The KB has always had a large collection of books and manuscripts by Couperus, but it was substantially increased in 2006 by the acquisition, together with the Literary Museum, of the books from the famous collection of J.A. Eekhof (1928-2007). While the printed works are kept by the library, the Literary Museum has taken care of the letters, manuscripts and other documents from the Eekhof collection.
Among the 1400 volumes from the Eekhof collection there are many special copies. During his life, Couperus and his publisher, L.J. Veen, worked together with artists such as Richard Roland Holst, Jan Toorop and H.P. Berlage, who designed beautiful bindings and illustrations for his books. For instance, the KB owns several editions of the fairy tale Psyche from 1898 in differently coloured binding designs by Toorop. A very special work from the Eekhof collection is the copy of Herakles from 1913 that L.J. Veen had especially bound in vellum with the title stamped in gold. There is only one copy of this binding, which was made to make up for a mistake: the publisher had had the book printed with the incorrectly spelled title ‘Herackles’.

J.A. Eekhof also collected translations of Couperus’ works. Thanks to him, the KB now owns many translations of Couperus in German, French and English, but also Noodlot in Serbo-Croatian and Eline Vere in Urdu. Furthermore, the library keeps some 70 manuscripts by Couperus, many of which were given to the library by the author; examples are the autograph versions of De berg van licht and Het zwevende schaakbord.

References:

  • Fréderic Bastet, Louis Couperus, een biografie. Amsterdam, 2005 (4e druk)
  • H.T.M. van Vliet, Versierde verhalen. De oorspronkelijke boekbanden van Louis Couperus’ werk (1884-1925). Amsterdam, 2000.
  • H.T.M. van Vliet, ‘Perfectie als norm. De Couperuscollectie van J.A. Eekhof’. In: De Parelduiker, 12 (2007), nr. 1. p. 3-13.
  • Erik van Schoonhoven, ‘De essentie van verzamelen. Mysterieuze collectie-Eekhof onthult haar geheimen’. In: Arabesken, 14 (2006), nr. 28, p. 20-22.