Talk:Louis Couperus

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Wilde as a subject?[edit]

The article mentions Oscar Wilde as a 'homoerotic subject' of his work, along with heliogabaldus and wrestlers. Where in Couperus' oeuvre is Wilde actually a subject of a literary work? Doesn't the link stop between the comparability of the two authors? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:36, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Couperus corresponded with Wilde and together with his wife translated The Picture of Dorian Gray (in 1893). He once wrote about Wilde in one of his collections of short (newspaper) works, telling about his meeting with a man who said he was the model of Dorian Gray, in Van en over Mijzelf en Anderen II, p. 14-20 (1914). (If you are a book collector, it's a book with an attractive Art Nouveau binding). According to his biographer Fred Bastet Couperus might have met Wilde in London in the winter of 1889-1890. Soczyczi (talk) 16:10, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for the information. I have read the text - it is a very beautiful melancholy piece, with an indeed homoerotic undertone (one wonders what kind of services this Italian servant offers...) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:28, 18 June 2008 (UTC)


I removed a few words that, to me, suggest a point of view. 'Seamy' means something like 'sordid', if I understand it well. De Berg van Licht (not translated into English, only into German, Hungarian and Czech) is a grand, surging novel in which a lot of blood is shed, but not a sordid one. Furthermore, did Couperus have a large library? I think not much is known about it, apart from the question 'How large is large?'. Couperus must have read a vast amount of books, but that is not the same.

His goods being 'endlessly' moved about? The Couperus couple lived in hotels and pensions mostly, but they were the same pensions for many years. They traveled a lot, but I doubt if they took their chairs and desks, or even their library with them all the time when they went to Spain for a month (for instance). Glatisant (talk) 08:20, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

"Furthermore, did Couperus have a large library? " Parts of his library survived: mostly classic authors. Of course he had many more books (stayed in The Hague when they travelled I thought) but these seem to have disappeared.B77 (talk) 15:48, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Jumping to conclusions?[edit]

It seems to me that the fairly recent trend of labelling certain famous authors such as Henry James and Herman Melville and now Louis Couperus as "gay/bisexual writers" should be banned from Wikipedia as decidedly unencyclopedic as long there is no biographical evidence whatsoever to support these claims. Homo-erotic interest is one thing, but leading an actively gay life is quite another. The respective bonfires of both James' and Couperus' private (and possibly homo-erotic) correspondence are intriguing, but one ought not to jump to conclusions. In this light, it's interesting to note that James found Wilde's lifestyle decidedly vulgar (though he rued his imprisonment) and avoided meeting the allegedly decadent entourage of Richard Wagner in Italy (see Fred Kaplan's biography "The Imagination of Genius"). I wish the eminent Wikipedian Professor Casey Abell were still around to shed some light on this matter, but unfortunately, he seems to have retired. Can he be reached by email, perhaps? Frankly speaking (talk) 06:45, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I removed the phrase: "His wife went to great pains to ensure that all the letters and other insights into Couperus' private life disappeared after his death." as this is simply not true. The consenus btw is, that Couperus very likely was homosexual. If that matters of course. I say this as a [Dutch] Couperus-scholar. B77 (talk) 15:47, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Louis Couperus/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk · contribs) 17:20, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Initial comments[edit]

  • The article contains an over-abundance of images. As per the MoS policy on this, such galleries should only be used where the content cannot otherwise be adequately explained (see WP:Galleries).
Most images are moved temporarily to here. Could you have a second look at the images I kept in the article?
These images are much better, but the one of Eline Vere still seems slightly superfluous and the one of Couperus facing right should be aligned left. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 21:10, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done
  • My biggest concern is that although the biographical details of Couperus' life are covered precisely, the article lacks crucial sections, including his Writing style, Genres, and Legacy. Without these the articles cannot be considered to deal with the "major aspects" of the topic. Cf. the Dutch version of the topic, which considers his legacy.
Yes, I understand what you mean and share your concern (GAC 3). The biography probably is over detailed (3b) and some aspects are missing (3a). (However, this article is a biography. LC's life and works are intertwined: he often wrote about his daily life, his travels and his impressions; furthermore, he situated his novels often in cities/environments he has lived in.) I agree it's better to highlight his writing style and legacy in separate sections. I've created two sections - still empty - and will work on it. Michael! (talk) 13:55, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree, but still, it's a biography of a writer — see William Shakespeare for instance. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 21:10, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, I don't think I'm able to bring this article to the FA class quality of Shakespeare. Besides, Couperus is better comparable to Oscar Wilde (GA without separate "Legacy" section) or James Joyce (also a high quality FA). Nevertheless, I'll try to finish those "Writings" and "Legacy" sections for Louis Couperus as soon as possible.Michael! (talk) 20:29, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
You probably mean there's only one English source, don't you? Since there're several other non-English sources. I'll have a look at those two texts and will try to find more.
Yes, I mean only one English source and the rest are non-English. Completely managed to muddle up the two for a minute. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 23:33, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This'll be the hardest point to address. Unfortunately most (scholarly) publications about Louis Couperus are in Dutch. The first article (Zweers) might be useful for discussing Van oude mensen ..., but the second book (Shades of Empire) has nothing to do with Louis Couperus. This week, I spend some time searching for English sources (in my University Library catalogue, JSTOR, google scholar, etc). Excluding several translations of LC's books and a few reviews of those translations I couldn't find anything like a bibliography, a biography or an overview article. The publications I could find about LC in English are:

  • Zweers
  • Blom; Film History, Vol. 20, No. 2, Moving Picture Fiction (2008), pp. 127-132 (concerning two minor sketches of LC about cinemas)
  • a few articles about the relation between LC and the Dutch East Indies, primarily concerning LC's novel De stille kracht (The hidden force)

But none of these is comparable to Bastet, not even close. I dare to say there are simply no "English sources of equal quality and relevance".Michael! (talk) 20:29, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Okay then, that won't be held against the article. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 20:51, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Great work on the article, it's very detailed, BUT as I say above, I have doubts about the article passing due to the lack of any sections other than biography. Nonetheless I look forward to seeing the changes you can make, and will return with more in a short time! MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 17:20, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to review this article. I'll have a look at it soon, although I don't have time for it right now. However, I have informed Menke66, who wrote most of the article and deserves all of the credits and compliments. Michael! (talk) 13:06, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Right. Well I've put it on-hold for the moment, pending the changes to be made. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 16:54, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
I apologize for my late reply, but thanks again for your suggestions. I tried to address most of them, although I've just started with contributing to this article. More will follow!. Nevertheless, I hope you have more suggestions to improve this article. I'm in no hurry, so take your time! Michael! (talk) 13:23, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Okay. So long as you conduct the changes within 7 days (or thereabouts, if the article is almost up to par by then I won't be dictatorial about it). There are more suggestions, yes. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 18:05, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Don't worry. I should be able to work on the article and make improvements this week, but in bits and pieces. More will follow in the next few days!Michael! (talk) 22:32, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Just as a general note, please don't forget to expand the lead so it summarizes the article properly. The lead is the most important part of the article. Hekerui (talk) 12:46, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

I appreciate you taking the time to comment, but I am conducting this review so please trust that I can point these things out! As I indicated, my intention was to come back and make more recommendations. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 16:05, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
On the topic of the lede, it should not contain any original content (i.e., which is not duplicated in the main body of the text). The discussion of genres in the lede seems to contravene this.
I understand your point and will try to rewrite the lead section.
Also "poetry" is not a genre, it is a form, therefore not appropriate for that list. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 17:05, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Changed to "lyric poetry". Do you have a better alternative?
Not really, if it is lyric poetry. My concern was simply that it stated before "He was a poet ... who wrote: poetry ...", which is an absurd tautology. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 18:05, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

If it isn't already clear from the vast list of prose suggestions etc., the main problem with the article is that it doesn't comply with GAC 1a, which is that: "the prose is clear and concise, respects copyright laws, and the spelling and grammar are correct; …". Probably a result of translation from the Dutch source. Honestly, as I can't even feasibly list all of the errors, I therefore seriously doubt that the article could comply in this regard. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 20:56, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. My first (significant) contribution to this article was to nominate it for a GA. It looked good at first glance, the article seemed much better than it was a few months ago, but I hadn't read the article completely, nor carefully. On second thought, the nomination was premature and it's better to withdraw/turn down the nomination. There's so much Dunglish in it! Ideally, the complete article should be rewritten. If I had to review this article, then I would probably have made it a "failed GA" much earlier. Nevertheless, I'll try to do as much as I can in the next few days, although I don't know if I could improve it to a GA. There's a lot to do... Michael! (talk) 21:58, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Further comments[edit]

On closer examination of the Biography section:

  • The Hague is wikilinked repeatedly.
Yes check.svg Done for Batavia, Marie-Louis-Antoine-Gaston Boissier, Henri van Booven, Bourget, Elisabeth Couperus-Baud, John Ricus Couperus, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Dionysus, Dutch East Indies, Egypt, Eline Vere, Frederik van Eeden, Edmund Gosse, The Hague, The Hidden Force, Inevitable, Italy, Willem Kloos, George Moore, Munich, Naples, Nice, Ouida, Giovanni Papini, Paris, A Ribbon of Poems, Rome, George Bernard Shaw, Siena, Surinamestraat 20, The Hague, Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, Uffizi, Venice, World War I: only first occurrences are wikilinked, all subsequent occurrences are unlinked, except for bibliography, infobox and lead, per WP:REPEATLINK. There are probably more repeated Wikilinks. Michael! (talk) 21:46, 18 March 2013 (UTC) Michael! (talk) 18:22, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
  • "When he reached the age of 5, his sister Johanna was 20, his brother Petrus Theodorus 19, his sister Catharina 18, his brother John Ricus 15, his sister Trudy 12 and his brother Frans 11, so Couperus was obvious, and was treated as such, the youngest child." — Doubt any of this is necessary for the reader to know; already stated as the youngest.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "to find data he needed to write The Hidden Force." — Data > Information, but moreover, what kind of information was this?
Yes check.svg Done: background information for his story (about "supernatural events and spirits" in the Dutch East Indies). However, this is not really relevant in this paragraph, so I've deleted it for now.
  • "When Couperus'school results did not improve his father send him to a school where he was trained to be a teacher in the Dutch language." — Substantial re-wording required.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "In 1885 plans were made to compose an operetta for children." — Plans made by whom?
  • Well spotted! I suppose by Couperus, but Bastet has to be checked to be sure.
  • "(which intention remained just that)" — "Never realised" or some such wording would be better.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "When Couperus just had written his novella Een middag bij Vespaziano (an afternoon at Vespaziano) he ran into Johannes Bosboom, who was married to writer Anna Louisa Geertruida Bosboom-Toussaint, whose works Couperus greatly admired, and Bosboom invited him for tea." — Rather verbose wording and excessive detail.
Yes check.svg Done
  • Ref 98 is in Dutch, I do believe.
Yes check.svg Done, added label (Dutch). Ref 92 as well.
  • Ref 100 has a connection issue and cannot be accessed.
Yes check.svg Done: removed this link; the Stichting Couperushuis Surinamestraat has been dissolved in January and removed their website (
  • Ref 101 is from a blog, and seemingly not authored by a credible source. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 18:15, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done: removed This whole paragraph is going to be revised as part of the new "Legacy" section. I'll have a more careful look at each of the references there.
  • "Other work of Couperus during this period in his life includes but is not limited to the sonnet Een portret (a portret) and Uw glimlach of uw bloemen (your smile or your flowers)." — Re-wording. What is "a portret" (portrait?), and the titles of the poems are inconsistently formatted. I would suggest enclosed in " ".
Yes check.svg Done
  • "but wat impressed him most was not her performance but were her dresses." — Irrelevant detail.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "Here Couperus first continued writing poetry and his study of Dutch literature." — What does 'first continued' mean?
Yes check.svg Done
  • "Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde" — Prestigious but lacking a WP article? Just surprised by this.
Yes check.svg Done New article created: Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde. It will be expanded, based on the article of the Dutch Wikipedia. Michael! (talk) 17:11, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
  • "Journalist Willem Gerard van Nouhuys wrote that in this publication he lacked quality, critic Jacob Nicolaas van Hall wrote positive words about it and journalist Willem Kloos was very negative and called it "literary crap"." — Which publication? Any more detail than positive vs. negative?
Yes check.svg Done
  • "At 6 December 1886 Couperus passed his exam and was given the act which allowed him to give secondary education." — 'Act'? 'To teach' rather than 'to give'?
Yes check.svg Done
  • "He did however not aspire a teaching career and 1887 was thus a very difficult year for Couperus; he had to decide the definite way in life he wanted to chose." — What is the source for this? Could this just be added to the previous sentence, because it is very filler-ish.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "Shortly before … is the same." — Section veers significantly into influences and style rather than biography.
  • You're right. Nevertheless, I'll keep it as it is for now.
  • "wrote: The writer has talent." — Incorrectly formatted (italics) and requires source.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "he wrote The novel of Mr. Couperus is a good and a literary work." — as previous.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "a second edition was necessary." — Currently assumed that this means necessary to supply the demand for the book, needs explaining.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "robust military figure (although assumed gay)." — What does 'robust' mean in this context? And why does his being gay contradict this or have any importance in this biography?
Yes check.svg Done
  • "at 12 August" — 'On'.
Yes check.svg Done for (approximately) eight dates
  • "When his uncle Guillaume Louis Baud died Couperus went back to The Hague to attend the funeral and here Couperus decided to marry his cousin Elisabeth Couperus-Baud." — Should be split into a separate sentence: about the death/funeral; about marriage. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 00:10, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done
Yes check.svg Done

Final assessment[edit]

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:

Despite substantial improvements, the article still contains numerous errors in its prose—a probable result of being translated from a Dutch source on which the article relies heavily—as well as formatting concerns. In addition, there is a lack of coverage of the major aspects of the topic, such as his legacy, writing style and genres. Result: Failed good article nomineeMasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 17:53, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I agree this article isn't a GA yet. Much has to be done. Nevertheless, thank you for your help and suggestions. Michael! (talk) 18:32, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

To do list[edit]

  • Rewrite "Biography" section to correct English
  • Add new "Legacy" section
  • Add new "Writing style" section
  • Expand lead section
  • Expand "External links" section
  • Improve "Bibliography" section
  • Find more (English) translations of Couperus' books

Michael! (talk) 19:25, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Split bibliography[edit]

I believe the current bibliography is too long for inclusion in this article. I suggest to split the list into the seperate article Louis Couperus bibliography and include a much shorter list of works based on the Complete Works subsection, properly formatted following Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists of works. – Editør (talk) 10:28, 27 August 2013 (UTC)