Louis Couperus, non-binair avant la lettre?
Under this tantalizing title, in the commemorative year 2023, when the centenary of Louis Couperus's death is commemorated, the 53rd exhibition will take place in the Louis Couperus Museum.
The expression 'non-binary' refers to today's diverse and inclusive gender world. This includes a 'rainbow' of identities, from straight, gay, lesbian, bi, pan to queer. Surprisingly, this world of thought is completely in line with that of Couperus. His work features characters who are fluid in identity and could easily be classified under the term 'queer' nowadays.
In six installations you look at how Couperus shaped himself, what his contemporaries thought of him, which types of characters keep recurring in his books and we make a bridge to the gendered world of today.
Who are you? Being your authentic self is the pinnacle of freedom. But is that actually possible? Aren't we all shaped by where we grow up and the world around us? Couperus writes beautifully and is still very topical about the emotions, desires and fears that the characters in his books struggled with around 1900.
Several of his biographers believe they have discerned a pink thread in his oeuvre. No doubt he was a feminine man, but was he indeed homosexual? With the eyes of today you could call Couperus non-binary, a little man, a little woman.
It's ultimately about finding your inner rainbow. Don't live someone else's life. Live your own life and don't let yourself be pigeonholed.