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hello from rotterdam, the netherlands! - The Epistolary Novel

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July 12th, 2005

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04:03 pm - hello from rotterdam, the netherlands!
hi everybody,

just a short introduction. i love all sorts of stories, but lately i have really discovered 18th century literature. this is also because of a wonderful 18th century dutch author, isabelle de charrière, also known as belle van zuylen in the netherlands. i absolutely love les liaisons dangereuses, so i am looking forward to discussing it with all of you.

and no, i do not have a background in literature. i am a legal consultant to the state council, but stories are my passion.

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Date:July 13th, 2005 09:47 am (UTC)

I don't know anything about Isabelle de Charrière - could you tell me a bit about her?
Date:July 14th, 2005 09:24 am (UTC)


Isabella, or Belle as she was called by her family and friends, was the daughter of the dutch baron and baroness Van Tyull van Serooskerken, who lived at the castle of Zuylen (near the city of Utrecht), and that was why she was known as Belle de Zuylen (Belle of Zuylen), in French, since that was the language the upperclass dutch spoke in the 18th century (Belle live from 1740-1805). In the Netherlands she is known as Belle van Zuylen, which means the same. As a young girl she wrote the short story Le Noble, in which she shows how silly it is to be too proud of your family tree. At the age of 31 she finally married the swiss De Charrière (after several candidates were refused, among them James Boswell, best known for his The Life of Samuel Johnson) and she moved to Le Pontet, near Geneva. In was in Switzerland where she wrote most of her work. She tried her hand at different genres. Her novel Sainte Anne very much has a Jane Austen feel to it, I think. Nowadays she is mostly remembered for her correspondence. She was an amazing modern woman, which becomes very apparent when you read her letters.

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