Bitter Bonds

A Colonial Divorce Drama of the Seventeenth Century
Markus Wiener Publishing Inc
  • erschienen am 15. Juli 2001
  • Buch
  • |
  • Softcover
  • |
  • 208 Seiten
978-1-55876-253-4 (ISBN)
In seventeenth-century Batavia, Cornelia van Nijenroode, the daughter of a geisha and a Dutch merchant in Japan, was known as "otemba" (meaning "untamable"), which made her a heroine to modern Japanese feminists. A wealthy widow and enterprising businesswoman who had married an unsuccessful Dutch lawyer for social reasons, she discovered that just after her wedding, she and her husband were at each other's throats. Cornelia insisted on maintaining independent power of disposal over her assets, but legally her husband had control over her possessions and refused to grant her permission to engage in commerce. He soon began using blackmail, smuggling, and secret accounts to channel her wealth back to the Dutch Republic. Cornelia fought back and tried to get a divorce. The struggle - complete with legal subterfuge, mutual recriminations, and even public brawls - would drag on for fifteen years and culminate in only a partial victory for Cornelia.
  • Englisch
  • Princeton
  • |
  • USA
  • Für höhere Schule und Studium
  • |
  • Für Beruf und Forschung
  • Höhe: 229 mm
  • |
  • Breite: 152 mm
  • |
  • Dicke: 12 mm
  • 313 gr
978-1-55876-253-4 (9781558762534)
1558762531 (1558762531)
LEONARD BLUSSE, University of Leiden, is a former Davis Fellow at Princeton University and author of several books on East Asia. Bitter Bride received the leading Dutch literary award and has been translated into several languages.
The Economist chose this as one of its Books of the Year: "The story of a rich, half-Japanese beauty in Batavia and her tempestuous divorce from a cold, tough colonial official. Leonard Blusse's new book is...for the light it casts on love and life on a colonial frontier, the most illuminating since 'The Cheese and the Worms'." In Times Literary Supplement's "Books of the Year" (2002), Felipeo Fernandez-Armesto writes: "Bitter Bonds is the most intriguing work of micro-history since The Return of Martin Guerre." Choice: "A 17th-century daughter of a geisha and a Dutch merchant, widow of a wealthy Dutch official of the Dutch East India Company, married a Dutch lawyer in Batavia only to find he controlled her fortune and her life. She fought to maintain her independence. Superb research and detective work have pieced together a story of marital relations, the Dutch East India Company, and European-Asian legal differences with a rare view of the interior of colonial life in the 17th century. The book's most intriguing element is the fight that a Japanese-Dutch widow was able to put up against the forces of Western imperialism... The research is sound and the portrayal original and enlightening in this fascinating historical drama of colonial relations between Holland and its markets and colonies in Japan and Indonesia..." Journal of Asian Studies: "In 1689 Cornelia van Nijenroode reached Holland from Batavia (today s Jakarta) to argue in the High Court why she should be granted divorce and security of her assets from her estranged husband, Johan Bitter. . . . He represents the world of Holland and Holland overseas. Cornelia represents Batavia s Eurasian world and Japan overseas. . . . Bluss . . . has pried her story from legal proceedings, family archives, letters, and municipal and church archives compiled in Batavia and Holland. He has also visited Cornelia s birthplace in Japan to construct a biography of this Eurasian woman whose portrait hangs in Amsterdam s Rijksmuseum. . . . Through his narrative, we hear words spoken by Asian slaves, their owners, and ministers of religion; we learn about Eurasian women who provided mortgages to Chinese businessmen. Bluss brings all this in a form aimed to appeal to a general reading public: fictional monologs and reproductions of sketches and paintings by seventeenth-century recorders of Dutch urban life in Asia and Holland enliven the text. Bitter Bonds . . . is a rich depiction of societies long gone and an excellent introduction for the students to the intersections of race,gender, and class in Asia and Europe." --THE JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES

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