This book contains 30 illustrations by B. Reith, made in 1917. Only in 1927 the first illustrated edition of Psyche with drawings by Reith was published in the Netherlands. In 2014 an integral edition of Couperus’ fairy tales Psyche and Fidessa was published with all of Reith’s illustrations, 75 in total. The illustrations for Couperus fit in with the Art Nouveau style from around the turn of the century. Reith’s original drawings are kept in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. Reith (1894-1974) was a Dutch graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist, art teacher, author, book cover designer and art collector. Reith illustrated numerous books, especially children’s books.
Psyche is based on Apuleius’ story of Cupid and Psyche. It tells us about the king’s daughter of that name and her two sisters, Emeralda and Astra. After the death of their father, Emeralda, the eldest sister, ascends to the throne of the Kingdom of the Past. Fearing her unscrupulous sibling, Psyche flees the castle on the back of the flying steed Chimera. She plunges into the unknown world outside the castle walls. On her magical journey she comes into contact with a Satyr, the Sphinx, weeps a river, marries Eros, traverses the underworld and turns from innocent beauty into untamed princess. Eventually, she dies by the hand of Emeralda. This wonderfully dramatic story speaks of innocence, purity, decay, hope and despair. The underlying morality of succumbing to passion and the threat this can pose still stands the test of time today.
Author: Louis Couperus
Price: € 22,50