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The Black Tulip

Alexandre Dumas

Book Overview: 

The Black Tulip, written by Alexandre Dumas, is a historical novel placed in the time of Tulipmania in the Netherlands. The novel begins with the 1672 politically motivated mob lynching of the de Witt brothers and then follows the story of Cornelius van Baerle, godson of Cornelius de Wit. Cornelius Van Baerle has joined the race to breed a truly black tulip – and to win the prize of 100,000 guilders, as well as fame and honor. As he nears his goal he is jailed and then of course rescued – by the beautiful Rosa, daughter of the jailer.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ir mutual devotion in the face of death made sure the existence of their brotherly affection beyond the grave.

At the time when Cornelius van Baerle began to devote himself to tulip-growing, expending on this hobby his yearly revenue and the guilders of his father, there was at Dort, living next door to him, a citizen of the name of Isaac Boxtel who from the age when he was able to think for himself had indulged the same fancy, and who was in ecstasies at the mere mention of the word "tulban," which (as we are assured by the "Floriste Francaise," the most highly considered authority in matters relating to this flower) is the first word in the Cingalese tongue which was ever used to designate that masterpiece of floriculture which is now called the tulip.

Boxtel had not the good fortune of being rich, like Van Baerle. He had therefore, with great care and patience, and by dint of strenuous exertions, laid out near his house at Dort a garden fit for the c. . . Read More

Community Reviews

”Contempt for flowers is an offence against God. The lovelier the flower, the greater the offence in despising it. The tulip is the loveliest of all flowers. So whoever despised the tulip offends God immeasurably.”

In 1672 two brothers Cornelius and Johan de Witt (Grand Pensionary/prime minister o...more

The Black Tulip is set in the Netherlands in 1672. It is the story of Cornelius van Baerle and Rosa Gryphus. Hindered by some very unfortunate circumstances they join forces to grow the elusive black tulip. Whilst it is not precisely historically accurate, I think Dumas did an excellent job to ca...more

“Era il 20 agosto dell'anno di grazia 1672”. Così inizia questa avventura, che in perfetto stile Dumas entra subito nel vivo della storia. Intrigo politico, interessi personali, innamoramenti ne fanno un classico senza tempo. Il ritmo è serrato, incalza il lettore e si divora e i personaggi piace...more

3.5 rounded up.

Nothing makes me feel like a youngster again quite like reading Dumas. He is a consummate storyteller and when you are reading the story is everything, you are immersed in it, you are suffering the confinement and the injustice and the suspense. The romance is necessary, but not te...more

What I like with Alexandre Dumas is that he’s easy to read, despite the facts that he’s clever, he always made historical researches (or had them done by Auguste Maquet?) for his historical novels or plays and had a good knowledge of men hearts, minds and behaviours. The only thing that he misses...more

Obra típica do romantismo francês com um pano de fundo real centrado na história da Holanda no séc XVII, no auge do fascínio pelo cultivo e comercialização das tulipas.
A tentativa de criação de uma nova tulipa, perfeita e imaculadamente negra, serve de pretexto para uma história de mistério, inve...more

This is a brilliant piece of work by Alexander Dumas. The story holds many themes: love, courage, honesty and jealousy; and Dumas has woven all these themes in to one of the history's most beautifully said stories.

The story mainly revolves around Dr. Cornelius Van Baerle, a tulip grower who has...more


It has been a long time since I've read anything from Alexandre Dumas and so I was looking forward to this novel.

The Black Tulip takes place in Holland, not France, and is on a much smaller scale than expected. Dumas usually paints on a huge canvas but not this time. The first few chapters do...more

"Laleaua neagră" prezintă punctele slabe ale societăţii olandeze din secolul XVII, mai precis, ale anului 1672, când în Olanda -după cum istoria grăieşte- au avut loc manifestaţii ce priveau oscilaţia între simpatia populară pentru monarhie şi cea pentru caracterul republican al statului (aşa cum...more

Alexandre Dumas was best known for his historical novels of adventure and romance which blended fact and fiction with real and imagined characters. The Black Tulip wasn't as popular among his critics as his better known works such as The Count of Monte Cristo, but his readers were happy with it w...more

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