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The world of Ouida

Great Britain, Bury Saint Edmunds, January 1, 1839. On the first day of the new year, Marie Louise Ramé sees the light of day. She herself prefers to go through life as Marie Louise de la Ramée. Her father is French. Mother Susan Sutton is the daughter of a British wine merchant. As an English-speaking child, she has a hard time pronouncing her name. 'Louise' becomes 'Ouida', the pseudonym under which she later publishes.

Marie-Louise is not delighted with her quiet native region. In 1867 she exchanges the quiet countryside for an apartment in London's Langham Hotel. She organizes literary evenings for soldiers and politicians, writers and artists. Ouida becomes a much-discussed figure.


In 1871, Ouida leaves cold England and travels to Italy. She stops in Belgium where she stays in Brussels. The Belgian state is still young and in full industrial development. In our regions she is confronted with child labor and with dogs pulling carts.


Marie-Louise de la Ramée
hondenkar Antwerpen 2.jpg

Ouida visits a few large cities, but her preference is for Antwerp, the city of Rubens that she admires so much.  

In Italy, mother and daughter settle in Scandicci, a village south of Florence. Ouida lives lavishly. She collects art, buys expensive clothes, rides a horse and develops into a passionate animal activist.  


In her work she mocks the London High Society and publishes critical pieces on the social issues of the time. The circles in which she moves are a source of inspiration. Her work is an amalgamation of romanticism and social criticism. Ouida writes more than 40 novellas, children's books and a collection of short stories and essays. She is successful, but struggles to manage her money.  

On January 25, 1908, Marie-Louise died in poor circumstances. Her grave is in the English cemetery in Bagni di Lucca.

'A dog of Flanders, an unprecedented view of Flanders'
Didier Volckaert, An Van Dienderen and others
ISBN 978 90 209 88581

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