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The Blue Flower: A Novel by Penelope…

The Blue Flower: A Novel (original 1995; edition 2014)

by Penelope Fitzgerald (Author), Candia McWilliam (Introduction)

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1,562377,213 (3.58)194
Title:The Blue Flower: A Novel
Authors:Penelope Fitzgerald (Author)
Other authors:Candia McWilliam (Introduction)
Info:Mariner Books (2014), Edition: Reissue, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:want to read

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The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (1995)



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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
This was an odd book. the writing was, at times, lovely, but I couldn't get into the spirit of it. A fictional account of the early life of the man how later became the author Novalis. he just failed to engage me. Not sure I can explain why. ( )
  Helenliz | Jul 12, 2019 |
The Blue Flower refers to an uncompleted story that the late 18th century poet, Novalis, wrote. This book explores the early days of Novalis's (born Friedrich von Hardenberg) formation as a poet. Fritz grows up in a very large family, and Fitzgerald explores his relationships with his siblings. Also, he works in the family's salt mines. Most importantly, he meets and falls in love with 12 year old Sophie von Kuhn. Yes, 12 years old. Before they marry she contracts tuberculosis and dies. The book stops there, but the epilogue gives the sad story of the early deaths of most of the characters in the book.

This is a pretty brief book considering how much more Fitzgerald could have explored with these people, but I think it worked well. I don't know much about this era of Germany, except for the study of musicians and composers at the time, who of course were also influenced by the philosophers, poets, and writers of the day. It's an interesting time period and I'd like to read more about it. Interesting to contrast with what was going on in France at the time.

Recommended for literary historical fiction readers. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 7, 2019 |
Set in the late 1700s in Germany, The Blue Flower is a fictional account of the life of Fritz von Hardenberg, who would later become known as the romantic poet and philosopher Novalis. Born into a noble, pious family, young Fritz's future has already been mapped out for him; he will follow in his father's footsteps in the Salt Mines Directorate. Yet as he studies, Fritz's predisposition for thought and romanticism leads to him becoming utterly entranced with the 12 year old Sophie whom he believes to be his muse.

The Blue Flower was a lot more 'readable' than I'd expected. Whilst Fitzgerald plays with Fritz's elevated thinking (which touches on humorous madness at times), there was so much more to this novel than simply being an account of the early life of this renowned man of literature and philosophy. With well researched historical detail, we are swept back to the times of eighteenth century nobility in Germany, as von Hardenberg breaks all the expected rules of his position and intellect in his pursuit of this vacuous child from a lower class family.

4 stars - first class historical fiction that swept me away with it. ( )
  AlisonY | Feb 3, 2019 |
Eh. I think I am not good enough at this type of fiction to get it. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
The Blue Flower is set in the age of Goethe, in the small towns and great universities of late eighteenth-century Germany. It tells the true story of Friedrich von Hardenberg, a passionate, impetuous student of philosophy who will later gain fame as the Romantic poet Novalis. Fritz seeks his father’s permission to wed his “heart's heart,” his “spirit's guide”—a plain, simple child named Sophie von Kühn. It is an attachment that shocks his family and friends. Their brilliant young Fritz, betrothed to a twelve-year-old dullard? How can this be? The irrationality of love, the transfiguration of the commonplace, the clarity of purpose that comes with knowing one’s own fate—these are the themes of this beguiling novel, themes treated with a mix of wit, grace, and mischievous humor unique to the art of Penelope Fitzgerald.
  Cultural_Attache | Jul 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Penelope Fitzgerald's writing is rife with odd, almost impossible contradictions: She is a minimalist who celebrates an abundance of details, a miniaturist who can unravel the mysteries of human character with five words of dialogue. In the closely observed realm of her slim, 1995 novel titled The Blue Flower, readers are plunged so suddenly, intimately and irrevocably into the physical and intellectual world of 18th-century Germany – which produced, among others, Goethe and Hegel – the 21st century becomes merely a faintly remembered acquaintance.....Sensual feast that it is, however, this book brings the reader back again and again to the growing, transmogrifying child – the blue flower – at its heart....

Penelope Fitzgerald uses fiction to examine an 18th-century German poet and his doomed love for a 12-year-old ...It is hard to know where to begin to praise the book. First off, I can think of no better introduction to the Romantic era: its intellectual exaltation, its political ferment, its brilliant amateur self-scrutiny, its propensity for intense friendships and sibling relationships, its uncertain morals, its rumors and reputations and meetings, its innocence and its refusal of limits. Also, ''The Blue Flower'' is a wholly convincing account of that very difficult subject, genius.

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fitzgerald, Penelopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
D'Amico, MasolinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dehn, EdmundNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krüger, ChristaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McWilliam, CandiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Novels arise out of the shortcomings of history.'
F. von Hardenberg, later Novalis, Fragments und Studien, 1799 - 1800
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Jacob Dietmahler was not such a fool that he could not see that they had arrived at his friend's house on the washday.
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Book description
This historical novel based on 18th century Germany that tells of Novalis, a poet, and his inspiration, a teenage girl named Sophie.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395859972, Paperback)

Penelope Fitzgerald wrote her first novel 20 years ago, at the age of 59. Since then, she's written eight more, three of which have been short-listed for England's prestigious Booker Prize, and one of which, Offshore, won. Now she's back with her tenth and best book so far, The Blue Flower. This is the story of Friedrich von Hardenberg--Fritz, to his intimates--a young man of the late 18th century who is destined to become one of Germany's great romantic poets. In just over 200 pages, Fitzgerald creates a complete world of family, friends and lovers, but also an exhilarating evocation of the romantic era in all its political turmoil, intellectual voracity, and moral ambiguity. A profound exploration of genius, The Blue Flower is also a charming, wry, and witty look at domestic life. Fritz's family--his eccentric father and high-strung mother; his loving sister, Sidonie; and brothers Erasmus, Karl, and the preternaturally intelligent baby of the family, referred to always as the Bernhard--are limned in deft, sure strokes, and it is in his interactions with them that the ephemeral quality of genius becomes most tangible. Even his unlikely love affair with young Sophie von Kühn makes perfect sense as Penelope Fitzgerald imagines it.

The Blue Flower is a magical book--funny, sad, and deeply moving. In Fritz Fitzgerald has discovered a perfect character through whom to explore the meaning of love, poetry, life, and loss. In The Blue Flower readers will find a work of fine prose, fierce intelligence, and perceptive characterization.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Set in Germany at the end of the 18th century, this book tells the story of the brilliant young Fritz von Hardenberg, later to become the great romantic philosopher & poet. He announces his engagement to a 12 year old girl, to his family's consternation.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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