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The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

The Blue Flower (original 1995; edition 1997)

by Penelope Fitzgerald

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1,305335,987 (3.57)160
Title:The Blue Flower
Authors:Penelope Fitzgerald
Info:Mariner Books (1997), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, Books Marly has read
Tags:Fiction, Booker Prize, English Literature, England

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The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (1995)


Checked out 2014-04-22



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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
This book didn't really do anything for me one way or the other. When I finished reading I wasn't sure of a lot of things. I wasn't sure if I liked what I read and I wasn't really sure I remembered what I read either. I picked this book because it was longlisted for the Orange Prize (Now Women's Prize for Fiction) and I assumed that meant it would be an enjoyable read or have some aspect to it that would capture me somehow. I didn't dislike my time with this book, but I certainly didn't find it entertaining, nor did I see what the fuss was about. I feel somewhat pressured by the four and five star reviews I have seen to go back, read this again and try and work out where the book and I went so wrong before, but I can't really make myself think about doing that right now. Maybe in a few years I'll give it another go. For now I will just admit that other readers found something in this book that I didn't have a clue even existed. I can't find the greatness, but I won't say it's bad either. ( )
  mirrani | Jan 5, 2016 |
a really hypnotically brilliant love story ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
a really hypnotically brilliant love story ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
a really hypnotically brilliant love story ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
"We are all free to imagine what the world is like, and since we probably all imagine it differently, there is no reason at all to believe in the fixed reality of things" Professor Johann Gottlieb Fichte says speaking of the philosophy of Kant (which he believed he had greatly improved upon: Kant believed in the external world) at the first lecture Fritz attended at Jena where he studied history and philosophy.

And Fritz imagines. Then Sophie, his muse, his "Philosophie" gets ill:

"Shall I stay?"
"If you stayed here, you would not be wanted as a nurse", the Mandelsloh replied. "You would be wanted as a liar".
Fritz raised his heavy head. "What then should I say?
"You look a little better this morning Söphen."

"I could not lie to her, more than I could lie to myself."
"I don´t know to what extent a poet lies to himself."

And later, at home to his brother Erasmus:
"I could not stay," Fritz told him.

Paradox and irony are too reductive words for describing this powerful book about the clash of the worlds, the material and the spiritual. Now they are all dead, Sophia, Fritz, Karoline, Erasmus, the Bernhard and all the rest of them, the courageous and the foolish alike. Truly no imagination saved them from that - All dead? What about the blue flower? Oh - it blooms. With a fragrance more contagious than consumption, it flowers with a deadly flame that burns with the life we bring to it, all who are fond of reading, telling stories, convey....

Materially: So easy reading, uncomplicated storyline, straightforward language, short.
Spiritually: I share Fritz feeling when carrying Bernhard, saving him from drowning. "How heavy a child is when it gives up responsibility". Left more than a bit blue, carrying the book .... heavy actually, by the reality it forwards, of what lives and what dies. ( )
  Mikalina | Aug 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fitzgerald, Penelopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
D'Amico, MasolinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dehn, EdmundNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krüger, ChristaÜbersetzersecondary 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
First words
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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