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The Blue Flower: A Novel (original 1995; edition 2014)
by Penelope Fitzgerald (Author)
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (1995)
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a weird book, nothing at all like her three others I've read, each of which I thought exceptional. It is a very unusual view for me, but I simply did not get the point of this work at all- as I opened with, just weird. Even the artwork in the folio edition is grotesque and ugly, and it seems I am just missing some underlying vein. ( )
Mmm. I've heard how excellent this book is so I'd love to consume it, but in audio form, I haven't got into it - I'll persist a bit longer. I must admit, the idea that the poet falls in love with a 12 year old was a barrier.
i am not sure what the purpose of this was. it was much easier to read a period piece (late 1700s) than i expected, and i came to care more about the characters than i thought i would, but...i don't feel there was any reason for this book. i know that sounds harsh. maybe there is value in showing me that perhaps it wasn't totally gross for a man in his mid twenties to "fall in love" with a girl of 12? (he was waiting until she was of age to marry her or touch her, so there's that.) maybe i learned a little what it was like to live around 1800 in germany. but not much, so i don't know.
this was easy to read, well written, a little funny in parts, and probably commentary on something. but seemed to me to be largely pointless. i'd read her again as this subject was certainly a bit niche.
This was an odd one, but I liked it. The novel is ostensibly a fictionalization of the life of Friedrich von Hardenberg, the romantic poet who wrote under the pseudonym Novalis. But it's more a tragicomedy of manners, painting a fascinating little portrait of the 18th-century German aristocratic intelligentsia—Goethe makes a cameo—with a really delightfully arch tone. You just can't beat period snark, and Fitzgerald pulls it off coupled with plenty of sympathy for her characters—many of whom are hapless, doomed, or both. What there is of plot kind of knuckles under to the very precise details of the day and the language... it reminded me a bit of Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Corner That Held Them in that regard. Anyway, a strange little book but a fun one.
Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4lYRgbrSmA
Was aber an anderen Romanen von Fitzgerald als Understatement, Verdichtung und subtile Psychologisierung gelobt wird, verkehrt sich hier ins Gegenteil: die Figuren scheinen trotz immer wieder behaupteter körperlicher und seelischer Schmerzen kaum leidensfähig, der Leser wird mit diffusen Anspielungen auf zentrale Themen der Romantik (Bergbau, Krankheit) allein gelassen. Woher das "gewisse unaussprechbare Gefühl von Unsterblichkeit" rührt, das Novalis beim Anblick der über zwei Jahre dahinsiechenden Sophie empfindet, bleibt unklar. So hinterläßt der Roman einen ebenso zwiespältigen Eindruck wie Sophies begrenzte Schreibkünste: "tausent Krüße an alles mit einanter" - charmant, aber doch eher unverständlich.
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.
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A fictionalized biography of the 18th Century German poet, Friedrich Leopold von Hardenberg, who wrote under the nom de plume, Novalis. The novel centers on his philosophy ("My conviction gains infinitely the moment another soul will believe in it.") and on his romance with Sophie von Kuhn, 12, who became his muse, but who died of tuberculosis before they could marry. By the author of The Gates of Angels.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.914Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1945-1999
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