1997 National Book Critics Circle Award Winner in Fiction
Synopses & Reviews
“An astonishing book . . . Fitzgerald’s greatest triumph.” —New York Times Book Review
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.
“An extraordinary imagining . . . an original masterpiece.” —Hermione Lee, Financial Times
"Fitzgerald is alternately witty and poignant, especially in her portrayal of the intelligent, capable women who are too often taken for granted by the oblivious poets....[An] alternately biting and touching exploration of the nature of Romanticism." Publishers weekly
"A little treasure; highly recommended." Library Journal
"A historical novel that's touching, funny, unflinchingly tragic, and at the same time uncompromising in its accuracy, learning, and detail: a book that brings its subject entirely alive, almost nothing seeming beyond its grasp." Kirkus Reviews
In eighteenth-century Germany, the impetuous student of philosophy who will later gain fame as the Romantic poet Novalis seeks his father's permission to wed his true philosophy a plain, simple child named Sophie. The attachment shocks his family and friends. This brilliant young man, betrothed to a twelve-year-old dullard! How can it be?
A literary sensation and a bestseller in England and the United States, The Blue Flower was one of eleven books and the only paperback chosen as an Editor's Choice by the New York Times Book Review.
Set in the age of Goethe, in the small towns and great universities of late-eighteenth-century Germany, THE BLUE FLOWER tells the true story of a passionate, impetuous student of philosophy who will later gain fame as the Romantic poet Novalis, and of his curious obsession for his one "true philosophy" -- the plain and simple twelve-year-old Sophie. The irrationality of love and the clarity of purpose that come with knowing one's own fate -- these are the themes that Penelope Fitzgerald explores here with her trademark mix of wit, grace, and mischievous humor.
About the Author
Penelope Fitzgerald wrote many books small in size but enormous in popular and critical acclaim over the past two decades.