The Blue Flower

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr 15, 1997 - Fiction - 240 pages
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. The 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award Winner in Fiction.

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User Review  - Kirkus

The German poet Novalis (1772-1801) was really Friedrich Leopold von Hardenberg and Fitzgerald (The Gates of Angels, 1992; Offshore, 1987, etc.) here re-creates him, his family, his doomed young lover ... Read full review

The blue flower

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Fitzgerald never repeats herself, and her latest novel, named Book of the Year by 19 British newspapers in 1995, is her most original book yet. Here she reconstructs the life of 18th-century German ... Read full review


1 Washday
2 The Study
3 The Bernhard
4 Bernhards Red Cap
5 The History of Freiherr Heinrich von Hardenberg
6 Uncle Wilhelm
7 The Freiherr and the French Revolution
8 In Jena
30 Sophies Likeness
31 I Could Not Paint Her
32 The Way Leads Inwards
33 At Jena
34 The GardenHouse
35 Sophie is Cold Through and Through
36 Dr Hofrat Ebhard
37 What is Pain?

9 An Incident in Student Life
10 A Question of Money
11 A Disagreement
12 The Sense of Immortality
13 The Just Family
14 Fritz at Tennstedt
15 Justen
16 The Jena Circle
17 What is the Meaning?
18 The Rockenthiens
19 A Quarter of an Hour
20 The Nature of Desire
21 Snow
22 Now Let Me Get to Know Her
23 I Cant Comprehend Her
24 The Brothers
25 Christmas at Weissenfels
26 The Mandelsloh
27 Erasmus Calls on Karoline Just
28 From Sophies Diary 1795
29 A Second Reading
38 Karoline at Griiningen
39 The Quarrel
40 How to Run a Salt Mine
41 Sophie at Fourteen
42 The Freifrau in the Garden
43 The Engagement Party
44 The Intended
45 She Must Go to Jena
46 Visitors
47 How Professor Stark Managed
48 To Schloben
49 At the Rose
50 A Dream
51 Autumn 1796
52 Erasmus is of Service
53 A Visit to Magister Kegel
54 Algebra Like Laudanum Deadens Pain
55 Magister Kegels Lesson Afterword
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About the author (1997)

PENELOPE FITZGERALD wrote many books small in size but enormous in popular and critical acclaim over the past two decades. Over 300,000 copies of her novels are in print, and profiles of her life appeared in both The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. In 1979, her novel Offshore won Britain's Booker Prize, and in 1998 she won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for The Blue Flower. Though Fitzgerald embarked on her literary career when she was in her 60's, her career was praised as "the best argument ... for a publishing debut made late in life" (New York Times Book Review). She told the New York Times Magazine, "In all that time, I could have written books and I didn’t. I think you can write at any time of your life." Dinitia Smith, in her New York Times Obituary of May 3, 2000, quoted Penelope Fitzgerald from 1998 as saying, "I have remained true to my deepest convictions, I mean to the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy, for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?"

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