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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.
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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.Book Description:
Mariner paperback, 1997, previous ISBN 978-0-395-85997-1
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