The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

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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.

About Penelope Fitzgerald

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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?"
Published April 15, 1997 by Mariner Books. 244 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Blue Flower

Kirkus Reviews

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Says he: `` `Something happened to me.' '' This cheerful, careless, laughing child-woman becomes Fritz's star, his guide, ``his Philosophy.'' Against all precedent (Sophie isn't of the real nobility), and in keeping with the changing times (there's been the revolution in France), he gets his fath...

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The New York Times

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“The Blue Flower,” a production by the Prospect Theater Company at the West End Theater, bites off a compelling chunk of the 20th century and presents it in a way that too often resembles a disjointed historical pageant: See Paris in the teens!

Feb 15 2008 | Read Full Review of The Blue Flower

Publishers Weekly

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In the introduction to his translation of Novalis's Henry von Ofterdingen, Palmer Hilty described Sophie von Kuhn as ""a callow, undistinguished girl of Thuringia."" Not a terribly inspiring subject, unless the writer is Fitzgerald, the author of the 1979 Booker Prize winner Offshore and a shortl...

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AV Club

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Set during the height of German Romanticism, former Booker Prize winner Penelope Fitzgerald's 1995 novel The Blue Flower, recently published for the first time in America, portrays true events in the life of Friedrich von Hardenberg, best known for his poetic work under the name Novalis.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of The Blue Flower


But Fritz, who will eventually earn a place in the German literary pantheon under the pen name Novalis, calls Sophie his "heart's heart" and makes his love the anchor of his art.

Apr 14 1997 | Read Full Review of The Blue Flower

London Review of Books

He was the Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and the King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University.

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The Paris Review

It’s a town: it’s not a village and it’s not a city.

Sep 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Blue Flower

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