The Blue Flower

Books 138 Comment
E Book The Blue Flower Oh dear Awful Just awful Even more so given how much I adored my first Penelope Fitzgerald last summer Offshore see my review HERE and that AS Byatt called this a master

E-Book The Blue Flower Oh dear. Awful. Just awful. Even more so, given how much I adored my first Penelope Fitzgerald last summer, Offshore (see my review HERE) and that AS Byatt called this "a masterpiece". I'm baffled.The prose is plodding - even though it's portraying a poet: short, banal sentence, after short banal sentence. I found the characters, setting and plot hard to imagine, care about or believe in - even though it's based on real life. I forced myself to finish it, thinking there must be something worthwhile to come. I failed to find it. I was just bored. And irritated.True StoryThis is a fictionalised account, but it seems to be fairly close to the facts, and some of the diary entries quoted here, are genuine historical documents.It's set in a noble, pious, Protestant family in Germany, in the late 1700s. It concerns Fritz, who later became a famous romantic and philosophical poet known as Novalis. This book covers the slightly earlier period, around the time he succumbed to a coup de foudre over twelve-year old Sophie. Given the period, it's all very chaste; nothing like Lolita (see my review HERE), which is a far more disturbing book, but is beautifully written, and hence powerful and compelling. So no, nothing like this.PlotFritz attends university in several towns, studying a variety of subjects and dabbling in philosophy. He meets various people. Afterwards, he trains to be a salt mine inspector like his father. He meets more people, including Sophie's family. He is welcomed, and spends a lot of time there. It's another large family, but utterly different from his own. Goethe makes an appearance and gives his opinion on the relationship.The French Revolution is going on in the background. Some are slightly fearful; others vaguely support it.The brief afterword made me laugh: it was like a satirical summary of a typical operatic plot. Even less appropriately, it reminded me of a scene in comedy sci-fi show, Red Dwarf: (view spoiler)[Holly to Lister, "They're all dead. Everybody's dead, Dave." (hide spoiler)]The Blue FlowerWhat a pretty image. It's the title of a novel Fritz starts to write about "unspeakable longings" for such a flower.This may be another reason the book didn't "wow" me. Blue is my favourite colour, but I wasn't sufficiently awed by the exoticism of a blue flower. It may not be the most common hue, but blue flowers have always featured prominently in my life. Spring is marked by walks to the beech woods to see carpets of bluebells; my mother pots blue hyacinths each year to give to family and friends; my granny grew delphiniums and hydrangeas in profusion, and in more recent years, nearby fields are filled with linseed flowers (so much nicer than the garish yellow of rapeseed). He first reads his poem to Karoline, saying he wrote it for her. Then he reads it to Sophie, as if it's for her. The "test" for both is to understand its deep meaning.Sophie is puzzled:"'Do you not know yourself?' she asked doubtfully." to which he says "Sometimes I think I do".The two people who are claimed to understand it are Sophie's doctor, and Fritz's younger, precocious brother, The Bernhard, though I can't say I warmed to The Bernhard's interpretation. The Christmas ReckoningThis was an intriguing and slightly alarming idea. "The mother spoke to her daughters, the father to his sons, and told them first what had displeased, then what had pleased most in their conduct during the past year. In addition, the young Hardenbergs were asked to make a clean breast of anything that they should have told their parents, but had not."Believabality and InconsistencyLove is not rational, and sudden infatuation even less so, but if a poet cannot convey the reasons for his passion for a child who is not especially pretty, intelligent or interested, how can the reader believe it?Fritz's family is large and noble, but poor (nobility are banned from many jobs). Later on, money seems less tight, it's not clear how or why. He was a sickly and apparently backward child, but then turned into a genius, though there's little evidence of that, in his poetry or vague philosophical musings. He does call Sophie "my Philosophy", though, and also "my spirit's guide". We're told that as a the child of a large family he keeps a diary rather than talk to himself, then ten pages later... he's talking to himself a lot. The number and ages of children didn't stack up (Fritz's mother is said to have given birth eight times and later to have eleven children, but no mention of twins, and The Bernhard starts off aged six but is almost adult a few short years later).QuotesDespite the generally leaden prose, there are some nice turns of phrase:• A shy matriarch “seeming of less substance even than the shadows... no more than a shred.”• “a short, unfinished young man.”• “How heavy a child is when it gives up responsibility.”• A man still feels his older brother “appeared to have been sent into the world primarily to irritate him”.• “Earth and air were often indistinguishable in the autumn mist, and morning seemed to pass into afternoon without discernible mid-day.”• “Erasmus would... enroll in the school of forestry, a wholesome open-air life for which so far he had shown no inclination whatsoever.”• “Jollity is as relentless as piety.”• “If a story begins with finding, it must end with searching.”• At the fair, “A fine young woman still, what a pity she has no affianced to treat her to a pig's nostril!"• Mining “is not a violation of Nature's secrets, but a release.”• In a music room, “the airy space faithfully carried every note, balanced it, and let it fall reluctantly.”• “the remorseless perseverance of the truly pleasure-loving.”• “Even in his garden-house, melancholy caught him by the sleeve.”NomenclatureA quirk, which was unfamiliar to me, was the naming. Sophie is often called Sophgen, Fritz's parents as the Freifrau and the Freiherr, and many others are referred to as "the [something]". When many of the characters are thin, an extra veil doesn't help.. The Blue Flower am Ebook Penelope Fitzgerald wrote her first novel 20 years ago, at the age of 59 Since then, she s written eight , 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 manPenelope Fitzgerald wrote her first novel 20 years ago, at the age of 59 Since then, she s written eight , 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 K hn 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.. Penelope Fitzgerald was an English novelist, poet, essayist and biographer In 2008, The Times included her in a list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945 In 2012, The Observer named her final novel, The Blue Flower, as one of the ten best historical novels Fitzgerald was the author of nine novels Her novel Offshore was the winner of the Booker Prize A further three novels The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels also made the shortlist.She was educated at Wycombe Abbey and Somerville College, Oxford university, from which she graduated in 1938 with a congratulatory First.. A viral Ebook The Blue Flower Oh dear. Awful. Just awful. Even more so, given how much I adored my first Penelope Fitzgerald last summer, Offshore (see my review HERE) and that AS Byatt called this "a masterpiece". I'm baffled.The prose is plodding - even though it's portraying a poet: short, banal sentence, after short banal sentence. I found the characters, setting and plot hard to imagine, care about or believe in - even though it's based on real life. I forced myself to finish it, thinking there must be something worthwhile to come. I failed to find it. I was just bored. And irritated.True StoryThis is a fictionalised account, but it seems to be fairly close to the facts, and some of the diary entries quoted here, are genuine historical documents.It's set in a noble, pious, Protestant family in Germany, in the late 1700s. It concerns Fritz, who later became a famous romantic and philosophical poet known as Novalis. This book covers the slightly earlier period, around the time he succumbed to a coup de foudre over twelve-year old Sophie. Given the period, it's all very chaste; nothing like Lolita (see my review HERE), which is a far more disturbing book, but is beautifully written, and hence powerful and compelling. So no, nothing like this.PlotFritz attends university in several towns, studying a variety of subjects and dabbling in philosophy. He meets various people. Afterwards, he trains to be a salt mine inspector like his father. He meets more people, including Sophie's family. He is welcomed, and spends a lot of time there. It's another large family, but utterly different from his own. Goethe makes an appearance and gives his opinion on the relationship.The French Revolution is going on in the background. Some are slightly fearful; others vaguely support it.The brief afterword made me laugh: it was like a satirical summary of a typical operatic plot. Even less appropriately, it reminded me of a scene in comedy sci-fi show, Red Dwarf: (view spoiler)[Holly to Lister, "They're all dead. Everybody's dead, Dave." (hide spoiler)]The Blue FlowerWhat a pretty image. It's the title of a novel Fritz starts to write about "unspeakable longings" for such a flower.This may be another reason the book didn't "wow" me. Blue is my favourite colour, but I wasn't sufficiently awed by the exoticism of a blue flower. It may not be the most common hue, but blue flowers have always featured prominently in my life. Spring is marked by walks to the beech woods to see carpets of bluebells; my mother pots blue hyacinths each year to give to family and friends; my granny grew delphiniums and hydrangeas in profusion, and in more recent years, nearby fields are filled with linseed flowers (so much nicer than the garish yellow of rapeseed). He first reads his poem to Karoline, saying he wrote it for her. Then he reads it to Sophie, as if it's for her. The "test" for both is to understand its deep meaning.Sophie is puzzled:"'Do you not know yourself?' she asked doubtfully." to which he says "Sometimes I think I do".The two people who are claimed to understand it are Sophie's doctor, and Fritz's younger, precocious brother, The Bernhard, though I can't say I warmed to The Bernhard's interpretation. The Christmas ReckoningThis was an intriguing and slightly alarming idea. "The mother spoke to her daughters, the father to his sons, and told them first what had displeased, then what had pleased most in their conduct during the past year. In addition, the young Hardenbergs were asked to make a clean breast of anything that they should have told their parents, but had not."Believabality and InconsistencyLove is not rational, and sudden infatuation even less so, but if a poet cannot convey the reasons for his passion for a child who is not especially pretty, intelligent or interested, how can the reader believe it?Fritz's family is large and noble, but poor (nobility are banned from many jobs). Later on, money seems less tight, it's not clear how or why. He was a sickly and apparently backward child, but then turned into a genius, though there's little evidence of that, in his poetry or vague philosophical musings. He does call Sophie "my Philosophy", though, and also "my spirit's guide". We're told that as a the child of a large family he keeps a diary rather than talk to himself, then ten pages later... he's talking to himself a lot. The number and ages of children didn't stack up (Fritz's mother is said to have given birth eight times and later to have eleven children, but no mention of twins, and The Bernhard starts off aged six but is almost adult a few short years later).QuotesDespite the generally leaden prose, there are some nice turns of phrase:• A shy matriarch “seeming of less substance even than the shadows... no more than a shred.”• “a short, unfinished young man.”• “How heavy a child is when it gives up responsibility.”• A man still feels his older brother “appeared to have been sent into the world primarily to irritate him”.• “Earth and air were often indistinguishable in the autumn mist, and morning seemed to pass into afternoon without discernible mid-day.”• “Erasmus would... enroll in the school of forestry, a wholesome open-air life for which so far he had shown no inclination whatsoever.”• “Jollity is as relentless as piety.”• “If a story begins with finding, it must end with searching.”• At the fair, “A fine young woman still, what a pity she has no affianced to treat her to a pig's nostril!"• Mining “is not a violation of Nature's secrets, but a release.”• In a music room, “the airy space faithfully carried every note, balanced it, and let it fall reluctantly.”• “the remorseless perseverance of the truly pleasure-loving.”• “Even in his garden-house, melancholy caught him by the sleeve.”NomenclatureA quirk, which was unfamiliar to me, was the naming. Sophie is often called Sophgen, Fritz's parents as the Freifrau and the Freiherr, and many others are referred to as "the [something]". When many of the characters are thin, an extra veil doesn't help.
The Blue Flower Shop The Blue Flower The Blue Flower Inspired by Art and History Designed for the Modern Stitcher x Home SHOP Digital Downloads About FAQ Free Pattern Stitching In Action Get in Touch More. The Blue Flower Fitzgerald, Penelope Apr , 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 The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald Sep , Penelope Fitzgerald wrote her first novel years ago, at the age of Since then, she s written eight , 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. Blue flower What Are Some Blue Flowers with pictures wiseGEEK The Blue Flower Summary SuperSummary The Blue Flower is a critically acclaimed historical novel by author Penelope Fitzgerald It tells the story of the formative years of early Romantic poet Friedrich von Hardenberg

About Author

  • Penelope Fitzgerald Post author

    Penelope Fitzgerald was an English novelist, poet, essayist and biographer In 2008, The Times included her in a list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945 In 2012, The Observer named her final novel, The Blue Flower, as one of the ten best historical novels Fitzgerald was the author of nine novels Her novel Offshore was the winner of the Booker Prize A further three novels The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels also made the shortlist.She was educated at Wycombe Abbey and Somerville College, Oxford university, from which she graduated in 1938 with a congratulatory First.

One thought on “The Blue Flower

  • Oh dear Awful Just awful Even so, given how much I adored my first Penelope Fitzgerald last summer, Offshore see my review HERE and that AS Byatt called this a masterpiece I m baffled.The prose is plodding even though it s portraying a poet short, banal sentence, after short banal sentence I found the characters, setting and plot hard to imagine, care about or believe in even though it s based on real life I forced myself to finish it, thinking there must be something worthwhile to come I faile [...]


  • A gorgeous, elliptical book, which I was drawn to by its subject eighteenth century German philosopher and poet becomes obsessed with unattractive twelve year old girl I fell in love with The Blue Flower just like Fritz later known as Novalis did with Sophie, only the book s positive qualities are slightly obvious It s beautifully written, understated, and perhaps touching than you would expect Fitzgerald never demands that you like her characters, and there s no sentimentality, but you care a [...]


  • This is my favourite of the three Fitzgerald novels that I ve read In common with Gate of Angels and The Beginning of Spring a wealth of research has gone into this novel.Our reasons for liking a novel are often subjective and completely unreasonable In my case the place and time of the setting and the intellectual firmament of the characters overlap, and this gives me some happiness It is the end of the Enlightenment and the shattering of the Ancien Regime at least in mainland Europe that provi [...]


  • .each thing has its own characteristic beauty, not only everything organic which expresses itself in the unity on an individual being, but also everything inorganic and formless, and even every manufactured article Schopenhauer This book is the nuts Penelope Fitzgerald has created an affecting novel, based on the early life of Friedrich Fritz von Hardenberg 1772 1801 , the German romantic poet and philosopher later known by the pen name of Novalis Flitting from various viewpoints and places, The [...]


  • I feel The Blue Flower, similar to the historical half of Ali Smith s How to Be Both, isn t and wasn t intended to be so called historical fiction Both writers use the frame of the life of a real person to hang their themes on though the characterization, usually through thought, is vivid Plot is not foremost, though the details of The Blue Flower are accurate as far as I can tell the research had to be extensive and is worn lightly Due to its style I felt a distance, which may be intentional Th [...]


  • The Blue Flower is another of the books my dear old dad got me at Christmas and, like the other one I read, What a Life by JB Priestley, it is a stone cold turkey I m not sure what my pa asked for when he went into the bookstore, but I m pretty sure it was I want to bore my son like he s never been bored before what books do you suggest The novel looks at the short life of Novalis, an obscure late 18th century German Romantic philosopher poet and his relationship with his 14 year old betrothed, [...]


  • This was an overgrown novella I think that actually Dostoevsky would have done this theme justice as it reminds me of The Idiot in some ways the girl s innocence and faux maturity perhaps Thing is if I am going to read about some man s infatuation can t really call it love, can you for a 12 year old girl, which is pedophilia of thought if not action, I want that aspect of it explored Obviously I wasn t going to get the depth of Nabokov with his distasefully wonderful Lolita but this was just to [...]


  • This is a strange and beautiful short novel, which revolves around the young poet Friedrich Von Hardenberg s the 18th century German poet Novalis inexplicable love for the somewhat slow, not particularly lovely 12 year old Sophie Von Kuhn, who would become his fiancee The novel s genius lies in its complete lack of interest in explaining examining the WHY of Hardenberg s love This is not a love story or a romance It is an observation of the sort of ineffable human forces that produce not only lo [...]


  • This is a sad story about a doomed love and short lives But it is a bit of a misfire if the central premise, the love story, does not work.Penelope Fitzgerald was a gifted writer who could make something out of very little and in unlikely circumstances With the The Bookshop she made a memorable story out of a middle aged woman starting a bookshop in a disused, damp a telling detail building in a small English rural town against formidable opposition Here she attempts something ambitious She see [...]


  • Cuando estoy perdida y no s qu leer, cuando pienso que todos los libros son mediocres o cuando me encuentro en una crisis lectora tras varias historias que no brillan, recurro a Fitzgerald Porque esta autora es un xito seguro, por c mo despliega una historia aparentemente sencilla en un universo complejo, por la elegancia de su estilo y c mo mide las descripciones Es una delicia leerla Y m s en una edici n como esta.Para m Fitzgerald es mi tabla de salvaci n cuando los mares de las lecturas no m [...]


  • How dare I refuse to give this book that was named Book of the Year by nineteen British newspapers in 1995 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1997 anything less than a five NYT reviewer Michael Hofmann wrote of The Blue Flower It is an interrogation of life, love, purpose, experience and horizons, which has found its perfect vehicle in a few years from the pitifully short life of a German youth about to become a great poet one living in a period of intellectual and political uphea [...]


  • I picked up this book because it had a pretty cover I noticed it had a blurb on the front from A.S Byatt, whom I rather like, and it also noted that the author, Fitzgerald, was a winner of the prestigious Booker Prize So I looked at the back cover, and saw that it was a historical novel about the early life of the German Romantic poet Novalis which was quite a coincidence, since I d just that month been reading about Novalis and looking at some of his poetry online So I grabbed it However, at fi [...]


  • Antes de pasar a la posteridad como Novalis, el rom ntico Friederich von Hardenberg, se enamor de una joven de doce a os No sabemos si Hardenberg se enamor de la ni a, del concepto del amor, de su juventud, de su inocencia, de su aura virginal o de todo ello La narraci n no es er tica, ni hay ning n asomo de voluptuosidad Lo que Hardenberg siente por Sophie es algo m s plat nico La chica, como le hacen ver los allegados de l no tiene nada extraordinario, sino m s bien una belleza distra da y la [...]


  • In its first chapters this novel sprays a fine tangy mist over your face, like coming across the sea after many months inland Hoopla We re in for some fun But after a while this novel becomes the so amusing toy whose batteries keep it chirping and beeping long after it should have glided behind the chest of drawers of oblivion Our smile has faded And finally this novel is like your elderly female relative who has a superstitious horror of naming anything directly, and will use every last possibl [...]


  • Stunning Every single sentence is purposeful and unimprovable It evokes the world of 18th century Germany with such vividness and authority and ease, while feeling nothing like a historical novel I can t think of a book that achieves a beautiful balance between gravity and lightness, poetry and philosohy The Blue Flower is eseentially about the nature of love and why we sometimes often choose such odd candidates as the objects of our deepest affection.


  • Ich habe Die blaue Blume aus der Reihe der S ddeutsche Bibliothek bei meinem Bruder aus dem B cherregal gezogen und war mir nicht sicher ob meiner Erwartungshaltungen gegen ber dem schmalen B ndchen Penelope Fitzgerald schreibt hnlich wie Antonia S.Byatt einen Stil, der an eine Tuschezeichnung erinnert, fein, zierlich, detailgenau doch nicht wie in The Children s Book, das ein wenig blutleer bleibt, ist die Blaue Blume voll von den Ger chen, Farben und Atmosph ren der Epoche Novalis , Fichtes un [...]



  • Lovely, odd piece of historical fiction packed with memorable characters whose seemingly minor actions congeal into a sweeping representation of the late eighteenth century While Novalis s romance with a young girl is certainly the emotional core of the novel, I ll remember his siblings and the wonderful Karoline for just as long Fitzgerald, whose late blooming career is fascinating in and of itself, has a very light touch and a clear affection for the source material, which is presented seamles [...]


  • This novel was puzzlingly overpraised, and I m not sure why It is empty, cold, mean spirited and does not allow us to sympathize with, or even understand, the characters It purports to tell the story of the German Romantic poet Novalis s infatuation with a 12 year old girl, but it doesn t help us to understand this strange situation What is the narrative aiming toward Sometimes it seems to simply want to mock and diminish its characters or to display a minute knowledge of the period.



  • I loved the droll humor and the use of language in this historical novel, but I was confused by the characters and uncertainly what the author was trying to get at.




  • Read in June 2016 as a buddy read on IG I found it quite difficult to get into the book at first It took me about 50 pages before I could clearly grasp the characters, the subject matter and where the novel was going Honestly, if it hadn t been for a book group read, I probably would have DNF d after the first few chapters.I found the prose a little clumsy and monotonous and none of the characters quite likeable For a highly praised book, I did have a bit of a problem seeing why Quite a few of m [...]


  • This book is perfect but I am not sure why It is absolutely captivating from the first words on, it never bogs down, it is neither too many words nor too little, it is a complete world As soon as I finished it I fell asleep and dreamed that I was terribly ill as I was still so immersed in the book All day I have not been ready to pick up another book and finally this evening have selected a housecleaning book as I still want to savor this novel and I can do that while I clean.



  • I loved this book a great deal It is incredibly simply written but so cleverly put together that there are real moments where you cannot help but be in awe of Fitzgerald Her touch with words, is simple but oh so subtle that one cannot help but feel emotions ranging from sadness, intense humour and curiosity.Each chapter is short, almost vignette like in 3 or 4 pages, and although there is a narrative running throughout, each short story has a point to it which may or may not be relevant to the s [...]


  • This Booker Prize winner is a fascinating study of life in late 17th century Germany One hilarious anecdote concerned washing clothes Most of the upper class families did the washing every 3 months One man on the household owned 69 shirts Our protagonist, Fridrich s family did the wash only once a year There were 14 children in the family and numerous servants This was before washers and dryers were invented It blows my mind and that isn t even what the book is about.The book is a biographical s [...]


  • Well I admit I didn t get this one The best thing I can say about it is that it s short What a pointless read None of the characters left an impression on me, except for a vague respect for the capable and patient Sidonie and Frederike, and a vague dislike for the self centered Bernhard It seems everyone in this book meets with a tragic ending, but frankly, I don t really care I guess Fitzgerald just isn t for me.


  • My favorite novel, I think Somehow it floods the senses with the time and place or her rendering of it It reminds me of hyldeblomstsaft, the concentrated elderflower syrup that they use to make a drink in Denmark that will conjur up summer in mid January I love it and her for that quality All of her writing is like that, but this one is the best.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *