Penelope Fitzgerald's final masterpiece.
Set in Germany at the very end of the eighteenth century, The Blue Flower is the story of the brilliant Fritz von Hardenberg, a graduate of the Universities of Jena, Leipzig and Wittenberg, learned in Dialectics and Mathematics, who later became the great romantic poet and philosopher Novalis. The passionate and idealistic Fritz needs his father's permission to announce his engagement to his ‘heart's heart', his ‘true Philosophy', twelve-year-old Sophie von Kuhn. It is a betrothal which amuses, astounds and disturbs his family and friends. How can it be so?
One of the most admired of all Penelope Fitzgerald's books, The Blue Flower was chosen as Book of the Year more than any other in 1995. Her final book, it confirmed her reputation as one of the finest novelists of the century.
'An enchanting novel about heart, body and mind. The writing is ellipitical and witty... so that what could be a sad little love story is constantly funny and always absorbing. This novel is a jewel.' Carmen Callil, Daily Telegraph 'Her sense of time and place is marvellously deft, done in a few words. She knows how they all walked, eased their old joints. She knows the damp smell of decay of the ancient schlosses. In a bare little book she reveals a country and an age as lost as Tolstoy's Russia and which we seem somehow always to have known.' Jane Gardam, Spectator 'Detail, expertly dabbed in, provides a substantial background for the story of a poet which, it is subtly suggested, is also the story of a remarkable moment in the history of civilisation... It is hard to see how the hopes and defeats of Romanticism, or the relation between inspiration and common life, between genius and mere worthiness, could be more deftly rendered than they are in this remarkable novel.' Frank Kermode, LRB 'A minor miracle of sympathy and crispness.' Adam Mars-Jones, Guardian 'An extraordinary imagining... An original masterpiece.' Hermione Lee, Financial Times 'A novel in which the unsaid speaks: it is a masterpiece.' Candia McWilliam 'A masterpiece. How does she do it?' A.S. Byatt 'A magical little book.' Doris Lessing