birdcage walk helen dunmore shadow land elizabeth kostova tudor queens series book price comparison rebus 30th anniversary
Vouchers


The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
  

The Blue Flower

Historical Fiction   Literary Fiction   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Add to wishlist Share this book

Lovereading view...

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. A masterpiece.

One of Joanna Trollope's favourite books. I had supper with her once, in the converted garage of her daughter’s house, where she was then living, and she was as warm and restrained and acute and beguiling as her books, of which my absolute favourite is The Blue Flower, the story of an extraordinary betrothal in eighteenth century Germany. If anyone needs a pattern of How To Write, Penelope Fitzgerald is IT.

Click here to read Penelope Fitzgerald's son-in-law discuss her legacy to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth.

If you like Penelope Fitzgerald you might also like to read books by Esther Freud and Anita Brookner.

Win tickets to the Borders Book Festival!

Borders Book Festival 2017 logo

We have 4 tickets (2 pairs) to give away to one lucky winner to attend two Walter Scott Prize events taking place at the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival on Saturday 17 June 2017. One pair of tickets is for a panel event with shortlisted authors, and the other is for the Prize event in which the winner is announced and presented. Click here to find out more about the Borders Book Festival.

Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation. Draw closes on 2 May 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 14 May 2017.

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 02/05/2017

Synopsis

The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

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?

Reviews

'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


Fritz von Hardenburg, the young philosopher and poet who later took the name Novalis, has finished his university studies and is preparing to follow his father's profession of salt-mine inspector when he meets his 'true philosophy', his 'heart's heart', a 12-year-old girl of unsuitable (middle-class) family and little perceivable intelligence. His friends and family are thrown into confusion; how could this genius have settled for such a simple, juvenile and unattractive creature? Fitzgerald's re-creation of events is, as usual, masterly. We are immersed headlong in the ethics and atmosphere of late-18th-century Germany by her dexterous, adroit ability to impart information as if by osmosis. Her intellect is astounding, but the reader is never left behind. This book is comic, enlightening and a pleasure to read. (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Penelope Fitzgerald

Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most elegant and distinctive voices in British fiction. She was the author of nine novels, three of which – The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels – were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She won the prize in 1979 for Offshore. Her last novel, The Blue Flower, was the most admired novel of 1995, chosen no fewer than nineteen times in the press as the 'Book of the Year'. It won America's National Book Critics' Circle Award, and this helped introduce her to a wider international readership.

A superb biographer and critic, Penelope Fitzgerald was also the author of lives of the artist Edward Burne-Jones (her first book), the poet Charlotte Mew and The Knox Brothers – a study of her remarkable father Edmund Knox, editor of Punch, and his equally remarkable brothers.

Penelope Fitzgerald did not embark on her literary career until the age of sixty. After graduating from Somerville College, Oxford, she worked at the BBC during the war, edited a literary journal, ran a bookshop and taught at various schools, including a theatrical school; her early novels drew upon many of these experiences.

She died in April 2000, at the age of eighty-three.

Click here to read Penelope Fitzgerald's son-in-law discuss her legacy to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth.

Fellow novelist Katharine McMahon on Penelope Fitzgerald...

I was introduced to this author just as I began to be published, and I love her wit, and her quirky approach to plot. The Beginning of Spring is a delicious novel, and it's as if the entire book is pitched towards the very last few lines. This reads like a small, perfectly formed, Russian novel, but amazingly is written by a very English author.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

5th August 1996

Author

Penelope Fitzgerald

More books by Penelope Fitzgerald
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...

Publisher

Flamingo an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
320 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Historical romance
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780006550198

Lovereading recommends, honestly reviews and promotes books-what more can I say?!

Rachel Bridgeman

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

Why I love @lovereadinguk? It's in the name - as dedicated lovers of reading, they are perfect matchmakers for helping me find my next read!

Catherine Jenkins

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown

At Lovereading there are fabulous books available in every genre, with great reviews to help you pick the right book for you.

Teresa O'Halloran

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools