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The Blue Flower
ISBN 0395859972 / 9780395859971 / 0-395-85997-2
Publisher Mariner Books
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The Blue Flower is set in the age of Goethe, in the small towns and great universities of late-eighteenth century Germany. It tells the true story of Friedrich von Hardenberg, a passionate, impetuous student of philosophy who will later gain fame as the Romantic poet Novalis. Fritz seeks his father's permission to wed his "heart's heart," his "spirit's guide"=a plain, simple child named Sophie von Kuhn. It is an attachment that shocks his family and friends. Their brilliant young Fritz, betrothed to a twelve-year-old dullard! How can this be? The irrationality of love, the transfiguration of the commonplace, the clarity of purpose that comes with knowing one's own fate-these are the themes of this beguiling novel, themes treated with a mix of wit, grace, and mischievous humor unique to the art of Penelope Fitzgerald. [via]