Press Release: The Blue Flower
Introduced by Neel Mukherjee
Illustrated by James Albon
‘A work of exquisite, crystalline intelligence and angular polish’
THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
An illustrated edition of Penelope Fitzgerald’s ethereal modern masterpiece will be published by The Folio Society in September. The Blue Flower is a feat of immersion and sleight of hand; it is effortlessly light, reducing the great distance of history to little more than the turn of a page, whilst containing unexpected depths of poetry at its heart. It tells of the early life of Fritz von Hardenberg, the young man who would become the great romantic poet and philosopher Novalis. Brilliant and idealistic, his heart is captured by the young Sophie von Kuhn, an artless child he nonetheless describes as his ‘true Philosophy’. His family, alternately bemused and charmed, do their best to both hinder and aid this ultimately tragic betrothal.
Repeatedly voted Book of the Year on its first publication in 1995, this is a novel as enjoyable as it is enlightening. Full of the detail essential to historical fiction, the society of 18th century Germany lives and breathes in its pages. The fiercely intelligent Hardenberg family forms the web that connects this novel of illuminating snapshots. Fritz and his ‘heart’s heart’ sit at the centre, weaving a romance that is touching, sad, and as unattainable as the titular blue flower itself.
In his introduction to this edition, Neel Mukherjee describes Fitzgerald’s books as ‘slim, fleet-footed, at once weightless, like air, and immense with the worlds they contain’. Award-winning illustrator James Albon, working with reductive linocuts, provides images that reflect the shifting nature of Fritz himself: energetic and melancholy, light and dark.
Quarter-bound in buckram with Modigliani paper sides, printed with a design by James Albon. Set in Caslon. 224 pages. 7 full-page colour illustrations. 9˝ × 5¾˝.
UK £29.95 US $52.95 Can $64.95 Aus $65.95
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