The patents had already retired to rest; the old clock ticked monotonously from the wall; the windows rattled with the whistling wind, and the chamber was dimly lighted by the flickering glimmer of the moon. The young man lay restless on his bed, thinking of the stranger and his tales. "It is not the treasures," said he to himself, "that have awakened in me such unutterable longings. Far from me is all avarice; but I long to behold the blue flower. It is constantly in my mind, and I can think and compose of nothing else. I have never been in such a mood. It seems as if I had hitherto been dreaming, or slumbering into another world; for in the world, in which hitherto I have lived, who would trouble himself about a flower?--I never have heard of such a strange passion for a flower here. I wonder, too, whence the stranger comes? None of our people have ever seen his like; still I know not why I should be so fascinated by his conversation. Others have listened to it, but none are moved by it as I am. Would that I could explain my feelings in words! I am often full of rapture, and it is only when the blue flower is out of my mind, that this deep, heart-felt longing overwhelms me.
A gem of German Romanticism, this literary landmark continues to enchant readers with its combination of poetic and fairy tale elements. The young hero of this unfinished experimental novel envisions a blue flower that represents desire, love, and the metaphysical longing for the infinite. He travels the world in pursuit of his dream, discovering that poetry is everywhere for those who can perceive it. Author Friedrich von Hardenberg ― better known as Novalis (1772–1801) ― was a poet and philosopher who worked closely with Friedrich Schlegel and Ludwig Tieck. Novalis's influence extended to Hermann Hesse and Jorge Luis Borges, and the "blue flower" motif that he originated in Henry von Ofterdingen has appeared in the works of C. S. Lewis and George R. R. Martin. This edition features a Life of the Author and an Afterword by Ludwig Tieck.
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