The Blue Flower

The Blue Flower - Henry van Dyke [These notes were made in 1986:]. A series of short stories in the Christian vein, some of them openly so, some allegorical. A nice way with an image and a smooth, easy style make them less tedious than you would think, and "The Other Wise Man" has something of the simple, telling fairy-tale quality of Wilde's moral tales or the one about St. Julian (Flaubert?). The title comes from a fragment of Novalis, which Van Dyke translates for us, dealing with a young man who seeks and eventually finds a mysterious blue flower. Van Dyke clearly takes this as allegory of man's search for God, and all his stories deal with wanderers and travellers on mystic searches, some failed, some successful. Margaret Armstrong's cover, by the way, is rather elegant, and it is so nice to read a real book, on good paper, printed with care, and accompanied by illustrations!