Henry of Ofterdingen

Title: Henry of Ofterdingen
Author: Novalis
Publish Date: 1802
Genre: Romanticism
Page length: Not specified

Henry of Ofterdingen is a novel by Friedrich von Hardenberg, a German writer who went by the pseudonym Novalis. It was first published in 1802 as a classic work of the Romantic movement in German literature. The novel tells the story of Henry, a young talented poet who sets out on a quest to discover the blue flower of Romanticism. The book is divided into three parts: the first part is Henry’s childhood and education; the second part is his wanderings in search of the blue flower; and the third part is his final spiritual awakening.

Part One

The novel begins with Henry as a young boy who grows up in a poor family. He learns to read and write from his mother, who is a devout Christian. Henry shows a talent for poetry and storytelling from a young age, but his father discourages him from pursuing these passions. One day, Henry meets a group of traveling musicians who inspire him and spark his interest in the arts. He decides to leave home to become a poet.

Henry begins his education in literature, philosophy, art, and music. He studies under several masters, including the philosopher Abram and the musician Heinrich. He falls in love with a young woman named Mathilde, who shares his love of art and culture. However, Mathilde’s father disapproves of their relationship because Henry is poor and has no established career. Despite this, Henry continues to pursue his passion for art and poetry.

Part Two

In the second part of the novel, Henry sets out on his quest to find the blue flower of Romanticism, which symbolizes the ultimate goal of his artistic pursuit. He travels through various landscapes, meets different people, and experiences various adventures. He stays with a group of miners and helps them discover a valuable mineral, but he decides to continue on his journey. He gets lost in the forest and meets a beautiful woman named Selma, who becomes his guide. Selma takes Henry to the city of Augsburg, where he meets a group of artists and poets who inspire him with their creativity. He continues his travels and eventually reaches the land of fairy tales, where he encounters magical creatures and falls in love with a fairy princess.

Part Three

In the third part of the novel, Henry returns to his hometown and undergoes a spiritual awakening. He realizes that the blue flower is not a physical object to be found, but a symbol of the infinite potential of the human spirit. He begins to write poetry that reflects his newfound understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and the beauty of nature. He reconciles with Mathilde and they get married, symbolizing the unity of art and love.


The themes of Henry of Ofterdingen include the pursuit of beauty and truth, the role of imagination and creativity in human life, the connection between art and nature, and the importance of spiritual awakening. The novel reflects the Romantic movement’s emphasis on individualism, emotion, and imagination in art and literature. It also includes elements of fairy tales and mythology, which emphasize the power of storytelling and symbolism in human culture. Overall, Henry of Ofterdingen is a classic work of Romantic literature that explores the human quest for meaning and enlightenment through art and creativity.