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Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland Overview In eight quasi-connected stories, Susan Vreeland provides a literary lesson on aesthetics. Set amidst human sorrow and historic chaos, the story follows an imagined Vermeer painting from the present day through 330 years of its provenance - starting with its deliberate destruction in the 1990s and finishing using its motivated production in the 1660s: Chapter 1. 1995(?) : in Pennsylvania, mathematics instructor Cornelius Englebrecht burns the painting in his fireplace; 1942: at Amsterdam, from the Vredenburg home, German soldier Otto Engelbrecht loots the painting, hides it, and absconds with it into America. Chapter two. 1940: in Amsterdam, diamond retailer Sol Vredenburg buys the painting because of his daughter Hannah as a present for her 11th birthday. Chapter 3. 1899: at Vreeland, engineer Laurens van Luyken, with originally purchased the picture as an anniversary gift for his wife, decides to deliver it to his daughter Johanna, participated into the Amsterdamer Fritz. Chapter 4. 1803: at The Hague, French aristocrat Gerard buys the painting from a Dutch noble; wife Claudine absconds with and sells it, with no documents attesting to its authenticity. Chapter 5. 1717-18: from the floodwaters of Delfzijl, scholar Adriaan Kuypers flees using the painting to Oling at which he relinquishes into the farmer's wife, Saskia, who sells it to a dealer in Amsterdam. Chapter 6. 1717: at Delfzijl, Aunt Rika, spouse of a slave trader, offers the painting as a bribe for her nephew Adriaan to hide the signs of his bastard child and keep her name commendable. Chapter 7. 1665-8: at Delft, Vermeer starts and finishes the painting of his daughter Magdelena. Chapter 8. 1675: in Delft, Vermeer dies, and after his death his daughter Magdelena sells the painting to the neighborhood baker; afterwards, in Amsterdam in 1696, Magdelena finds a "fine family" purchasing the painting at auction. Issues For Discussion 1. The plot outline shows that a lot of this movie's provenance remains unidentified. Why is it that you think Vreeland leaves blank a lot of this picture's history? Where do you envision the painting was, say, between 1803 and 1890? Why is it that you think Vreeland places the painting in periods of history reflecting numerous atrocities? What would happen to be gained - or lost - from this novel had the author placed the picture in more epic moments of hu...