Authors: George Sand

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Last reviewed: June 2018

French novelist

July 1, 1804

Paris, France

June 8, 1876

Nohant, France


In Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dudevant, née Dupin, known to posterity as George Sand (sahnd), were united two quite dissimilar lines of heredity. On the mother’s side her origins were obscure; Sophie Delaborde, a humble Parisian modiste, was a bird-trainer’s daughter. On the father’s side her pedigree was brilliant; Maurice Dupin was a dashing officer only a few generations removed from royalty, being the son of M. Dupin de Francueil (who had numbered among his friends Jean-Jacques Rousseau) and of Marie Aurore, a granddaughter of Augustus the Strong of Saxony. Maurice Dupin and his wife Sophie were married in the late spring of 1804, and their child Aurore was born in Paris on July 1. In 1808 Dupin was killed in a fall from horseback. Submitting to necessity, Sophie turned the little girl over to the haughty Mme Dupin de Francueil, who undertook the responsibility for the child’s education. Reared at the family estate of Nohant, Aurore was privately tutored and, at thirteen, was sent for schooling to the Convent des Dames Anglaises in Paris, where she remained three years. At eighteen, her grandmother having died, she was married to Casimir Dudevant, and she soon bore a son and a daughter. In 1831 she left her husband and took up residence in Paris. {$I[AN]9810000098} {$I[A]Sand, George} {$S[A]Dudevant, Baronne;Sand, George}{$S[A]Dupin, Amandine-Aurore-Lucile;Sand, George} {$I[geo]WOMEN;Sand, George} {$I[geo]FRANCE;Sand, George} {$I[tim]1804;Sand, George}

George Sand

(Library of Congress)

Fully aware of her literary genius, she resolved to maintain herself by writing and to carve out a place of eminence in the world of letters. Her first intimate association, dating from 1831, was with a young advocate, Jules Sandeau, with whom she collaborated on two novels, both signed “J. Sand.” The next novel, Indiana, she wrote alone, but she issued it in 1832 under the name Georges Sand; this name, anglicized soon afterward, became her invariable pseudonym. This novel earned Sand instant notoriety for her harsh criticisms of marriage and the oppression of traditional female roles. Having quarreled with Sandeau, she entered into a liaison with Alfred de Musset and accompanied him to Italy. In Venice she fell ill; while recovering, she had an affair with her physician. The consequent rift between herself and Musset was never closed. In 1837, Franz Liszt arranged an introduction between George Sand and Frederic Chopin, whose love she succeeded in winning after some difficulty. The next winter she escorted Chopin, who was in fragile health, to the island of Majorca, where for a few months they lodged in a half-ruined monastery. The nine-year period of their alliance was for both a time of splendid artistic productivity. She manifested strong political interests in the 1840’s while engaged, paradoxically, in the writing of her pastoral novels. A few years later, she retired to her childhood home at Nohant and passed the remainder of her life there, dying on June 8, 1876.

George Sand’s novels may be classified as belonging to four main periods of development. In her first or feminist period, from 1832 to about 1837, they reflected her emotional rebellion against the bonds of marriage. The most notable novels from this period are Indiana and Lélia. In her second period, ending about 1845, the work acquired a larger consciousness of social and philosophical problems; this awareness gave rise not only to the socialist novels—The Companion of the Tour of France (also known as The Journeyman Joiner), The Miller of Angibault, and The Sin of Monsieur Antoine—but also to Consuelo and The Countess of Rudolstadt. Some of these works influenced the American poet Walt Whitman. In her third or pastoral period, ending about 1856, her novels presented chiefly rural scenes and peasant characters; such was the case with The Devil’s Pool, Francis the Waif, and Little Fadette. In her final period, up to 1876, her fiction explored a wide variety of themes in an increasingly vigorous style. Among the best of her later novels are The Marquis of Villemer and the anticlerical Mademoiselle la Quintinie.

Author Works Long Fiction: Rose et Blanche, 1831 (with Jules Sandeau) Indiana, 1832 (English translation, 1833) Valentine, 1832 (English translation, 1902) Lélia, 1833, 1839 (English translation, 1978) Mauprat, 1837 (English translation, 1870) Spiridion, 1839 (English translation, 1842) Le Compagnon du tour de France, 1840 (The Companion of the Tour of France, 1976; also known as The Journeyman Joiner, 1847) Les Sept Cordes de la lyre, 1840 (A Woman's Version of the Faust Legend: The Seven Strings of the Lyre, 1989) Consuelo, 1842–1843 (English translation, 1846) La Comtesse de Rudolstadt, 1843–1844 (The Countess of Rudolstadt, 1847) Jeanne, 1844 Le Meunier d’Angibault, 1845 (The Miller of Angibault, 1847) Lucrezia Floriani, 1846 La Mare au diable, 1846 (The Devil’s Pool, 1929; also known as The Enchanted Lake, 1850) Le Péché de M. Antoine, 1847 (The Sin of Monsieur Antoine, 1900) La Petite Fadette, 1848-1849 (Fanchon the Cricket, 1864; also known as Little Fadette, 1850) François le champi, 1850 (Francis the Waif, 1889) Les Maîtres sonneurs, 1853 (The Bagpipers, 1890) Elle et lui, 1859 (She and He, 1902) Le Marquis de Villemer, 1861 (The Marquis of Villemer, 1871) La Ville noire, 1861 Mademoiselle la Quintinie, 1863 Mademoiselle Merquem, 1868 (English translation, 1868) Marianne, 1876 (English translation, 1883) Historic and Romantic Novels, 1900–1902 (20 volumes) Short Fiction: Contes d’une grand’mère, 1873, 1876 (Tales of a Grandmother, 1930) Drama: Théâtre complet de George Sand, pb. 1877 (5 volumes) Nonfiction: Lettres à Marcie, 1837 Lettres d’un voyageur, 1837 (Letters of a Traveller, 1847) Un Hiver à Majorque, 1841 (Winter in Majorca, 1956) Histoire de ma vie, 1854–1855 (20 volumes; History of My Life, 1901) Questions d’art et de littérature, 1878 Questions politiques et sociales, 1879 Letters, 1896 (9 volumes) Journal intime, 1926 (The Intimate Journal, 1929) Sketches and Hints, 1926 Correspondance, 1964–1981 (15 volumes) Oeuvres autobiographiques, 1970–1971 (2 volumes) Miscellaneous: Œuvres de George Sand., 1860–92 (109 volumes) Works, 1887 (38 volumes) Bibliography Atwood, William G. The Lioness and the Little One: The Liaison of George Sand and Frédéric Chopin. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980. A careful, scholarly account of a part of Sand’s life and career that has often been distorted and sensationalized. Barry, Joseph. Infamous Woman: The Life of George Sand. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1977. An illuminating overview of George Sand’s life and writing. Barry chronicles her development as an artist, her tumultuous love affairs, her relationship with her children and her mother, her role in French politics, and her stand against traditional female roles. Bloch-Dano, Evelyne. The Last Love of George Sand: A Literary Biography. Skyhorse Publishing, 2013. eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost), Accessed 1 Aug. 2017. A literary biography of Sand during her later and most prolific years, with a focus on her relationship with engraver Alexandre Manceau. Cate, Curtis. George Sand. Boston: Little, Brown, 1975. A sound, comprehensive biography. See the preface for a discussion of Maurois’s classic biography and the fluctations of Sand’s reputation. Crecelius, Kathryn J. Family Romances: George Sand’s Early Novels. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. An informative study, with chapters on Sand’s handling of heroic romance and bourgeois realism, and her role as a woman artist. Separate chapters cover Lélia, Mauprat, and Valentine. Danahy, Michael. The Feminization of the Novel. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1991. Studies novels by Sand (Fanchon the Cricket), Gustave Flaubert, and Madame de La Fayette. Dickenson, Donna. George Sand: A Brave Man—The Most Womanly Woman. New York: Berg, 1988. Focuses on Sand’s sexuality, feminism, improvisatory work and personality, and daring Byronic career. Includes chronology, detailed notes, and an annotated bibliography. Goodwin-Jones, Robert. Romantic Vision: The Novels of George Sand. Birmingham, Ala.: Summa, 1995. Literary criticism of Sand’s novels. Eisler, Benita. Naked in the Marketplace: The Lives of George Sand. New York, Basic Books, 2006. Drawing on Sand’s substantial body of correspondence, Eisler explores the complicated personality of one of the nineteenth century’s most radical feminists. This popular and critically acclaimed biography focuses especially on the novelist’s impressively active and lengthy love life and its impact on her literary output. Hiddleston, Janet. George Sand and Autobiography. Oxford, England: Legenda, 1999. A study of Sand’s Histoire de ma vie. Jack, Belinda Elizabeth. George Sand: A Woman’s Life Writ Large. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. A biography that pays especial attention to Sand’s childhood and its influence on her later life and career. Massardier-Kenney, Françoise. Gender in the Fiction of George Sand. Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000. Argues that Sand articulates in her novels a complex and extremely modern conception of gender, questioning prevalent patriarchal modes of discourse and redefining masculinity and femininity. Maurois, André. Lélia: The Life of George Sand. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953. A classic biography by one of the genre’s most renowned practitioners. Less scholarly than Cate, but written with verve and a sure grasp of both the subject and her period. Powell, David A. George Sand. Boston: Twayne, 1990. An excellent introduction to the life and works of Sand. Includes bibliographical references and an index. Walton, Whitney. Eve’s Proud Descendants: Four Women Writers and Republican Politics in Nineteenth Century France. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000. Analyzes the political themes of Sand’s fiction, in conjunction with those found in the works of Daniel Stern, Emilie de Girardin, and Hortense Allart de Méritens.

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