Places: Indiana

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1832 (English translation, 1833)

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Sentimental

Time of work: Early nineteenth century

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*Réunion

*Réunion. IndianaIsland in the Indian Ocean, four hundred miles east of Madagascar, Réunion is an overseas department of France. This is the island where Indiana, Noun, and Ralph were born. Although both Indiana and Ralph were unhappy as children, neither appreciated nor kindly treated by their families, they have happy memories of times they spent together in nature. It is because of these happy memories that Indiana and Ralph decide to return to Réunion to commit suicide. Sand’s descriptions of this island are based on the memories and notes of her friend, Jules Néraud, who had visited the island. Despite this accurate information, Sand makes some errors in distance and in describing some areas.


*Bernica. Gorge on Réunion that is particularly beautiful and which was Ralph’s favorite place in his youth. Ralph and Indiana return to the island intending to commit suicide by throwing themselves into a huge waterfall that flows into this gorge. However, when Ralph tells Indiana the secret story of his love for her, the two decide to stay alive and live together amid nature, isolated from society at Bernica.


Lagny. Château of the Delmares in the Brie area of France, east of Paris. While the château is imaginary, its location is accurate in a real area near the town of Melun. The house resembles Plessis-Picard, a country home owned by Sand’s friends, where she met her husband. The main characters, Madame Delmare, Colonel Delmare, and Sir Ralph Brown, are at Lagny when Raymon de Ramière bursts into their life. His entry disturbs the peace of the family and the relationships between the three characters. He is a corrupt aristocrat and a product of Parisian society and brings no end of trouble to their bourgeois household. His country home, Cercy, where his sweet old mother lives, is near the Delmares’ home. Bellerive, Sir Ralph’s family home, is located between Lagny and Crécy. This is a symbol of the way Ralph is constantly coming between Indiana and Raymon. Raymon came to Lagny for the first time to meet Noun, Indiana’s maid and childhood friend, whom he has gotten pregnant before the beginning of the narrative. When Noun is deserted by Raymon after he attempts to seduce Indiana, she drowns herself in a stream near Lagny.


*Paris. Capital of France, in which Indiana begins to court Raymon, though he first meets her in the country. He dances with her at a Parisian salon, where she is chaperoned by her aunt, Madame de Carvajal. Both Raymon and Madame de Carvajal are products of Parisian society and, thus, are corrupted by it. Even though he had sworn to love her always and to do anything for her, Raymon abandons Indiana on two occasions when she has fled from her brutal husband. When she was abandoned the first time, she was already in Paris with her husband. The second time, Indiana had crossed the seas from Réunion, only to be spurned again by Raymon, who had married another woman. Madame de Carvajal refuses Indiana her support as soon as Indiana has “dishonored” herself by going to Raymon’s house at five o’clock in the morning. Twice Indiana wanders along the banks of the Seine River contemplating suicide and is saved by Ralph. On the first occasion he is accompanied by Ophelia, his dog, who is later murdered in the water by sailors taking Indiana back to France. Indiana has some moments of happiness in Paris when she believes Raymon loves her; however, when she imagines Paris with anticipation, the narrator is quick to note that Paris was the site of her most unhappy moments.

BibliographyCate, Curtis. George Sand: A Biography. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975. This biography of Sand may help readers understand parallels between the subject matter of Indiana and her own life. Also provides an account of how Indiana was received.Crecelius, Kathryn J. Family Romances: George Sand’s Early Novels. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. Chronicles the early period of Sand’s literary career, when her thematic focus was directed toward rebellion against the oppression of traditional marriage. Offers criticism and interpretation of Indiana; considers the work in the context of other novels from this period in Sand’s career.Datlof, Natalie, Jeanne Fuchs, and David A. Powell, eds. The World of George Sand. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Contains papers presented at the Seventh International George Sand Conference at Hofstra University in 1986. The topics range widely; a number of articles will prove useful to Indiana scholars, such as Marilyn Yalom’s “George Sand’s Poetics of Autobiography” and Margaret E. Ward and Karen Storz’s “Fanny Lewald and George Sand: Eine Lebensfrage and Indiana.”Dickenson, Donna. George Sand: A Brave Man, the Most Womanly Woman. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988. Offers insight into Sand’s work, her life as an author, and her struggle as a woman attaining literary success in a primarily male field. Examines her open rejection of women’s roles and discusses her noted rebellions and successes.Moers, Ellen. Literary Women. London: Women’s Press, 1978. This overview of women’s literature devotes considerable space to George Sand, exploring motivations for and themes in her works.Naginski, Isabelle Hoog. George Sand: Writing for Her Life. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1991. This book avoids the biographical approach common to Sand criticism. Identifies four specific periods of Sand’s writing and examines each, focusing on common themes rather than on a detailed analysis of each work.Powell, David A., ed. George Sand Today: Proceedings of the Eighth International George Sand Conference–Tours 1989. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1992. Contains essays in French and English. Of particular interest are Tamara Alvarez-Detrell’s “A Room of Her Own: The Role of the lieux from Aurore to Indiana” and “The Politics of George Sand’s Pastoral Novels,” by Marylou Gramm.Sand, George. Story of My Life: The Autobiography of George Sand: A Group Translation. Edited and translated by Thelma Jurgrau. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991. Offers a wealth of insight into the author’s life and work. A critical introduction by Thelma Jurgrau and a historical introduction by Walter D. Gray provide insightful commentaries that set the context of Sand’s autobiography.Schor, Naomi. George Sand and Idealism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. An examination of feminism and idealism in Sand’s novels. Explores Sand’s Romanticism; considers the influence of society and politics on her work.Thomson, Patricia. George Sand and the Victorians: Her Influence and Reputation in Nineteenth-Century England. New York: Columbia University Press, 1977. While not focusing on Indiana, this work provides an excellent overview of the reception given Sand’s work in England and underscores many of the gender-related issues raised by reviewers and critics.
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