George Sand, 1804-1876


Biographical note

Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant was a French novelist and early feminist (prior to the invention of the word) who wrote under the pen name of George Sand.

Born in Paris to a father of aristocratic lineage and a "common" mother, Sand was raised for much of her childhood by her grandmother at the family estate, Nohant, in the French region of Berry, a setting later used in many of her novels. In 1822, she married Baron Casimir Dudevant, and they had two children, Maurice (b. 1823) and Solange (b. 1828). In 1835, taking the children with her, she left her husband.

Her first novel, Rose et Blanche [1831] was written in collaboration with Jules Sandeau, from whom she allegedly took her pen name, Sand.

After parting from her husband Sand made less and less a secret of preferring men's clothes to women's, although she continued to dress as a woman for social occasions. This male "disguise" enabled Sand to circulate more freely about Paris, and gave her increased access to venues that might have been denied to a woman of her social standing. This was an exceptional practice for the 19th century, where social codes--especially in the upper class--were of the highest importance. As a consequence Sand lost a good deal of the privileges attached to being a Baroness. Ironically, it was also a part of the mores of this period that women of higher classes could live physically separated from their husbands without losing face, if they didn't show any blatant irregularity to the outer world.

She was linked romantically with Alfred de Musset (summer 1833 - March 1834), Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin [1810-1849] whom she had met in Paris in 1831. In Majorca one can still visit the (then abandoned) Carthusian monastery of Valldemossa, where she spent the winter of 1838-39 with Frédéric Chopin and her children. This trip to Mallorca was described by her in Un hiver à Majorque ("A winter in Mallorca"), published in 1855. She left Chopin shortly before he died from tuberculosis.

Her successful novels include Indiana [1832], Lélia [1833], Mauprat [1837], Le Compagnon du Tour de France [1840], Consuelo [1842-1843], and Le Meunier d'Angibault [1845]. Drawing from her childhood experiences of the countryside, she wrote the rural novels La Mare au Diable [1846], François le Champi [1847-1848], La Petite Fadette [1849], and Les Beaux Messieurs Bois-Dore. Further theatre pieces and autobiographical pieces include Histoire de ma vie [1855], Elle et Lui [1859] (about her affair with Musset), Journal Intime (posth. 1926), and Correspondance. In addition, Sand authored literary criticism and political texts.

George Sand died at Nohant, near Châteauroux, in the Indre département of France on June 8, 1876 at the age of 72 and was buried in the grounds of her home at Nohant.

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Works in English translation


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Works (in French)


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