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George Sand

Sand, George (sănd, Fr. zhôrzh säN) [key], pseud. of Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin, baronne Dudevant ämäNdēnˈ ôrôrˈ lüsēˈ düpăN, bärônˈ düdväNˈ, 1804–76, French novelist. Other variant forms of her maiden name include Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin. Born of an aristocratic father and a lower-class mother, she was reared by her austere paternal grandmother on a country estate in Berry. After entering a convent in Paris, she returned to the countryside and led an unconventional life, donning the male clothes that became a mark of her rebellion. In 1831, after eight years of a marriage of convenience with Baron Dudevant, a country squire, she went with her two children to Paris, obtaining a divorce in 1836. She wrote some 80 novels, which were widely popular in their day, supporting herself and her children chiefly by her writing. Her earlier novels were romantic; later ones often expressed her serious concern with social reform. Her liaisons—with Jules Sandeau, Musset, Chopin, and others—were open and notorious, but were only part of her life. She demanded for women the freedom in living that was a matter of course to the men of her day.

Her first novel, Rose et Blanche (1831), was in collaboration with Jules Sandeau (a shortening of his last name provided her with the pseudonym which she kept all her life), with whom she had previously written articles for the journal Figaro. Of her own novels, La Mare au diable (1846, tr. The Haunted Pool, 1890) and Les Maîtres sonneurs [the master bell-ringers] (1853) are considered masterpieces. Notable also are Indiana (1832, tr. 1881), Mauprat (1837), Consuelo (1843, tr. 1846), François le champi (1848, tr. Francis the Waif, 1889), La Petite Fadette (1849, tr. Fanchon the Cricket, 1864), and Contes d'une grand'mère (1873, tr. Tales of a Grandmother, 1930), a collection of Breton fairy tales. All these books are distinguished by a romantic love of nature as well as an extravagant moral idealism. She also wrote a number of plays. Much of her work was autobiographical, notably Histoire de ma vie (1854); Elle et lui [she and he] (1859), which concerns her life with Musset; and Un Hiver à Majorque [a winter in Majorca] (1842), about her life with Chopin.

See her Intimate Journal (1929, tr. 1929); biographies by A. Maurois (1951, tr. 1953), C. Cate (1975), R. Winegarten (1978), B. Jack (2000), and B. Eisler (2006); studies by R. Doumie (1910, repr. 1972), W. G. Atwood (1980), J. Glasgow, ed. (1986), K. J. Crecelius (1988), and B. Eisler (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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