Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Monday, June 8, 2015

George Sand: "What a Brave Man She Was, and What a Good Woman"

George Sand, born Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (died 8 June 1876)


George Sand, 1838
portrait by Auguste Charpentier
The French novelist and memoirist who published under the name of George Sand lived on her own terms--although she married and had two children, she left her husband; she had sexual relationships with a number of male partners, many of them younger than she, and a passionate relationship with at least one woman, an actress; she preferred men's clothes to women's, both for their lower cost and their comfort; she smoked cigarettes and cigars (horrors!); and, most important, she wrote.

Among her works are critical and political essays (she was on the staff of Le Figaro), autobiographical and travel narratives, plays, and more than forty novels, the first published in 1832, the last in 1868. She was the butt of jokes for her productivity--as bad as it was to be a woman novelist, it was even worse to be so prolific.

For Belinda Jack's wonderful and personal essay on George Sand, originally published in the New York Times, click here. There's a fact-filled encyclopedic entry at the NNDB (Notable Names Database). There are, as well, many full-length biographies, but I like the one by Jack, George Sand: A Woman's Life Writ Large.

An 1864 image of George Sand
by French photographer "Nadar"
Her novels are available in many affordable print editions, but many are also available through Project Gutenburg or the Internet Archive

The quotation I've used in the title for this post is an assessment by the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev. 

Born in July of 1804, George Sand died just weeks before her seventy-second birthday..