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George Sand, some aspects of her life and writings   By: (1860-1937)

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GEORGE SAND

Some Aspects of Her Life and Writings

by Rene Doumic

Translated by Alys Hallard

First published in 1910. This volume is dedicated to Madame L. Landouzy with gratitude and affection

This book is not intended as a study of George Sand. It is merely a series of chapters touching on various aspects of her life and writings. My work will not be lost if the perusal of these pages should inspire one of the historians of our literature with the idea of devoting to the great novelist, to her genius and her influence, a work of this kind.

CONTENTS

I AURORE DUPIN II BARONNE DUDEVANT III A FEMINIST OF 1832 IV THE ROMANTIC ESCAPADE V THE FRIEND OF MICHEL (DE BOURGES) VI A CASE OF MATERNAL AFFECTION IN LOVE VII THE HUMANITARIAN DREAM VIII 1848 IX THE 'BONNE DAME' OF NOHANT X THE GENIUS OF THE WRITER

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

GEORGE SAND (From a photogravure by N. Desmardyl, after a Painting by A. Charpentier) GEORGE SAND (From an engraving by L. Calamatia) JULES SANDEAU (From an etching by M. Desboutins) ALFRED DE MUSSET (From a lithograph) FACSIMILE OF AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER OF GEORGE SAND (Written from Venice to Hipp. Chatiron) GEORGE SAND (From a lithograph) F. CHOPIN (From a photograph) PIERRE LEROUX (From a lithograph by A. Collette) GEORGE SAND (From a lithograph)

GEORGE SAND

I

AURORE DUPIN

PSYCHOLOGY OF A DAUGHTER OF ROUSSEAU

In the whole of French literary history, there is, perhaps, no subject of such inexhaustible and modern interest as that of George Sand. Of what use is literary history? It is not only a kind of museum, in which a few masterpieces are preserved for the pleasure of beholders. It is this certainly, but it is still more than this. Fine books are, before anything else, living works. They not only have lived, but they continue to live. They live within us, underneath those ideas which form our conscience and those sentiments which inspire our actions. There is nothing of greater importance for any society than to make an inventory of the ideas and the sentiments which are composing its moral atmosphere every instant that it exists. For every individual this work is the very condition of his dignity. The question is, should we have these ideas and these sentiments, if, in the times before us, there had not been some exceptional individuals who seized them, as it were, in the air and made them viable and durable? These exceptional individuals were capable of thinking more vigorously, of feeling more deeply, and of expressing themselves more forcibly than we are. They bequeathed these ideas and sentiments to us. Literary history is, then, above and beyond all things, the perpetual examination of the conscience of humanity.

There is no need for me to repeat what every one knows, the fact that our epoch is extremely complex, agitated and disturbed. In the midst of this labyrinth in which we are feeling our way with such difficulty, who does not look back regretfully to the days when life was more simple, when it was possible to walk towards a goal, mysterious and unknown though it might be, by straight paths and royal routes?

George Sand wrote for nearly half a century. For fifty times three hundred and sixty five days, she never let a day pass by without covering more pages than other writers in a month. Her first books shocked people, her early opinions were greeted with storms. From that time forth she rushed head long into everything new, she welcomed every chimera and passed it on to us with more force and passion in it. Vibrating with every breath, electrified by every storm, she looked up at every cloud behind which she fancied she saw a star shining. The work of another novelist has been called a repertory of human documents. But what a repertory of ideas her work was! She has said what she had to say on nearly every subject; on love, the family, social institutions and on the various forms of government... Continue reading book >>




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