HAPPY BIRTHDAY – George Sand, born 1 July 1804
“Try to keep your soul young and quivering right up to old age.”
George Sand was born Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, but was usually known as Aurore. She grew up at her grandmother’s beautiful estate at Nohant in the centre of France. Later she inherited the estate and was much loved by the local people. She lived there with Chopin, and various other lovers. Throughout her life she was much talked about, as her lovers were often famous men (others included writer Alfred de Musset, the historian Prosper Mérimée, and writer Jules Sandeau, from whom she took part of her pen-name). During her Paris years she was involved in the Paris Commune, and she often dressed as a man to enjoy greater freedom of movement.
She was a hugely successful novelist, although her books are little read today. She wrote rural novels, highlighting the plight of the poor (Le Meunier d’Angibault is one example), she wrote popular novels such as Indiana, Lélia, Mauprat and Consuelo, and she wrote memoirs about her own extraordinary life. She was friendly with Flaubert, with whom she corresponded, and she knew everyone of importance in the French literary world.
If you ever find yourself in central France, do visit her gorgeous estate at Nohant – the dining room table is all set ready for her literary and artistic friends to visit, with gorgeous wine glasses given to her by Chopin, and they have his music playing as you go through the house. There is a lovely rose garden and a tiny burial plot, where George Sand rests with members of her family. She died on 8 June 1876, aged 71.
I’d be most interested to know what you think of her work? Tell me in the comment area below.
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