George Sand

George Sand (1804-1876) was the pen name of the French Romantic novelist and playwright Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupint.

She was born on July 1, 1804 in Paris. Her father, Maurice Dupin, came from an aristocratic background and was related to the king of Poland. Her mother, Sophie-Victoire Delaborde, was raised as a poor commoner.

After her father fell from a horse and was killed when his daughter was just four years old, Sand was raised by her grandmother. They lived together on the family estate in the village of Nohant in the Berry province of France. When Sand became rebellious at age thirteen, she was sent to a convent school, the Couvent des Anglaises in Paris.

Sand tried to reconcile with her mother in 1821, after the death of her grandmother. They quarreled, however, and she sought solace in a marriage to Casimir François Dudevant in 1821. She was just seventeen, and the couple was incompatible from the outset. Their son Maurice was born in 1823, followed by their daughter Solange in 1828.

Unhappy in her marriage, Sand left her husband in 1831 and moved to Paris. She began an affair with a young law student named Jules Sandeau. Together they wrote several short stories and a novel which were published under the name "J. Sand." The following year she wrote her own novel, Indiana (1832), using the name George Sand.

A year later Sand began a relationship with the poet Alfred de Musset, with whom she moved to Venice. They soon separated, Musset returned to Paris, and Sand remained in Italy with her new lover, Pietro Pagello. In 1834 Sand and Pagello moved to Paris, but she quickly abandoned him for Musset. She and Musset definitively ended their relationship in 1835. He would famously write about their affair in La Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle (1836; The Confession of a Child of the Century).

In 1835 Sand obtained a legal separation from her husband, along with custody of her children. After several more romantic affairs, in 1838 she began a long-term relationship with Frédéric Chopin. Six years her junior, he was a young Polish composer who had moved to Paris at age twenty-one. He was now twenty-eight and in poor health.

Seeking better climate for Chopin's condition, the couple and Sand's children spent the winter on the island of Majorca. They were unable to find suitable accommodations because they were unmarried, and were force to lodge in an abandoned monastery in Valldemossa. Sand later wrote about the miserable experience in Un hiver à Majorque (1842; A Winter in Majorca).

After nine years together, Sand and Chopin parted ways in 1847. The novel she was then writing, Lucrezia Floriani (1846), is often considered to be based on their difficult relationship.

Sand lived with the engraver Alexandre Manceau from 1850 until his death in 1865. She continued to be socially active in her later years, visiting her friend Gustave Flaubert at his home in Croisset. She was also friends with the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev.

A prolific writer, Sand produced some seventy novels. She also authored a number of plays and the autobiography Histoire de ma vie (1854-55; Story of My Life).

Sand died of intestinal blockage on June 8, 1876. She was seventy-one.

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