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No one knows who George Sand is, so let's fix that

Okay, so what my last post proved is that no one knows shit about George Sand. We're about to change all that. GATHER ROUND ME, CHILDREN, FOR I HAVE JUST DONE INTERNET RESEARCH.

George Sand was born in 1804 with the EXTREMELY FRENCH ladyname of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin. Good. Job. So she was born right when Napoleon was all 'KABOOM! I am your emperor' and as far as I know, the French were like 'Hey, we just killed a whole bunch of people trying to end that, but ok.' So she's born when that's going on, and also the same year that the Napoleonic Code is adopted, which is basically all "I'm gonna be an asshole to women." 

She eventually has something to say regarding that. But as a baby she was probably pretty chill about it.

When she's 18 (let's skip all those formative years), she marries a guy called "Baron Casimir Dudevant," making her (in my mind) Baroness Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin-Dudevant. Which is awesome.

Nine years later (1831) she leaves her husband, because, according to one thing I read, she found his will and he was a total dick to her in it in a name-calling way, and bounces about until ACTUALLY separating from him four years later. At this point, Napoleon's been imprisoned, the Bourbon monarchy restored, then the Bourbons overthrown by the Orléans family, and the July Monarchy's in power for a while. If you've never studied French history, the 19th century's a shit show and about ten billion different people are in power.

Indiana, the novel I mentioned the other day, was written in 1832, so the year after she left her husband. There's a lot in there about how awful the Napoleonic Code is and how women have no rights and maybe someone's in a terrible marriage and would like to leave it please.
The husband's adultery was still no ground for divorce unless he brought his mistress home. However, the wife's adultery could land her in jail for up to 3 months and was certainly a ground for divorce. (x)

So Sand's boppin' around after the July Monarchy's in control, and she's havin' affairs with basically all the young French writer gentlemen, including Prosper Mérimée (who wrote the story the opera Carmen is based on) and Alfred de Musset, who was an overly dramatic poet who wrote a book about their relationship after it ended. She wrote a novel in response years later ("THIS IS HOW IT REALLY WENT DOWN") but that is beside the point.

The point is that she adopted the name George Sand and had a ten year affair with Chopin. The pseudonym seems to be because...y'know. It was the 1830s and ladies weren't published so much. Also, after she left her husband and was off in the Latin Quarter in Paris, she started dressing like a dude, because greater freedom and the like. Plus...

plus there's that.

She once said "Chopin coughs most gracefully." 

Which I think we should all love her for. 

Sand was an important figure in the 19th century French literary scene, which we might not pay a TON of attention to in 21st century English-speaking countries, but we should. Because Balzac and Zola and Stendhal and Hugo and Dumas and Flaubert. Hurrah for all of them. 

Especially Balzac, 'cause he is awesome.


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