George Sand Pathfinder

Introduction and Scope

Contemporary Writers on Sand
LC Subject Headings

Browsing Areas

Biographical Sources

Critical Works
Dictionaries and Guides

Abstracts and Indexes


Geographical Sources

Selected Fiction


Over the course of her career George Sand wrote over one hundred volumes, was a tremendous popular success, was admired by writers such as Flaubert, Hugo, and Balzac, and inspiration of George Eliot and Charlotte Bronte. Until recently her "pastoral novels" were standard reading in French schools. Today she is barely known as a writer but rather for life which was scandalous for the time. After marrying at nineteen and leaving her her abusive husband, Sand moved to Paris and turned to writing to support herself. Over her life she had significant relationships with the poets Jules Sandeau (the inspiration for her pen name), Alfred Musset, and most famously the composer Frederick Chopin. She was also the intimate friend and correspondent of the novelists Flaubert and Balzac. At the same time she became a well-respected as a writer in the eyes of contempory writers (see comments) she became legendary for scandalizing Paris by wearing pants and for the speculation about her relationship with the actress Marie Dorval. Her life is a subject of enduring interest because it was such an influence on other female writers (in particular George Eliot) and because so many other exceptional French artists sought out her company. This pathfinder is intended for undergraduate students or other adults interested in learning about Sand’s life.

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Contemporary Writers on Sand

“you will live Madame, and you will be Lord Byron of France”(Chateaubriand) “A gross beast… a latrine” (Baudelaire) “The Britanny cow of literature” (Renard) “The greatest writer of the century” (Renan) “She will stand as an emblem of France” (Flaubert). -translated from the French, from jacket of La Mare au Diable (see "selected fiction").

“With her good and evil together, I regard her with infinitely more admiration than all other woman of genius who are or have been.”-Elizabeth Barrett, in letter to her then-fiancé Robert Browning (Dickenson 3)

"Though I never saw any of her works which I admired throughout.... yet she has a grasp of mind which, if I cannot fully comprehend, I can very deeply respect: she is sagacious and profound; Miss Austin is only shrewd and observant." -Charlotte Brontë, in letter to her publisher (Thompson p.63)

"The great improvisatrice of French literature" -Henry James on Sand (Dickenson 126)

"I cannot read six pages of hers without feeling that it is given to her to delineate human passion and its results... with such truthfulness and such nicety of descrimination such tragic power and withall such loving gentle humor that one might live a century with nothing but one's own dull faculties and not know so much as those six pages will suggest." -George Elliot, in letter to Sara Hennell (Thompson 154)

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LC Subject Headings

Sand, George for both Subject and Author;

Feminist French Writers for Subject

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Browsing Areas

Davis 7th floor, Undergraduate Library 2nd floor PQ 2393- through PQ 2420
Contains Sand’s works, autobiogragraphies and biographies about her, critical works, and correspondence.

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Biographies and Autobiography

Belinda Jack. George Sand: A Woman’s Life Writ Large. Kopf. New York: 2000
This biography sheds light on Sand’s inner life. Jack pays particular attention to her childhood. Jack discusses not only what Sand’s work reveals about her actual experience, but how Sand used her writing as a form of self- exploration.

Andre Maurois: Lelia: The Life of George Sand. Translated from the French by Gerard Hopkins. New York: 1953.
This is one of the most-often cited biographies about Sand. It is not completely modern in its treatment (he sometimes seems to pass to judgment on her lifestyle only because she was a woman), but it is well- researched and well-written.

Sand, George. Histoire de ma Vie. Ed. Brigitte Diaz. Paris: Librairie Général Francaise, 2004. Originally published in ten volumes, this is Sand’s autobiography (“Story of my life”). Diaz has selected about one quarter of the most popular sections.

Naginski, Isabelle. George Sand: Writing for her Life. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991. This often-riveting book treats Sand primarily as a writer, pointing out, as does Dickenson, that her life has been given too attention while she has not been given enough respect as a professional.

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Critical Works

Thompson, Patricia. Sand and the Victorians. London: Macmillan, 1977.
Discusses Sand’s influence on English Victorian Writers such as the Brontës
George Eliot, Wordsworth, Jane Austen. Includes the commentary of English writers on Sand by George Elliot for example, and Charlotte Bronte’s comparison of Sand to Jane Austen. Thompson believes that British writers are as viewed as being more insular than they actually were. She persuasively argues that Sand’s influence helps explain the course that literature took during the Victorian Period.

Peebles, Catherine M. The Psyche of Feminism: Sand, Colette, Sarraute. Purdue University, 2004.
The chapter of this book devoted to Sand analyzes her from a feminist perspective through her works Lettres a Marcia (which was never finished) and Lelia.

Dickenson, Donna: George Sand: A Brave Man, the Most Womanly Woman. Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1988.
This compact and perceptive book presents Sand as a writer first (as Dickenson pointedly says she would surely be looked at if she had been a man). She focuses also on Sand as a social activist in her novels and pointing out that in spite of Sand's less than comfortable financial position, she never stopped her gifts of thousands of franks to help persecuted republicans and peasants in the Berry.

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Dictionairies and Encyclopedias

Davis Reference PQ- PQ4000

Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia: "George Sand" (Volume 10)
2002 Edition
This essay on is a good starting point to studying Sand. It gives a brief overview of her life, listing the people she was also connected to, but at the same time gives some examples of how she was an independent thinking from these men. At the end there is a helpful selective bibliography of biographies about her.

French Women Writers: A Bio-Biographical Source Book. Ed. Eva Martin Sartori and Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. 1999.
Davis PQ149.F73 1991
This book memorializes the place of women writers in French literature, who as a group had an importance envied by other female writers such as George Eliot. It studies the importance of the literary salon in the intellectual life of these women. The essay on Sand outlines her life as well as her career, focusing on her efforts as a social reformer. It argues that her work should be viewed as "engagé", literature for the purpose of social change.

Encyclopedia of the Novel: "George Sand." Schellinger, Paul (ed.)
Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998.
This essay discusses Sand’s work both in the context of literary progress and of social progress. It only mentions her pastoral novels but focuses on the novels such as Indiana which carry strong messages about societal issues such as political freedom and women’s rights. It discusses the influence that her writing had on other women novelists such as George Elliot.

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Abstracts and Indexes

Found on UNC library’s homepage at the Electronic Indexes and Databases on UNC library homepage on campus. From off-campus they are accessible with a valid UNC-CH PID. Suggested search terms are “George Sand” or titles of her works.

MLA International Bibliography
Produced by the Modern Language Association, this index covers articles and bibliographies on Literature, Language, and Linguistics. A search for “George Sand” (terms anywhere) yielded 1168 journal articles and dissertations. Updated quarterly, coverage from 1963 to present.

Academic Search Elite
This comprehensive database wide range of academic areas including social science, humanities, business, etc. It contains full-text articles from over 1,000 journals dating back to 1990, abstracts and indexes for over 3,200 scholarly journals. It also includes some major newspapers such as the Economist and the New York Times.

Expanded Academic ASAP
This another inclusive catch-all database, which covers topics from literary criticism, to biology and philosophy, drawing on more than 1,500 scholarly and general journals and other publications. The full text of many articles is included in PDF format but the majority are covered by abstracts.

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Nineteenth-Century French Studies: Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1972-. Quartarly.
Published by the University of Nebraska Press, this journal focuses on new trends in a the study of nineteenth- century French Literature. I ran across several articles on Sand even before searching for them. Issues since Spring- Summer 2001 are available online through Project Muse: . Print Journals since first (January 1972) available on Davis 7th floor at PQ1 .N55.

SubStance: Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1971-. Quartarly.
This is quarterly journal calls itself an “international nexus” for discussion of literature from many different perspectives including social science, the arts, and philosophy. University of Wisconsin Press. Vol. 28, n.2 (1999) through current available online via Project Muse:
Print versions from 1971-1999are in Davis of at PN80.59.

Australian Journal of French Studies: Clayton, Australia: Monash University Press, 1964-. Quatarly.
This quarterly journal is the first Austrian Journal focusing on French Studies. Articles (some in French and some in English) cover critical analysis, linguistics, and literary history, etc. It also tries to include “assessments of the of the present state of research into major French authors and problems of literary scholarship.” Sand may not be a major author but there were quite a few articles about her in this journal. Print journals starting with the first issue in Jan. 1964 on Davis 7th floor at PQ1.A8.

Modern Language Review: Leeds: Many Publishing, 1906-. Quartarly.
This journal is published by the Modern Humanities Research Association based in Cambridge, UK. It contains articles and reviews on medieval and modern European language and literature (including English). This is a good place to find connections between Sand and writers of other languages. From July 1995 available on the web via NCLive. Print articles from first issue in Davis PB1 .M65.

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Geographical Sources

left: View of the Berry; right: Nohant, Sand's childhood home.

Sand spent most of her childhood at her father’s ancestral home in the village of “Nohant” in the Berry, in central France. In her adult life she lived sometimes in Nohant and sometimes in Paris, but she remained deeply attached to the Berry and her childhood “berichon” friends. Following the tradition of ther romantics her “rustic” novels (such as Francois le Champi and La Petite Fadette) romanticize the country life in general. But a closer look reveals that they take place in the Berry. In these novels Sand took pains to record the ceremonies, superstitions, and quaint Patois dialect which have all now disappeared (Powell).

Powell, David A. George Sand. Chapter Four: Nohant and Berry. Boston: G.K. Hall and Co, 1990.
This essay discusses how Sand’s “virgilian” love of the country life influenced in her writing and looks at the Berry in particular as a backdrop of each of the rustic novels. He makes the point that this region would have been unknown to most French at that time, and argues that Sand captured drew the French imagination to the obscure Berry similarly to way the Brontës and Thomas Hardy had parts of England that had been little known.

Lubin, Georges. George Sand en Berry. Libraries Hachette, 1967.
Black-and- White photographs of the town of Nohant and Sand’s house, and the countryside and villages surrounding it which were well-known to Sand. Most photographs are accompanied by a few words about it by Sand, drawn from her autobiography, her fiction, or her letters, or her letters. Also there are portraits of her at various stages of her life including sketches of her and portraits of her at various stages of her life including sketches of her as a child by her grandmother, and portraits and pictures of the important people in her life.

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Selected Fiction

All available in UNC library system..
All Sand’s major works are available on the ARTful project database which is available on the UNC library webpage at Davis Library. If you are off-campus you will need a UNC-CH PID number to gain access to the site.

La Mare au Diable
PQ2408 .A1 1931
Trans. The Devil’s Pond
PQ2397 .B56 2004

La Petite Fadette
Davis PQ2411 .P4 1981
Trans. Fadette
PQ2411 .P413 1851

Francois le Champi
PQ2402 .A1 1927
Trans. The Country Waif
PQ2402 .A43 1977

These three charming "pastoral novels" take place in the Berry. They are Sand's most popular works and until recently were standard reading in French schools.

PQ2404.A2 D535 1984
Trans: PQ2404 .A4 1994

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George Sand Association: Last viewed 12/6/2004.
This literary society was founded in 1976 at Hofstra University. It co-hosts a biennial international conference on Sand, and published the annual journal George Sand Studies.

Les Amis de George Sand : Last viewed 12/6/2004.
This association was founded in 1975, almost exactly one hundred years after the death of Sand. The sight contains and de George Sand. There are also links to doctoral theses on Sand. index of George Sand Studies, the Review of Les Amis de George Sand, and the review of La Presence.

Image Credits:
Sand Portrait:
Berry and Nohant:

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