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Sand, George (1804-1876)  

Amantine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, better known as George Sand, is as infamous for her cigar-in-hand cross-dressing as she is famous for her eighty novels, twenty plays, and numerous political tracts.

Sand also claimed an infamous ancestry. Her great-great-grandfather, an eighteenth-century king of Poland, sired out of wedlock her great-grandfather, who in turn fathered an illegitimate daughter, Sand's grandmother, Aurore Dupin de Franceuil. On her father's death, the future writer lived in the worlds of two women who hated each other, her aristocratic grandmother, owner of the estate of Nohant-Vic in Berry, and her mother, daughter of a Parisian bird seller. From her grandmother Sand inherited an independent spirit, and from her mother, a devotion to socialism.

After a failed marriage to Baron Casimir Dudevant, Sand collaborated with her new lover, author Jules Sandeau, on several short stories, which she published under the pseudonym J. Sand. In 1832, she published her first full-length novel, Indiana. It won international critical acclaim and made her, in the minds of many of her contemporaries, no less than the spokesperson of her age. Critics now view Indiana as a quintessential Sand novel in that it deplores gender inequality and criticizes marriage, two of the recurrent themes in her large canon.

Sand vented all her antipatriarchal sentiments in Lélia (1833). Whereas Indiana is a third-person narrative, Lélia delves deeper into the inner world of the first-person narrator, a female character who loses respect for men, love, and God. The object of much unfavorable attention, mostly by men, Lélia is castigated for her failure of sexual fulfillment; but it may well be that Lélia's frigidity is a result of her refusal to love a man with the deference expected of a woman in nineteenth-century France--a refusal Sand herself shared in her own life. Indeed, André Maurois, whose 1952 biography Lélia: The Life of George Sand renewed critical interest in both the author and the novel, identifies Sand with Lélia, especially as a female Don Juan who is at once impotent and seductive.

Notorious for her cross-dressing, Sand seduced many men including such illustrious figures as Alfred de Musset and Frédéric Chopin. Her love for Marie Dorval, a famous Parisian actress and lover of Alfred de Vigny, seemed to go unnoticed. But Sand's letters to Marie are some of her most passionate and devoted; and in her correspondence, Sand identifies Marie as the one true love of her life.

After retiring to her inherited estate, Nohant-Vic, Sand in her later work celebrated the peasants of the Berry region. Her pastoral novels include such well-known works as The Devil's Pool (La Mare au Diable [1846]), François the Waif (François le Champi [1848]), and The Little Fadette (La Petite Fadette [1849]). The minister of Propaganda of the short-lived Second Republic (1848-1852), George Sand praised communism as the "true Christianity" and championed the cause of the people in her novels and political tracts.

Robert Rhyne


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A photograph of George Sand created by Felix Nadar in 1864.
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literature >> Overview:  Bisexual Literature

Although Western culture's reliance upon binary systems of classification and identification has meant the practical erasure of bisexuality, as such, from literary and cultural analysis, bisexual experiences appear in many literary works from ancient times to the present.

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Popular nineteenth-century French actress Marie Dorval enjoyed an intense romantic friendship with the writer George Sand that fueled much speculation among Parisian gossips of the time, as well as among later biographers and historians.


Barry, Joseph, ed. and trans. George Sand in Her Own Words. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday-Anchor, 1979.

Blount, Paul. George Sand and the Victorian World. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1979.

Datlof, Natalie, ed. The World of George Sand. New York: Greenwood, 1991.

Godwin-Jones, Robert. Romantic Vision: The Novels of George Sand. Birmingham, Ala.: Summa Publications, 1995.

Naginski, Isabelle. George Sand: Writing for Her Life. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1991.

Schor, Naomi. George Sand and Idealism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rhyne, Robert  
    Entry Title: Sand, George  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated July 24, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, New England Publishing Associates  


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