George Sand

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George Sand : biography

01 July 1804 – 08 June 1876

Divorce. Louis Michel

In 1835 George Sand decided to divorce and appealed to a famous lawyer Louis Michel (1797-1853). He was a republican, a great orator, a leader of all liberals of south provinces. Michel played a decisive role in forming of Sand’s political views.

In April of 1835 Sand went to Paris with him. In January she made a complaint to a court about her husband. After the court listened to witnesses, it decided to give children to madam Dudevant. Casimir Dudevant was afraid of losing the rent, he didn’t defend and agreed with court’s sentence. But when Sand and Dudevant were dividing the property, they started to quarrel. Dudevant lodged a complaint against court’s decision and made a memorandum with his complaint about his wife. Michel was defending Sand on this process in May of 1836. His eloquence made an impression on judges, but their opinions were different. On the next day Dudevant decided to conclude peace: he should bring up the son and got a hotel in Paris. George Sand should take care of the daughter, and she had Nohant. In 1837Sand broke up with Michel, because he was married and didn’t want to leave the family.

George Sand and Chopin

At the end of 1838 George Sand met Chopin and had an affair with him, Chopin by that time broke up with his bride. In hope that Majorca’s climate would be good for Chopin’s health, Sand with him and children went there to spend a winter. But her hopes weren’t right: a season of rains started, and Chopin had attacks of coughing. In February they returned in France. Sand realized she was a head of a family. She tried to live only for children, Chopin and her work. They spent winters in Paris to save money. But differences in characters, political views and jealousy didn’t allow them to be together in peace. Sand soon understood that Chopin was seriously ill and she took care of his health. But in spite of his health’s improving Chopin couldn’t be in a good mood for long because of his character and illness.

Some friends of Sand felt sorry for her, they called Chopin “an evil genius” and “her cross”. She was concerned about his health, their relationship became mere friendly, but Chopin didn’t like it and thought she had another ardors.

In 1846 Chopin and Maurice quarreled and Chopin decided to leave the house, Sand took the side of the son. Chopin left in November of 1846, firstly they correspond with each other. Sand’s daughter Solange urged them to final breaking up: when she had a conflict with her mother, she went to Paris and put him against her.

The Revolution

The revolution was a surprise for Sand: campaign of electoral banquets seemed inoffensive and useless for her, but it led to regime’s decline. She was anxious about son’s destiny – he lived in Paris at that time, so he arrived in Paris and was filled with enthusiasm by republic’s victory. She started to edit “The republican bulletin”. She was convinced of province’s conservatism and before the common elections Sand tried to draw in people for republican government. After events of 15th of May in 1848, when a crowd of manifestants tried to occupy the National Assembly, some newspapers blamed her of instigation to the riot. They said she would be arrested. Sand stayed in Paris for two days “in order to be near if justice decided to blame me” and returned in Nohant.

After the December revolution in 1851 she sent a letter to Louis-Napoleon with an appeal to stop chasing political opponents. With the help of Napoleon-Joseph she managed to soften the lot of many republicans. After Louis-Napoleon became the emperor she didn’t see him and appealed to the empress and prince Napoleon.

Last years

During the years of the Second Empire anti-clerical moods appeared in Sand’s work – it was a reaction for Louis-Napoleon’s politics. Her novel “Daniella”, which contained attacks on catholic religion, was a scandal, and the magazine in which it was published was closed.

George Sand died on the 8th of June in 1876 in her house in Nohant.