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23.10.04

George Sand Exhibit

George Sand, L'œuvre-vie, La Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de ParisAn article (Dans l'intimité de George Sand, October 21) in Le Figaro briefly reviewed an exhibit of photographs, manuscripts, and other material related to novelist George Sand, called George Sand, L'œuvre-vie, at La Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris until November 14. This exhibit is part of the George Sand Year (see my posts on July 7 and February 6).

Little by little, visitors discover an intimate relationship with Sand. He is submerged in her life through four important periods. First, there is her childhood with her father's family: the jealous opposition of her grandmother to the marriage of George's parents and her early separation from her mother. Next, we see the literary beginnings of she who was not yet George Sand. The young Aurore Dupin, who made her debut in Le Figaro, makes efforts in the novel, the theater, and soon is bound by friendship with the greatest names in literature: Sainte-Beuve, Dumas, Hugo, Flaubert. Everyone fell under the young woman's charm. "No living person can dare be so insolent as to be parallel to you: you are destined to a success like that of Lamartine. [...] Balzac and Mérimée died under Indiana," the critic Henri de Latouche wrote to her. Then come the political activities, her shadowy collaboration with the socialist Ledru-Rollin, the preparation of future popular revolts and battles for women's rights. The exhibit concludes in the family home at Nohant. At the end of her life, Sand devoted herself to the theater and to marionnettes with her beloved son, at last found again.
One major part of the exhibit is the display of her manuscripts and corrected publication proofs, by which "the mystery of literary work is illuminated." Her personal life is connected to the stories in her works, likes La Petite Fadette and La Mare au diable. Unfortunately, there is no Web site for the exhibit. However, you can read most of her work online at Gallica, the excellent collection of electronic texts from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

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