Unorthodox literary heroine 19th-century France needed

One of the most well-known images of 19th-century author George Sand, taken by Nadar (aka Gaspard-Félix Tournachon)

The extraordinary, liberated, freewheeling, cross-dressing, and affair-ridden life and times of noted novelist George Sand would have made a book in its own right. The Connexion finds out more...

George Sand was one of the most popular novelists in Europe in the 19th century – but her freewheeling lifestyle, cross-dressing and long affair with Chopin would sear the pages of a modern romantic novel.

In true bed-hopping tale style, Sand’s father was an aristocratic military man and her mother was a prostitute.

The pair married just before their daughter, Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, was born, in 1804.

The parents did not stay together long, and when her father died her mother abandoned her.

The four-year-old orphan was taken in by her paternal grandmother, Marie-Aurore de Saxe, herself the illegitimate daughter of Marshal Maurice de Saxe, who was himself the result of an illicit affair.

Portrait of the writer around 1835

The family were used to children being born the wrong side of the blanket; their social acceptance relied entirely on their wealth and aristocratic connections, which reached into many of the royal houses of Europe.

The family home was a large estate in the historic French province of Berry called Nohant, which later became the setting for many of Sand’s novels.

Her grandmother doted on her, and her childhood might have been idyllic – but her father’s death when she was four, her mother’s ...

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