July 1

This Day in History

Literary

Jul 1, 1804:

George Sand is born

Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, later known as author George Sand, is born in France on this day.

Sand's father, a descendant of a king of Poland through illegitimate lines, had been married to her mother, a Parisian bird-seller, for only a month when Sand was born. Her father died when she was four. Three years later, Sand went to live on her wealthy grandmother's country estate.

Sand attended convent school in Paris and returned to the country in 1820, where she spurned her grandmother's attempts to arrange a marriage for her. After her grandmother's death in 1821, Sand married Casimir Francois Dudevant, the son of a baron, and became Baroness Dudevant. The couple had two children but also serious differences. Sand began spending six months of the year in Paris, where she lived with her lover, a law student. She began to write for a Parisian newspaper, Le Figaro, sometimes under the byline J. Sand or Georges Sand. Her first novel, Indiana, was published in 1832.

Sand engaged in a series of long love affairs and sued her husband for legal separation in 1836. Two years later, she began an affair with the composer Frederic Chopin, which lasted nearly a decade. Sand retired to her country estate, which she had inherited from her grandmother, and wrote books, including many novels and a 20-volume autobiography. In her writing, Sand affirmed the equality of women, the injustice of arranged marriages, and the need for women's sexual freedom. She also included socialist or rustic themes in many of her novels. She died in June 1876.

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