George Sand was a French novelist whose real name was Amandine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin. Born on 5 July 1804, Sand was a feminist who was ahead of her time.
Sand wrote her first novel in 1831 in collaboration with Jules Sandeau. She didn’t gain critical acclaim for her writing until the following year, when she wrote Indiana. From there, Sand went on to write several more novels. She wrote Lelia in 1833, Mauprat in 1837, Le Compagnon du Tour de France in 1840, Consuelo in 1843, and Le Meunier d’Angibault in 1845. Her rural novels included La Mare au Diable in 1846, Francois le Champi in 1848, La Petite Fadette in 1849, and Les Beaux Messieurs Bois-Dore in 1857.
Sand also penned several theatrical pieces, including the autobiographical Histoire de ma Vie in 1855 and Elle et Lui in 1859. Another piece, Journal Intime, was published in 1926, which was long after her death on 8 June 1876. Sand frequently performed her own theatrical works in her small private theatre at the Nohant estate.
Despite her superb writing abilities and the popularity of her novels, Sand was perhaps better known for her lifestyle. Her father was a descendant of Louis XVI and her mother was a commoner. Sand was raised on an estate and married a Baron, yet she did not follow the rules expected of a woman of her social stature. Most notably, she enjoyed wearing men’s clothing and portraying herself as a man as she walked the streets of Paris.
Sand enjoyed passing herself off as a man because it enabled her to access areas that were not socially acceptable for a woman to attend, particularly one of her standing. In fact, her actions were severely looked down upon, and Sand lost many privileges normally afforded a Baroness. Sand had two children during her marriage to the Baron, whom she left in 1835 after reportedly having a two-year affair. Despite her manly lifestyle, Sand was described by many who knew her as a good and a “womanly” woman.