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George Sand the pen name of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin 1804 76 was a French novelist memoirist and socialist recognised as one of the most notable writers of the European Romantic era She was born in Paris and raised for much of her childhood by her grandmother at her estate in the province of Berry which Sand later used as the setting for many of her novels She adopted an unconventional lifestyle donning male attire and smoking in public and in 1831 left her husband whom she had married at 18 in 1822 to enter upon a period of 'romantic rebellion' before legally separating in 1835 and taking custody of their two children She had affairs with a number of prominent literary figures including Prosper Merimee and Alfred de Musset and a long relationship with the composer Chopin By the age of 27 she was the most popular writer in Europe remaining immensely influential throughout her lifetime and long after her death In 1836 the first of several compendia of her writings was published in 24 volumes and in total four separate editions of her 'Complete Works' were published in her lifetime Valentine 1832 was Sand's second novel and is notable for displaying many of her preoccupations as an emerging novelist love social class greed liberty and family ties It tells the story of Valentine born into an aristocratic family but who falls in love with a peasant farmer Benedict Star crossed lovers of different social status became a recurring theme in Sand's work highlighting the hypocrisy and rigidity of social norms in the Restoration period French Republic Reprinted from a French language edition


10 thoughts on “Valentine

  1. says:

    I saved my copy of ‘Valentine’ for uite some time because I was sure from the start that it would be special that it was a book to save for exactly the right moment And when I read ‘Valentine’ I realised that I had been right that I was reading a classic work by the finest of authorsI was transported to rural France I was captivated by the story the romance by everything that the author had to tell me I was torn between wanting to rush through the pages and wanting to linger to in this world in this story for as long as I could‘Valentine’ tells the story of the love between Valentine de Raimbault the daughter of the chateau and Bénédict Lhéry the nephew of one of its tenant farmers When they met they feel in love swiftly and deeply That love was tangible the characters lived and breathed their whole world came to life It was wonderful but it was impossible “He could not take his eyes from Valentine’s; whether he leaned over the bank or ventured on to the loose stones or on to the smooth and slippery pebbles in the river bed he inevitably met Valentine’s glance watching him brooding over him so to speak with tender solicitude Valentine did not know how to dissemble; she did not consider on that occasion there was the slightest occasion for her to do so”Benedict had been brought up by his aunt and uncle and it was understood that he would marry their adored – but spoiled – only child AthénaïsValentine’s sister Louise had been cast off by her family when a love affair produced a son out of wedlock and that left Valentine to marry well A marriage had been arranged with a man of high rank; but a man who was dissolute and in need of the fortune that Valentine would bring to pay his gambling debtsIt was impossible but the bond between them was unbreakableThe story rises and falls because Valentine and Benedict have different temperaments One is reluctant to cause hurt and tries to follow the path that was planned for them and one is ready to do anything for the two to be togetherAnd of course their are other influences A spouse who will not be undermined A lover sore after rejection A loving sister whose own feelings and interest may conflict with sisterly love George Sand constructed and managed her plot beautifully attending to every single detail;she brought the countryside to life with wonderfully rich descriptions; and she made her characters’ feelings palpableShe gave me a wonderful story full of wonderful drama and so many real emotionsAnd it was a story with much to say about the separation of social classes about the lack of education and opportunity for women of any class “Every day in the name of God and society some clown or some dastard obtains the hand of an unfortunate girl who is forced by her parents her good name or her poverty to stifle in her heart a pure and sanctified love And before the eyes of society which approves and sanctions the outrage the modest trembling woman who has been unable to resist the transports of her lover falls dishonoured beneath the kisses of a detested master and this must go on”There is so much depth so much richness in the characters in the relationships in the way that story plays out but I am wary of saying too muchI have to believe that George Sand was an author who put her head her heart and her soul into her work And now of course I want to read everything that she ever wroteIt’s difficult to place her imagine Thomas Hardy transformed as Virginia Woolf transformed Orlando sitting down to rewrite Romeo and Juliet and drawing inspiration from Shakespeare’s other works too I can’t uite explainI just know that I loved this book Translated by George Burnham Ives


  2. says:

    155 I can imagine patriotism in free or virtuous nations if there are any such But here on French soil where whatever people may say the soil lacks arms to work it where every profession is full to overflowing with aspirants where the human species crowding in sickening fashion about the palaces of the great crawls and licks the footprints of the rich man; where vast sums heaped up according to all the laws of social wealth in the hands of a few men are the stakes in the never ending game between greet immorality and stupidity in this land of immodesty and poverty of vice and desolation and you expect me to be a citizen in this rotten civilization—rotten to its core? to sacrifice my desires my inclination my caprice to its needs that I may be its dupe or its victim and that the coin which I might have tossed to the beggar shall fall into the millionaire's strong box I knew I was taking a risk taking up yet another Dupin with less ratings than and an eually low average rating to the first work I read of hers However I truly was surprised by that first Indiana so when the opportunity to read of the author arose in a combination of a suitable reading women challenge and a fortuitous book sale showing I grabbed it In hindsight the fact that both that first work and this second one were published in the same year makes me think that Dupin struck an uneven balance with regards to theme plot and digression between the two and 'Indiana' got far of the uality part of that partitioning As one can plainly see from the uote above there are some instances where Dupin really lets loose in the best way possible and if you're one of those US citizens who can't see the similarities between that long ago France and today's state of the union you've got another thing coming However that kind of content as well as some interesting commentary on shifts in French s from the 18th c to the 19th likely only took up two to three pages of the work and the rest of it was so choked with gynephobic drama seesawing character development and one of the most disappointing conclusions I've encountered in recent times that I'm going to think twice before I take another chance on one of her other works Class gender the bucolic and political shifts between empire and republic are the main focus of this work It's been a long while since I was confronted with the pastoral novel outside of university assignments so I didn't particularly realize what I was looking at until the main noblewoman went through her third instance of aspiring to be a milkmaid or something of the sort Now I'm the type who made their way rather easily through the nature choked descriptions of LotR and I've noticed a tendency of mine to indulge in narrative descriptions of flora and fauna and Dupin is no mean composer of such However such was largely confined to the first half of the book and the second half went through so many iterations of various duos of he said she said executed in many a decorated drawing room I'm assuming the decoration as I didn't get many hints in that regard that it was a relief when it finally ended Attempted suicide murder suicide considered by multiple parties marriages between first cousins fortunately in this case not as it was in 'Indiana' the favored pairing presented alongside the condemned themes of marrying for money sacrificing familial ties for wealth and status the rich in general and the status of rich women in French society in the early nineteenth century although in a much weaker manner than that which occurs in 'Indiana' Certainly a lot upon looking back but altogether it could have been half the length for all the uniue content it had to offer In a phrase heterosexual nonsense at its finest and this time around I didn't learn nearly enough to render such tolerableSo second time around the Dupin bibliography wasn't the greatest but that's unfortunately what has a high risk of happening with older works Still when taking authorial context into consideration Dupin's one that I would be willing to try out at least one other work by bonus points for her suiting my various reading women challenges uite nicely Much as it is with Evans the average reader probably has a hard time understanding what I'm talking about when I use real names except Dupin doesn't have the benefit of than twenty times the number of ratings on this admittedly Anglo biased side of things I've compared her to Hugo in the past and I'll gladly do so again when given the opportunity although I won't be handing out freebies in that regard unless comparisons to Notre Dame's Hugo are in order which I suppose could be desired in a misguided fashion So another older woman authored work checked off the list and one in translation to boot Here's hoping I get access to a book sale before August and Women in Translation Month hits as I'm getting through so many at the moment that I'd like to replenish my stocks Must we part with every ray of sunlight in order to assure the solidity of our walls of ice?


  3. says:

    This is the first book by George Sand that I've read that is similar to a Shakespearean tragedy The others of hers that I've read so far have a happy or a relatively happy ending In some ways Valentine which is Sand's second novel reminds me of Indiana which was her first Both are brooding painful and at time overly emotional love stories with great descriptions of the French countryside The characters' internal worlds are described in detail The dialogue is elouent In her later works that I've read thus far Sand added in dashes of wit This is the third novel by George Sand that I've read this year I'm considering a fourth


  4. says:

    Tonally and thematically reads very much like George Eliot’s Middlemarch though shorter less complicated and less sublimetranscendental to me anyway Plot wise reminds me soooo much of a Shakespeare play Boy likes girl Boy also really hates capitalism but I’ll just set that aside Boy likes girl a lot she’s the love of his life But oops boy’s already engaged to someone else his cousin naturally and awk girl’s like a decade and a half older anyway Double oops Boy doesn’t like girl boy likes girl’s sister now and she’s the “real” love of his life I’m sure if there were a seuel he’d be falling in love with girl’s mother girl’s grandmother girl’s second cousin’s best friend’s hairdresser Triple oops girl’s sister is also engaged uh oh Meanwhile boy’s original fiancee gets married to another boy Boys duel because boys will be boys Bam bam pow wine glass shwooooop This may or may not be a drunk review I should make a bookshelf for theseCue lots of meeting in picturesue gardens and having faithful nurses cover for you goddamn I really need to get myself a nurse to wingman my midnight trysts in the chateau so handy and hiding behind curtains and double suicide threats and getting high and wait I don’t remember that part in Shakespeare Anyway getting high and biting each other no don’t ask uestions and getting ill and marrying greedy bastards and oh let’s not forget attacks of hysteria and paroxysms of spirit And the inevitable view spoilermurder suicide and tidily marrying up of the few surviving parties hide spoiler


  5. says:

    Valentine George Sand's second solo novel is a simple sad little tale set in he Black Valley of Sand's native Berry region in rural central France Like so many of her early novels this is a bold condemnation of marriage and a straightforward statement about the tragedy of rigid social class distinctions that intervene between lovers The story's impassioned hero Bénédict an educated young peasant is Sand's vehement porte parole The title character is a naive young bride to be at the beginning of the novel when she starts to speculate on a subject that was very close to Sand's heart the uestion of why women are not given an education eual to that of men and why they accept the mediocrity of their own instruction and practice only frivolous artistic skills that are particularly unappreciated by the post Revolutionary republic “L’éducation ue nous recevons est misérable” Valentine who has been instructed only in painting muses to herself Before she meets Bénédict the nephew of her parvenu farmer neighbors Valentine is content with the marriage arranged for her by her mother to a young diplomat Évariste de Lansac who at first seems a sympathetic though dispassionate fellow Early in the narrative however the readers are told of Lansac's ruse of staying on the good side of both Valentine and her mother so nothing will stand in the way of his gaining control of the valuable ancestral lands Valentine will receive as a dowry Also Lansac is boring predicatble and incapbale d'apprécier Valentine When Valentine meets 22 year old Bénédict recently returned from Paris where his doting aunt and uncle had sent him for his education she compares the feelings she thought she had for her fiancé Bénédict's passion for Valentine is doubly hard for him to bear as he realizes that aside form her betothal to another man she is out of his reach socially since she is descended from wealthy landowners and he comes from peasant stock who have only started to gain some wealth Before this story plays itself out an uncomfortable love triangle will arise Bénédict will slip easiliy into the role of misunderstood Romantic hero and many many plot complexities will abound Although Valentine is generally less freuently cited and analyzed than many of Sand's other 1930s novels its emphasis on how women were hurt by the legalities of the day the open disgust with the state of comparative ignorance in which women were kept and with the archaic preoccupation with social position that led to hurtful mariages de raison marriages of convenience all foreshadow the socialist George Sand who was to become bold and forthright about her political ideas in the two decades to come Valentine's pull no punches descriptions of how contemporary attitudes toward marriage could be devasting for all involved but for women in particular are the novel's strongest point But Sand shows herself even this early in her career as a gifted Romantic storyteller as well


  6. says:

    George Sand is just the tops Valentine is just another brilliant gift to us all


  7. says:

    What a marvelous woman George Sand wasand had an amazing grasp of love affairs having herself conducted manygreat novel


  8. says:

    I think it is one of the best novels I've ever read


  9. says:

    Valentine by George Sand


  10. says:

    My review