George Sand Long Fiction Analysis
Faced with the enormous number of George Sand’s novels, literary critics quickly moved to divide them into categories. The traditional categories include feminist novels, socialistic novels, and rustic novels. While this oversimplification is inaccurate, it does help the reader to identify the major themes that recur in most of her novels.
Valentine is a good example of the critics’ dilemma. The novel recounts a love story of a married noblewoman and an educated peasant that ends tragically with the death of the lovers. The plot is a Romantic one, both in the sense of “a love story” and in the literary-historical sense of the term, for it contains several of the essential themes of French Romanticism: the passing of time, the passing of love with time, and a search for the meaning of the universe beyond the limits of human life. In Valentine, Sand’s Bénédict is a melancholy, meditative person who resembles ChateaubriandFrançois-René de’s René. He is killed accidentally by a jealous husband, but Valentine, the heroine, dies from sorrow soon after his death. At first reading, the novel seems to be primarily Romantic, yet Valentine’s fruitless attempts to find personal happiness and satisfaction, despite her financially arranged marriage and her indifferent and absent husband, suggest classification among the feminist novels. The beautiful descriptions of the Berry countryside and details of...
(The entire section is 4153 words.)
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