George Sand

On this date in 1804, George Sand (nee Aurore Dupin) was born in France. She was tutored in the country, spent three years in Paris with the Augustinian nuns, then read widely on her own. She scandalously left her unsympathetic husband Baron Dudevant, whom she married in 1822, to embark on a career as a novelist. That career took off with the success of her second novel, Indiana (1832). Unwilling to have her freedom restricted by sexist codes, she adopted the nom de plume "George Sand," often appeared in public in liberating male clothing, and befriended the literarati of her day. Sand became a noted celebrity. She was prolific even for her era of romantic wordiness. Consuelo was a novel in eight volumes and Histoire de ma vie, her autobiography, is 20 volumes! Sand was an outspoken critic of clericalism for most of her life, but invoked "God" frequently in her writings and letters. She went through Deistic, spiritualistic and pantheistic stages, but never returned to Christianity. Her most famous liaison was with the composer Chopin, who, while far more orthodox than Sand in his political views, also refused to return to the Roman Catholic Church. Her enduring legacy is as a rebel and role model living life as freely and fully as men. She instructed there should be no religious rites at her funeral, which was presided over by freethinker Victor Hugo. D. 1876.

“[I reject Christianity's anthropomorphic God,] made in our image, silly and malicious, vain and puerile, irritable or tender, after our fashion.”

—George Sand, cited by James A. Haught in 2000 Years of Disbelief

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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