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Lot 193
SAND, GEORGE (1804-1876, French writer, lover of Chopin)
Sold for £1,560 (US$ 2,429) inc. premium

Lot Details
SAND, GEORGE (1804-1876, French writer, lover of Chopin)
FORTHRIGHT AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ('George Sand'), to Ferdinand Leroy, Prefect of the Indre, avowing her determination not to be drawn into the controversy between him and L'Eclaireur which he is accusing of lying and being rude about him ('...My tastes always keep me away from it, and my sex even more. A woman who would attack men with resentment and hostility in mind would not be very brave. When men feel outraged, they have as the ultimate resource other arms than the pen and, since I cannot fight a duel, I will never express my feelings for anything other than general causes or for defending some unfortunate soul...'), assuring him that she does not direct or influence L'Eclaireur although she supports it, but declaring her conviction that the government is odious and cowardly in respect of the independent press and in its attitude to its civil servants and administrators ('...governments always strive to degrade the dignity and integrity of their officials by making them accomplices to their passions...This is how they destroy the confidence and sympathy of the people they administer...The government is therefore the culprit, cowardly hidden behind you...The duty implied by your position is to serve its wrongs and to assume the responsibility for them...this is the secret of my tolerance towards public men...'), telling him that he should not be surprised if L'Eclaireur has been less than fair since he must have foreseen the consequences attendant on his position ('...You like to do good, and you must suffer when you are condemned to do wrong...') or if she attacks him ('...I will always consider it my duty to take the side of the weak, the ignorant and the miserable against the powerful, the clever and the wealthy, and, as a consequence, against the interest of the bourgeoisie, against my own family if necessary, and against you, Mr Prefect, if the actions of your administration are not always paternal...'), but asserting, at the same time, that if she does attack him he will know it because when she writes anything she always signs it; George Sand also releases him from responsibility for attacks on her in the newspaper of the prefecture which, in effect, because of his office, he directs and tells him plainly that his advocate in that newspaper will never rile her enough to make her answer him, and proposes that he accept her observations with the good taste of a man of wit and learning, in French, 5 pages, quarto, with a modern translation and the original envelope, Nohant, 24 October 1844

Footnotes

  • L'Eclaireur de l'Indre, a local republican and therefore an opposition newspaper, was founded in 1844 by Charles Duvernet, Alphonse Fleury and Alexis Duteil with George Sand's help. Ideologically and personally, George Sand supported it, both for its liberal and humanitarian views and because she had arranged for her sometime lover Victor Borie to be its editor. She hoped that it could be turned into a vehicle for the propagation of Pierre Leroux's communistic philosophy -- she said of herself at this time that 'George Sand is no more than a pale reflection of Pierre Leroux.' In the present letter, punctuated with brilliant statements of her personal philosophy and political attitudes and expressed with a measured sense of affrontery coupled with sympathy for the cynically used official and some degree of high-minded equanimity, George Sand defends herself against the accusation of a personal involvement in the friction between the newspaper's journalists and the conservative governing body of the Indre region of central France. In 1848 she was seen as the literary spokesperson of the Revolution (Curtis Cate, George Sand, 1975).
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