Sunday, August 27, 2006

Valentine, George Sand

In light of all the fantastic fiction I'd been reading I decided to read something guaranteed to have nothing supernatural about it. I picked Sand because I've never read her, only seen Impromptu. I'd heard both that she was the French Austen, and that she wrote bodice rippers for her time. Well, both are true. Underneath the flighty romance is a keen observation of French social structure post Napoleon. What I loved was that the observations could be identical to observations today--the young hero is described as having a particularly new ennui of over intelligence. She despairs of it--as we do today. The love story is interesting in contrast to English novels in that it is in fact consummated (discretely), lips meet, passions so long denied could no longer be ignored, yada, yada, next sentence is the next day, while Dickens had real trouble with actual sex. If two people were known to have had sex it would always be revealed that they had been secretly married. However our hero and heroine still die, because it is not possible that they should sin so and live--they can't have a happy life. Our fallen woman who bore a child (but is not the heroine) is allowed a sad spinsterhood.
The most frustrating thing about this novel has nothing to do with the novel. It was a library book and 8 pages at the very climax about two-thirds of the way through) were blank!!!! Suddenly there were two blank pages in the middle of a sentence, then two pages, then two more blank pages. I've looked for another edition in both library systems (no luck, hardly surprising). Project Gutenberg only has a French edition. So if anyone ever finds a copy, let me know.

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