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Women called George

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Title:
Women called George
Creator:
Emmert, Christine
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
ix, 69 leaves : ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Humanities)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Humanities and Social Sciences Program, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Humanities
Committee Chair:
Allen, Frederick
Committee Members:
Magidson, David
Casper, Kent

Subjects

Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 64-69).
Thesis:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Humanities, Humanities Program.
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Christine Emmert.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
23525047 ( OCLC )
ocm23525047
Classification:
LD1190.L58 1990m .E45 ( lcc )

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Full Text
WOMEN CALLED GEORGE
by
Christine Emmert
B.A., University of Colorado, 1976
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
Master of Humanities
Humanities Program
1990


This thesis for the Master of Humanities
degree by
Christine Emmert
has been approved for the
Humanities Program
by
Frederick Allen


Emmert, Christine (M.H., Humanities)
Women Called George
Thesis directed by Professor Frederick Allen
The Female Writer in the nineteenth century, a simulacrumcan be
observed as an entity through the lives of women who wrote at that time.
George Eliot and George Sand define two aspects of this model for women
who wrote. These two embraced separate traditions English and
French v/herein they penned their work, building on pasts that were
different. The combination of both traditions completes the image of the
Female Writer who needed a masculine component to refine her. George
Sand was a celebrity, while George Eliot was not. Their mutual admiration
as well as their attempts to use the written word to take women further
was fated for public success and some deeply private failure. One looks at
the austerity Eliot imposed upon herself, against the extravagant passions
Sand experienced. Their need to call themselves "George*1 let women heed
that a masculine presence still controlled the world of publishing. George
Eliot grew up in a dysfunctional family in Warwickshire, while Sand
enjoyed the privileges of the aristocracy in France. Yet both, because of the
circumstances in their lives, needed to turn to publishing for their
livelihoods. Their books reflected their concerns. They died acknowledged
writers.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its
publication.
Signed
Dr. Frederick Allen
iii


CONTENTS
Some Personal Thoughts as Preface......................v
Introduction........................................viii
CHAPTER
1. THE FEMALE WRITER TWO TRADITIONS.......................1
2. GEORGE SAND (neeAURORE DUPIN, 1804-1876):
THE ROMANTIC REBEL........................................6
3. GEORGE ELIOT {nee MARY ANN EVANS, 1819-1880):
THE RELUCTANT REBEL......................................16
4. A SUMMING UP............................................23
GEORGE AND GEORGE...........................................26
Why "George and George"...............................27
GEORGE AND GEORGE, a dramatization....................29
EPILOGUE....................................................62
APPENDIX
A. ENDNOTES................................................63
BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................64


SOME PERSONAL THOUGHTS AS PREFACE
To be bom a woman has been to be bom,
within an allotted and confined space,
into the keeping of men. The social
presence of women has developed as a
result of their ingenuity in living under
such tutelage within such limited space.
But this has been at the cost of a
womans self-beingsplit in two...
John Berger
Wavs of Seeing
As a young girlalas, many years ago! I looked to female writers as
a source of definition, believing they might provide more insight into my "state"
than male authors. I am sorry to say at that time I overlooked George Eliot. We
were made to read Silas Mamer in high school,a singularly unpleasant
experience conducted by a dried-up English teacher who scorned sensuality
and extolled puritanism. I did, however, turn to George Sand.
George Sand! What a role model for a young girl. She was rebellious,
romantic, always an iconoclast, The visions of her carried through a very bad
movie in which Merle Oberon played George Sand to Cornel Wilde*s Chopin.
Who could be more exotic than Merle Oberon? The sight of her in velvet suits
designed for ment elegantly puffing on cigars, proved more durable than Sand's
writing (about which I remembered very little except that it was highly
emotional).


George Eliot was reintroduced to me by my sister, who thrust
Middlemarch into my hands one summer while we were sharing a house with
our three children at the New Jersey shore, I was ready for a more measured
look at life, having grown from the fantasy of womanhood into the day-to-day
realities of wife and mother. I then proceeded to read Eliot's other work. She
wrote just eight novels. I was still thirsty for her insights, I turned to her life.
Her mild photograph spoke to me with more eloquence than George Sand*s
theatrical postures.
Both women were in no clinical sense schizophrenic, yet this double role
of George and feminine self reminds me of Virginia Woolfs fascinating
hero/heroine, Orlando, who changed sex in the course of his/her story by the
feat of kissing his/her elbow.1 Both Sand and Eliot bestowed the spiritual kiss
many a time in their careers. For Sand this change-about included the wearing
of men's clothes and taking an often masculine pronoun, while Eliot did not
consider her use of the "George11 role as a breeches part.
Today women writers are allowed their own gender. It is not yet a
comfortable allowance. Lillian Heilman, who has acted as role model for many
women, said:
Its hard for women, hard to get alongto support themselves, to
live with some self-respect. And, in fairness* women have made
it hard for other women.2
To make a logical extension of Heilman's statement, we might still say women
who "make it11 are the exceptions* not the rule. While we have given up
becoming George, it is still the masculine gender against which we measure
vi


ourselves. The seeds of feminism sown in the French Revolution were not
uprooted, but rather left untended,
Maiy Wollstonecraft, who gave political tracts to the womens issue, at
least asked, irWhy not females?," as opposed to the century-old question of
men, ,TWhy females?11 The change in the tone of the question helped celebrate
in some small way the female voice. We had our women writing under male
names* but exploring concerns applicable to both sexes. The public was not
misled* either, by the ruse. Both Sand and Eliot were accepted in their dual
form.
I realise, along with many other women who have tried to combine
career and family life, that I have elements of both authoresses in myself.
Finally, in my middle ageI can find niches for both Georges, With this sense
of acknowledgement I proceed to give both due attention. As Aurore and
Maryann, they stand beside me. As George and George they go into the literary
annals. All women who strive are women who are divided by far more than a
choosing of names.
vii


INTRODUCTION
Much Madness is divinest Sense -
To a discerning Eye -
Much Sense the starkest Madness -
Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail-
Assent and you are sane -
Demur and youVe straightaway dangerous -
And handled with a Chain -
Emily Dickinson
The 19th century prompted revolutions on many fronts industrial,
agricultural, social, political.A quieter, but no less important, turnover
occurred in literature with the rise and legitimacy of the middle-class female
writer. Previously, back across the ages, women had been expressing their
ideas in isolated pockets at isolated moments. Those fortunate enough to
read and write put these ideas down, often in papers lost to time. The
preserved voices, pure and focused, registered as echoes against the din of a
male-dominated society. Ideas were not the province of those whose hands
should be rocking cradles and darning socks. Early along in Western history
Seneca warned that when a woman thinks, she is evil.
Something the Something being the dynamic of Europe itself
changed between the 1780s and the 1840s. Taking advantage of this shift in
the wind, women took up their pens and wrote as an exercise beyond mere


diversion. Writing became an occupation by which they earned their
livelihood, ir not their equality, A literate public stood in wait, anxious for
completed manuscripts.
Two such women, one English and one French, became professional
authors. They were not the only examples of the female writer. Their lives
and temperaments were distinct opposites of each other. The commonality
they shared was the effect they had upon the particular era in which they
wrote, as well as the curious fact that they both chose to identify themselves
publically as George."
George Sand and George Eliot were two females finding a foothold in
their work. Both formed phrases in the definition of Female Writer. This
definition was made incomplete at a time when She penned under many
guises to a changing, but receptive, public,
ix


CHAPTER 1
THE FEMALE WRITERTWO TRADITIONS
Women writers have become used to the term "woman11
being meant as secondary, or as semi-abusive, and so they
don't like being called *rwomen writers11 by other women or feminists.
But I think that it is quite important to reclaim tliat description as a
positive and polemical thing, in order to indicate that there are
differences in the way men and women see their status as writers,
and in the way they choose and write about their subject matter. I
have no problems at all with identifying myself as a woman writer
(although there are some situations in which the priority is to identify
myself as a professional writer) because Tm always so keen to
provoke people to think about the relationship between gender and
writing
Michelene Wandor
Interviews with ContemDorarv Women Playwrights
Both Georges did not emerge full-blown on the morning their first
works appeared. They came out of separate traditions of women voicing
their feelings about the universe in which they lived. In both cases there
were several models of the Female Writer before the mid-nineteenth century
gave her full recognition. It is no coincidence that this emergence coincides
with the emergence of a desire for reading material to please a literate
middle'dass public,
France had her oavh brand of female heroines. We trace her origins
back to Marie de France of the 12th century, through Christine de Pisan of
the 15th century, to the salons that preceded the French Revolution -- and
to the women of style and wit who sponsored them. Voltaire's most famous


mistress, Madame de Chatelet, challenged the celebrated writer both in the
bedroom and through the force of her pen. George Sand was bom into a
world where feminist ideas had been spawned as part of the general
revolution for more than economic equality.
In England* Elizabeth I gave her name to an era in which the arts
flourished. The Queen encouraged a celebration of language. The dramas of
Aphra Behn during tiie Restoration continued this celebratory use of the
written word. Although Behn provided the scandal of a woman who
publically acknowledged she wrote, her plays were performed and preserved.
Until the Industrial Revolution when education, except on a minimal level,
became desirable for both sexes women wrote tentatively. Their work was
received with the same spirit. Jane Austen was said to have stashed her
day's writing under her needlework. Mary Wollstonecraft was branded na
hyena in petticoats" by the learned Horace Walpole. Mary Shelley's book
Frankenstein was such an unthinkable undertaking for a girl of nineteen
that rumor gave credit of authorship to her husband rather than herself.
Women were not considered serious contenders on the literary scene
until the mid-19th century, when their need to speak coincided with ears
that cared to listen. Novels became popular by virtue of the fact that there
was leisure to write them and leisure to read them. TTie use of mesculine
names by women who wrote showed a striving to compete with men on their
own turf. Women did not want to be diminished by that most diminishing
term "woman writer." made their claim on behalf of all those genteel
2


occupations women filled that required education, but denied the brain
behind the education. It is not coincidental that several writers were (or had
thought to become) governesses, that educated woman who worked as a
servant to educate the children in households of her lfbetters.M
The Industrial Revolution pushed lower-class women out of their
cottages into the factories- It also locked middle-class women up more
securely in the homes th^ came to as wives. Both the Georges took to
writing as economic necessity. Their stories were often far removed from
their real circumstances. They used fiction as escape. George Eliot, a
woman of average countenance, made her heroines beautiful. George Sand,
often confined to her chateau in Berry, took her characters on adventures
bothgeographicalanderotic.
Both women proved expressions of the Female Writer come of age. It
took a turn in economic conditions to bring their voices to the forefront.
Dissent was as likely as assent in response to new facilitators of the written
word. Women today bear their own anger writing in a world that does not
grant them true equality* but we can thank those many pioneers who called
themselves George or Currier or Daniel in spite of their petticoats and
anatomy. We are still scribbling. We are still being rewarded, however
grudgingly, for those scribbles-
At the time both Georges entered the publishing world, the
"educated" woman was being used in the capacity of translators and
journalists behind the men who acted as editors and publishers, taking
3


credit from what tJiey picked from women's brains. Fiction was still the last
frontier. With the increase in literacy to fill out the requirements of a new
scientific age where knowledge must be shared and built upon, leisure time
was likewise filled for the literate with words, words, words employing their
imaginations toward adventures and loves they would never have.
The increased isolation of the middle-class woman made her
fantasies soar only with the aid of the printed page. Mothers were expected
to have some degree of education in order to better bring up their sons. The
instructor of children became herself a pupil of the fictional writer. She
learned through him (or her, disguised) about what lay beyond the confines
of her doorway. Those singular women like our two Georges who proved
unhappy in the models set forth for women started in publishing as
supporters rather than true interpreters of this new dichotomy. They
worked for small wages at first. In Eliofs case it was not until she branched
out from translations and reviews into the wide-flung world of fiction that
she gained her own recognition. In Sand's case, she had been forced to hide
behind Jules Sandeau as her first few attempts were published.
Nowadays the publishing industry is notoriously underpaid. That
much has not changed. Young, bright college girls are encouraged to accept
lower-level jobs in publishing houses, where they work for "status** rather
than a fair wage. Increasingly, however* women are filtering into
management-level jobs. Nevertheless, statistically, the publishing world
counts more female among the lower level than it counts men.
4


One is still damned if one has written a "women's novel." Writers of
youthful fiction are cautioned that to make the protagonist a female will
lower field of interest when the book is published. We still find females
writing for a market which is tilted toward the male sensibilities.
There is the genre of the Romantic Novel. This type is the book that
holds the Gothic Novel as its most powerful ancestor. Although Eliot made
fun of such writing, and Austen penned a wicked parody of the same, the
fascination has prevailed for helpless virgins pursued by terrors and saved
by dauntless heroes.
As a woman who writes, I often find myself looking at life from the
male point of view, else my novels would remain unpublished and my
stories directed to that small area of writing entitled "Women's Markets."
That Sand and Eliot used both male and female voices depending on the
stoiy they wished to tell alerts me to the fact that I have those voices equally
within me. Virginia Woolf astutely shaped Orlando as a duet of both voices,
pointing the way to the future.


CHAPTER 2
GEORGE SANDt nee AURORE DUPIN (1804-1876):
THE ROMANTIC REBEL
Our heaped-up wisdom is not a permanent dwelling-place in
which we may safely go to sleep. It is a temporary abode in which it
behooves us to keep awake, for every day that passes sees at least
one stone fall away from the walls we have builded, and at the
slightest wind the entire edifice may crumble to the ground.
We do not know what awaits us. Let us learn, then, to
dominate the present, or we shall not be able to endure what the
future may bring.
George Sand
Doctor Piffoel (1836)
Bom in 1804 during the excitement of Napoleons rise to power,
George Sand came into the world as Aurore Dupin. Her parents had
hurriedly (and prudently) married just a month before her birth. On her
father's side, Aurore claimed aristocratic blood, while her mother was tiie
product of a birdseller and a woman of adventure. Throughout her life
Aurore tried to reconcile her sympathies for all classes Avitli her own elegant
tastes.
Maurice* the father, was attentive to his daughter when he was home,
which was not often. He was gone more than not in the service of General
Murat, expending the glory of the recent Revolution throughout central
Europe. When Aurore was five, Maurice took his eternal leave by breaking


his neck when his horse threw him. AuroreTs mother, unaccepted by and
unacceptable to the Dupin family, received a pension from Marle-Aurore de
Saxe, mother of the unfortunate Mauricet for surrendering the daughter to
the old ladys care.
The attention provided by the grandmother allowed Aurore a good
education combined with social standing. The Dupins were possessed of a
comfortable income and a comfortable chateau, Nohant, located in the Berry
region, Tlie child was reminded time and again to follow in the "correct
footsteps of her grandmother* thus rejecting the example of a promiscuous
mother.
During the impressionable years of adolescence Aurore was sent to a
convent in Paris run by English nuns, the Couvent des Anglaises. It was
hoped any temptation to follow her mother into a life of error would be
stilled under the calm hand of tlie Sisters. The grandmother might as well
have been trying to shelter Aurore from a wildness closer at hand than
Sophie. Maurice, prior to his marriage and fatherhood of Aurore had
presented his family with an illegitimate son, Hippolyte.
Aurore, like so many young girls before and since who fall under the
care of mii^wished to take up the veil. Her grandmothers death when
Aurore was seventeen altered this course of her desire to cloister herself.
She was the sole heir to her grandmothers estate, save a small trust for
Hippolyte and a modest pension for the disavowed daughter-in-law and
motherSophie.
7


In attempting a reconciliation Aurore moved to Paris with her mother,
sharing a small apartment In a less-than-fashionable neighborhood. It was
in Paris at the budding age of eighteen that Aurore met Casimlr Dudevant,
just out of the army and only a few years older than she. Casimir was the
illegitimate son of Baron Dudevant, a retired Colonel of the Empire. In
keeping with a woman's expected destiny (ort perhaps, expected duty) the
couple agreed to the felicity of marriage. On September 10,1822, they wed
and moved to Nohant,
The countryside around Nohant was both familiar and gentle. The
groom loved to hunt; the bride was absorbed in her reading. It took less
than three years for the domestic scene to unravel. During that time
Casimir tried his masculine prowess with several other females (some
servants in the household) while squandering both Aurore's income and his
own. There was at least one episode of public physical abuse. Aurore heeded
Byrons words on love, expressing the schism in thinking between men and
women of that time:
Man*s love is of man's life a
thing apart,
Tis womans whole
existence.3
Finding the underpinnings of her existence so threatened, Aurore
took action by falling Min love11 with Aurelian de Seze, whom she met while
on a journey to the Pyrenees for reasons of ill health. Although their love
was never physically consummated, her soul had already taken the plunge
into the wild seas of infidelity. ^
8


Following Aurelian there was an interlude of seeming reconciliation
between husband and wife. It was during this time Aurore*s writing took a
serious turn. Her first literary attempt, Voyage en Auvergne, attempted to
put on paper the random thoughts that were racing in her head.
Eighteen-thirty proved a pivotal year for Aurore. Casimir had
provokingly left an envelope in his drawer addressed to her with
instructions that it not be opened until his death. Human curiosity being
what it was, Aurore did not wait until her husband had drawn his last
breath. The contents of the envelope were an invective against hert boldly
declaring Casimirs distaste for every aspect of his wife. It is in this
atmosphere of husbandly rebuke that her first important literaiy piece
Indiana, was composed- Not coincidentally, the novel tells the story of a
marriage out of joint and the long-suffering wife damned by her own
wedding vows.
Not wishing to follow the martyred path of her heroine in Indiana,
Aurore linked her literary and amorous fortunes with another writer's, Jules
Sandeau. Their collaboration (which extended far beyond the written page)
was crowned by the publiction of Rose et Blanche under the united name
of "Jules Sand/r Aurore had followed her lover to Paris where she took on
the other side of her personality, wearing trousers and evolving her name
Into the one by which the publishing world would acknowledge her: George
Sand.
9


Her affair with Sandeau proved unsatisfactory. What seemed
appealing in the Berry atmosphere of rustic charm was eclipsed by the
many young intellectuals of Parts. In 1833 George Sand met Alfred de
Musset, who was to provide her with a short period of real love and an
aftermath of fictional material based on their celebrated affair.
A word such as "happy,r cannot be applied to two writers used to
creating conflicts in person when inspiration was lacking to put them down
on the printed page- Within the brackets of this relationship Sand composed
Leila, a novel that identified her forever as the Byronie heroine. In Leila
Sand bifurcates herself into two women: the frigid, unhappy Leila and her
hedonistic sister, Pulcheria. The male counterpart is bifurcated as well into
the unhappy, jaded lover of Leila and the all-knowing soulmate of Leila. The
novel does not make easy reading. It didnt when first published. There the
complaint was Sand's belief in the legitimacy of free love. Now it seems to
shriek of exaggerated passions in a world where we value moderation. It also
spoke of SantTs fear -- prompted by Casimirs letter -- that she was unable
to give or truly receive love* perhaps too personal a fear for such public
revelation.
Musset was used to a Dionysian mode of living. He was riddled with
opium and sated himself with the services of prostitutes. Sand* although
seemingly a sophisticated woman, had spent much of her adult life locked
away in a countryside chateau. In Venice Musset fell ill, reproaching the
woman who stayed with him and nursed him, with accusations of frigidity,
10


She wrote despairingly (with an eye to future publication of her journal) that
"'you have broken a womans pride. You have thrown her at your feet. Does
this mean nothing to you? Does it mean nothing to know she is djing?
...but he does not know."4
Their love affair lasted just two years. During that period, especially
during their Venetian stay in 1834, Sand composed Andre. Mattea, Jacques.
Leone Leoni. and a series of love letters designed for both de Mussets eyes
and future publication. It might be said the heat they generated was better
expressed in fiction than in actuality. De Musset's illness (along with his
opinion that Sand was frigid) prompted her affair with the attending
physician. The Italian doctor followed her back to France* but
Mediterranean ardor quickly cooled in the breeze of the French countryside.
Breaking off with her lovers did not send her back to Casimir a
repentant wife. It was there fiction and life did not combine. Casimir was
not a man to verbalize his dissatisfactions. Instead he turned a gun on his
wife one guest-filled evening at the chateau. She countered AVith a suit for
legal separation. Divorce had gone out of the law books when Napoleon
ruled.
In 1836 the Courts of France were presented with more than ample
evidence that the Dudevant marriage was aver in all but name. While suits
continued, the couple determined payments and conditions, Casimir was
xioiv the dependent one, George was a best-selling writer. She held the
pursestrings. He had no choice but to take the money and run-
11


The same year provided a new lover for George Sand that gave her an
episode as intriguing as any she wrote of in her stylized novels. George
Sand* the woman who dressed as a man and demanded the same rights,
met Frederick Chopin, the consumptive, delicate hero. By 1838 the two were
lovers. George had two children which Chopin took to his heart while Sand
shared his bed. Their strange coupling lasted until 1847, when Chopin's
siding with Sand's daughter, Solange, during a family quarrel ended the
relationship.
During her years with Chopin, George Sand composed her most
successful Romantic novel, Consuelo, the sensation of the French reading
public in 1842, The story is believed to be based on Sand's friend Marie
Dorval. It recounts the tale of a plain opera singer who, through her talent
and virtue, rises to the top of her profession. The tale of the ugly-duckling-
tumed-swan is not unlike the biography of Sand herself.
Sand^s popularity was felt in England. Debates raged as to her
immorality or openness to feelings the English wished to stifle. Elizabeth
Barrett Browning (who sought Sand out) paid her tribute in two sonnets
which sung of her as man/woman. The public George had overtaken the
Aurora of private inclinations.
At this pinnacle of Romantic success, Sand felt she had gone as far
as she might with her one, florid style and abruptly changed her style of
writing. Her next literary period was to include two types of work: the
socialist novel (expressing her Republican sentiments) and the pastoral
12


novel- The Country Waif gave life to the plight of women married to abusive
husbands who find love in ways unacceptable to their own society. In the
case of the heroine, she marries the child she raised as her own son after
her husband's death-
Sand's work habits were diligent. Every night she wrote throu^i the
hours when others in the chateau slept. In this manner, and with this
dedication, she was able to turn out two novels a year. It was not
inspiration alone that drove her to such prolific outpourings, but also the
constant debts incurred by herself, her lovers* her children, and her
wayward husband.
As her life changed, as she herself matured, her writing style changed
with her. In 1847 her mind had been stirred by political events. Always a
proponent for a Republican France^ she rushed to Paris to join the push for
a Second Republic. Although many budding feminists hoped Sand's zeal
would extend to an additional call for women's rights, she staunchly
maintained women had no place in politics. So saying, she proceeded to
publish her own very political newspaper, La Cause du Peuple, while signing
on as a pamphleteer for the new government.
Her Utopian vision began to dim quickly in light of political realities,
She was later to write that
.the error of socialism, thus understood, is that it overlooks
the importance of the individual. It hopes to impose the happiness of
all on each. It is true that justice and liberty will make room for more
individual satisfactions, but we cannot hand out happiness to others.
The individual must win his own. Violence destroys happiness,
13


whereas time and education will develop men and women until they
find their own happiness in harmony with social well-being.5
Sadness at political failure was mirrored for her in the death of
Solange's first child. Sand returned to pastoral novels that eased the stress
of her life as authoress, celebrity t and woman. In 1851,with the fall of the
imperfect Second Republic, Sand was forced into the political arena once
again to use what influence she might with Prince President Louis Napoleon
on behalf of her friends who had fallen into disfavor. In spite of her intense
dislike of Napoleon, she proved her deep loyalty to those friends by enduring
the lengthy bargaining time it took to win favors for them.
Increasingly Sand became interested in writing for the theatre. Her
small stage, which was kept at Nohant* provided a living workshop for
perfecting her craft as a dramatist. She was fortunate enough to pen works
for both Sarah Bernhardt (then a rising star) and Rachel (a star in the
ascendancy). She delighted as well in personal moments with her son,
Maurice* and his bride Caroline Calamatta.
George had not resigned herself to old age. Alexandre Damien
Manceau, a bohemian some thirteen years younger, met George Sand in
1849 and became her lover the following year. It was a close, solicitous
relationship. George no longer reached for excesses of passion and pain. He
was her companion until his death in 1857. During that time she shared a
deep, but platonic, friendship with Gustave Flaubert.
14


Sand prided herself on her stamina. She outlived many of her
contemporaries, leading a productive literary life until the last. Her stomach
had long been a source of discomfort to her. By the time the doctors realized
how far the cancer had spread, it was too late. She died in 1876 at her
beloved Nohant after many days of Illness. Of her own longevity she wrote:
It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward
dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older one climbs with
surprising strides. Mental activity increases with age, as physical
activity develops in a child. Meanwhile, and nevertheless, one
approaches the journey's end. But the end is a goal, not a
catastrophe.6
George Sand (Aurore Dupin) lived a life of more than financial
extravagance. One might say she spent her spirit lavishly. Her books today
are somewhat unreadable in their excessive descriptions of the soaring
spirit. She risked the climb many times to go beyond where women were
told they might venture. Her writing risked the same. Often condemned,
often praised, she still continued to change her ideas and style with what
visions she saw from the top of the hill.
15


CHAPTER 3
GEORGE ELIOT, nee MARY ANN EVANS (1819-1880):
THE RELUCTANT REBEL PROVED REALIST
0 it is difficult life is very difficult! It seems right to me
sometimes that we should follow our strongest feeling; but then,
such feelings continually come across the ties that all our former life
has made for us the ties have made others dependent on us and
would cut them in two. If life were quite easy and simple, as it
might have been in Paradise, and we could see that one being
towards whomI meanif life did not make duties for us, before love
comes, love would be a sign that two people ought to belong to each
other. But I see I feel it is not so now: there are things we must
renounce in life; some of us must resign love. Many tilings are
difficult and dark to me; but I see one thing quite clearly that I
must not, cannot, seek my own happiness by sacrificing others. Love
is natural; but surely pity and faiifiilness and memory are natural
too. And they would live in me still* and punish me if I did not oDey
them. I should be haunted by the suffering I had caused
George Eliot
Mill On the Floss (chapter 11)
Mary Ann Evans was bom in Warwickshire, England in 1819. Her
alter ego, George Eliot, came to life at a later date. The childhood Mary Ann
played out amidst the gentle countryside was later described with great
affection in Eliot's writings. We know of this youth mostly through these
fictional portraits, although a few friends and some surviving documents
give witness to her early life.


Biographers tend to identify Mary Ann's girlhood with that of her
heroine, Maggie Tulliver^ of The Mill on the Floss, Maggies temperament
was volatile, ill-befitting a girl of that time. Mrs, Tulliver laments over her
daughter's rebellious hair (which refuses to stay curled and pinned) that
mimics a rebellious spirit. My own delightful remembrance of Maggie is her
flight to join a gypsy band* certainly an exotic experience for any sheltered
child. We can see the same march to a different drummer in Mary Ann, who
at one point informed her father she would no longer accompany him to
church and then kept her word on that subject. However, as we know
from the grown-up heroines of Eliotts prose, her penned women represented
qualities of the creator, not the whole self.
Mary Annlike Maggie Tulliver, had a problematic relatioi^hip with
her brother Isaac. In the conclusion of The MiU and the Floss, brother and
sister drown, clasped in an eternal embrace of forgiveness. This last*
complete reconciliation was not duplicated in Eliots life. Isaac, who was
angry with his sister for her refusal to lay down the mantle of spinsterhood
as well as her adulterous (albeit monogamous and affectionate) cohabitation
with George Henry Lewes, hardened his heart against her.
Maiy Ann's mother is a dim figure, described as pleasant, but
without real outline. A second wife to Robert Evans, Mrs* Evans suffered
from some vague Illness, requiring both Isaac and Mary Arm to be sent away
for their education. Friends of the family affirm that Isaac was his mother^
favorite^ while Mary Ann was first in her father's eyes. When Maiy Ann was
17


sixteen, her mother died. It was then she became surrogate
wife/housekeeper/companion to her father, a condition that was to endure
for the next ten years.
While father and brother expected that Mary Ann would marry, she
had quite another occupation in mind. The loss of her faith in churchgoing
opened up a new search for a religi011s framework she might believe- She
was drawn to Strauss* human portrait of Jesus which stressed his
humanity over divinity, Das Leben Jesus< In 1846 her English translation
was published, giving birth to the writer. During the period she had been
laboring over this translation^ she nursed her ailing parent. The death of her
father three years later finally freed her from her life as Mary Ann Evans,
dutiful daughter, of Warwickshire.
It was that year of her fathers death,1849, that she went to
Germany with friends as an excursion and, in a real sense, never returned
to her former existence* John Chapman came into Mary Ann's life at this
time. He published a journal with radical leanings, The Westminster
Review.8 What Chapman awakened in Mary Ann were stirrings of
intellectual aspirations as well as a love which was kept grudgingly (at least
on Mary Ann's part) platonic. She moved into the home of Chapman, which
he already shared with a wife and mistress. Her duties at The Westminster
Review were those of an assistant editor. Reality of life in the Chapman
household gave Maiy Ann a more realistic appraisal of her hero.
18


By 1853 her romantic affections shifted from John Chapman to
George Henry Lewes, a man of some repute in the literary world for his
adept criticism. Her coupling Avith Lewes proved a felicitous one, both for
her personal life and for her literary self. It was Lewes who encouraged her
to try her hand at fiction. From him she took her new identity as MGeorge.r,
Their relationship was tethered to Lewes* maxriage. The world at large
looked askance. In a Victorian world, when both husband and wife strayed
by mutual agreement* there could be no forroal final separation. The now-
George Eliot disregarded the world, was kindly attentive to Lewes* children,
and often referred to herself as **Mrs. Lewes,"
The next twenty-three years are the lifetime of the figure publicly
known as "George Eliot11 through a succession of essays, novels, short
stories and poetry. Her public persona under this nom de plume masked the
very private nature of her personality. George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans
stopped writing with the death of her companion* George Henry Lewes, in
1878. Her pen would forthwith be silent except for casual notes and private
correspondence,
John Cross had long been a friend of the Lewes household and an
admirer of George Eliot, writer. After Lewes' death he began to woo her with
an eye to a "merger1* that would be termed a marriage by the world at large.
It was, in truth, more the joining legally of biographer with subject- Their
marriage in 1880 lasted just over seven months. Since Lewes' death Mary
19


Ann had been in poor health. Knowing Victorian sentiment as we do, we
cannot discount the image of a broken heart.
Her death in 1880 brought an alienated brother to the graveside. This
gesture of forgiveness by Isaac would have been viewed by his sister as
ironic, living as she did according to her own sense of loyalty and morality.
In her mind there would be no need for forgiveness since she had enacted
no transgression. With further irony, Isaac embraced Cross warmly since it
was he. Cross, who had a legal tie to his wayward sister.
We wonder how much of George Eliots work stems from her private
self. Bernard Paris talks of her underlying belief in Comtes "Religion of
Humanity.119 This concern with a belief that mankind, not divine law,
supports the community as a whole with an agreed-on standard of living
runs as a thread through her entire body of work. In this scheme there is an
intrinsic moral order of society that sets in motion the empathy of person
for person* Her depiction of Silas Mamer illustrates such a condition. Silas
casts off the moorings of organized religion a religion that judged him
harshly and wrongly while at the same time drawing in the unwanted
child from the storm toward the comfort of his heart with its unasking love.
Hope for salvation lies not in the church, but rather in acting correctly
within the community of man*
Eliot, as Paris suggests, looks to the individual quest of the spirit to
validate goodness rather than dependency on worship from afar of a
Supreme Being, She differs from the Romantic writers in that Self is not the
20


goal, but the vehicle for understanding. Her characters do suffer, yes, in
order to become finer people. New knowledge of self is returned to the
community through service. We can examine the case of Dinah Washington
in Adam Bede, who lives an ascetic existence in order to share with the
townsfolk of Stoniton who struggle through a multitude of hardships. By the
same token, Romola. by shedding her denial of her husband's nature and
witnessing the martyrdom of Savonarola, her mentor, comes to aid not only
a town through catastrophe, but personally saves and shelters her
husbands mistress and illegitimate children.
Calling herself a "meliorist in a political sense, she is a "meliorist" in
a social sense as well always acknowledging that it is those who question in
going beyond what is given that lead society to a higher place. She was
alive at the time of Darwin's Origin of the Species (1859) in a public, literary
self. Her writings make evolution a social reality* based on those few unique
individuals that use suffering as a tool for learning new strategies.
When George Eliots body of work is summed up {she wrote only eight
novels!) it can be said that the Realist in her was alive and well* dealing with
such issues as poverty, the backwardness of the lower classes, the plight of
women who fell from grace^ and the individual attempt to define the
universe. She could take a character like Hetty Sorrel, the child murderer,
exposlngtheirflawswhilecreatingasympathetlcportrait.
Her voice* emanating from a plain woman of modest means, proved a
voice others could believe. She did not write from a chateau. Although her
21


writing income kept her comfortable, she would never overextend it into
debt the way the other George did. She was a reluctant rebel, going against
society in the matter of love only after she was thirty because a man was
free in all but name to become her consort. Her unpretentious lifestyle
stands at odds with that of George Sand, yet it was Sand she admired when
she first embarked on her literary journey. Thomas Pinney defines this
authoress best when he writes:
The image George Eliot used most often to express the idea of
continuity in growth is the metaphor of tiie plant. The human
personality is like a tree whose sustaining root is early experience,
but the root can function through a network of veins which is
memoiy, carrying nourishment to the remotest branches of the tree.10
In such a sense it is the deep-rootedness of her past, the countryside
of Warwickshire, that kept her in touch with the simple, unspectacular roll
of low hills and diligent people who provide basics without spectacle. They
are the undying meter of the poemf not the imagery of the poem itself.
22


CHAPTER 4
A SUMMING UP
The paths of the two Georges never crossed, despite some degree of
admiration on both sides. It would be tempting to fantasize such a meeting
of two such different women, who managed to scandalize and fascinate the
societies within which they lived and wrote. In spite of their opposite
natures, the women would have much to discuss. They both lived in
relationships unacceptable by standards of their day, Th were both
women who grew up without the nurturing of a mother. They both took on
the name of ,rGeorgeM to be acknowledged as equals of the males who also
wrote. They attempted to prove, as Madame de Stad once proclaimed, "that
Genius has no Sex.M And, of course, there was the very fact of their
womanhood- It is the doorway opening up into a hundred rooms where
doubt and confidence mingle. Womanhood, as fits the domestic impulse of
that time, proved a dwelling that sheltered and structured the lives of those
who reside within its confines. Only as ,fGeorger, could they venture outside
and walk in other spaces usually prohibited.
The two Georges meet here in this paper, a poor substitute for
historical meeting. Comparisons are invited. Who was the better writer?


Heniy James, in his discussion of Daniel Deronda, left the question in the
air:
Constantius: The story of Derondas lifehis mothers story
Mirahs story, are quite the sort of thing one finds in George
Sand. But they are really not so good as they would be in
George Sand, Sand would have carried it off with a lighter
hand,
Theodora; Oht Constantius, how can you compare George
Eliofs novels to that woman's? It is sunshine and moonshine.
Pulcheria: I really think the two writers are very much alike.
They are both very voluble, both addicted to moralizing and
philosophizing a tout bout de c/iar^p* both inartistic!
Constantius: ,but George Eliot is solid and George Sand is
liquid. When occasionally George Eliot liquefies, as in the
history of Deronda's birth and in that of Mirah, it is not with
the crystalline clearness as Hie author of Consuelo and Andre.
Take Mirah's long narrative of her adventures, when she
unfolds them to Mrs. MeyrickIt is arrangedit is artificial,
old-fashioned, quite in the Sand manner. But George Sand
would have done it better. The false tone would have remained,
but it would have been more persuasive. It would have been a
fibt but the fib would have been neater,
Theodora: I dont see what is to be gained by such
comparisons. George Eliot is pure and George Sand is impure;
how can you compare them?11
How indeed! To compare, we would need all situations equal. Equal
birth, money, opportunity, health, good and bad fortune. George Sand was
compelled to write herself and her loved ones out of debt over and over
again. George Eliot did not have the same financial gadfly. George Sand
lived through a series of men, rather than being sustained by the steady
influence of one man as Eliot did.
24


If Sand, as elder, inspired Eliot* we must acknowledge that without
the one there could not be two. Without birth in that special time when
literacy was on the rise and women could claim writing as a respectable
occupation* neither would come down to us for judgment. If they are
separate images they can be overlaid to form the face of the 19th Century
Female Writer,
25


GEORGE AND GEORGE
a dramatization
by
Christine Emmert


WHY "GEORGE AND GEORGE'
The historical figure in drama has always presented problems for
both playwright and audience. To take fact with the intent to shape it into a
small slice of time and space (and even characters) makes the experience
unsatisfying for purists, and something either more or less than history to
dramatist and spectator. These constraints that distort whatever reality
survives of the historical figure and their moment are acknowledged here.
My mind will, however, not allow George Sand and George Eliot to
rest there on the page of historical report, I need to feel their touch, hear
their voices, and understand the flesh behind the spirit. This fictional
meeting, arranged by me, is a device to look at the two women in a different
way. It goes beyond where life leaves off for them and finishes the arc that
their hands began to trace.
I found in writing this little dramatic piece that I learned how they
complemented each other as expressions of the female writer, TTieir use of
"George" displayed a very public self* while privately they struggled in their
feminine form with husbands, lovers, children, step-children, fathers,
brothers, and the public, which inclined to the masculine voice.


It is the opposition of attitude that makes the coupling of these two
women interesting to me. Tlieir successes took different shape and meaning
for them, I have always been more interested in the similarities undertying
difference than surface harmony. The dramatic tension of such extreme
poles of womanhood as they represented and paradoxically, did not are
the meat in this dish I serve up.
28


GEORGE AND GEORGE
fScene; a small sitting-room in an elegant home in France during the early
1860s. A lady sitst dressed in a mart's black formal suit, Ughling a cigar. She
is in oduanced iddte agebut she mafces/eu) concessions to her years.
Once she might haue been beaut(/iit nom she is prouocaue. He name is
George Sand (Aurore Dupinj a/etu contented on her c^farshe
moves to the window. There is the sound of a carriage stopping. George
abruptly puts out he dgar. Some commotfon in the haHuxiy. A moment- A
lady qppears the dooru^aydressed /or iraueL She is somea?/ictt younger
them SancL Ta/ring q/jf her gtoues and bonnet,e neu; lady approaches Sand
with outstretched hand. She is George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)).
SAND: My dear Miss Eliot!
ELIOT: My dear Mile. Sand!
SAND: Miss Evans!
ELIOT: Mile. Dupin!
SAND: Mrs. Lewes!
ELIOT: Baroness de Dudevant!
SAND: Mary Ann!
ELIOT: Aurore!
SAND: George!
ELIOT: George!
(they embrace)
ELIOT: (pulling bac/cj What a lot of names we have between us.
SAND: I made a list in order that I would not forget. My memory of late is
failing me.
ELIOT; I am flattered. How charming of you to meet with me at all. One
knows how busy you are.
SAND: I am between
ELIOT: Between?


SAND: Excuse me. My English has failed along Avith my memory.
ELIOT: Do you, by chance, speak German?
SAND: Alas, no,
ELIOT: Then we shall have to muddle through in English. Unless you can
indulge my pitiful French.
SAND; We can compromise...
ELIOT: That is your Republican self speaking. How shall we compromise?
SAND: I will speak in French. You will hear in English.
ELIOT: Let me guess! I will speak in English. You will hear in French.
SAND: In this way, my dear, we are both at ease.
ELIOT: Yes, how cleverl
fthey sit side by side on a small sq/*cl There is a tong pause Each u^aits/or
the other to begin. Finally Sand takes out another cigar)
SAND: Smoke?
ELIOT: I dontfSand is about to put the cigar au?ayj Women dont
usuallyI know you do. Ive seen drawings. J dont.
SAND: Mr. Lewes would not approve?
ELIOT: He never is so definite as to approve or disapprove, (thinks) I don't
imagine he would mind.
SAND: You think It is incorrect for women to smoKe?
ELIOT: No. After all, we are here because we do many things other women
wouldn't do... fshe hesitates) Yes, I think I will smoke. Just this once.
SAND: The cigar was a gift from Flaubert.
ELIOT: Flaubert. I have not yet had the honour...
SAND: Pm not sure it is such an honour, but he knows a good cigar.
ELIOT: You will have to instruct me.
30


SAND; Very simple. First you must hold it thus, (demonstrates how to hold)
After which you must light it. (hands the cigar to Eliot, who imitates SancVs
method of holding. Sand lights cigar)
ELIOT: Now?
SAND: Inhale, (Eliot does so. A moment) Exhale.
ELIOT: (coughing) I expect it is an acquired taste.
SAND: (laughs and pats her heartily on the back) Like so many masculine
habits.
ELIOT: (another puff) Not half bad, I can see why men reserve this habit for
themselves alone.
SAND: Mrs. Barrett did not like smoking at all.I congratulate you on your
open-mindedness.
EUOT: (handing the cigar JbocW Mrs. Barrett?You mean, of course, Mrs.
Robert Browning.
SAND: a shrugj We carry around so many names. We famous women.
ELIOT: Mrs. Browning". Miss Barrett." whatever", she seems to be less (is
cautious with her words) flamboyant than you are.
SAND: God and the angels are less flamboyant than L (she smites at EUotj
But I see what you mean. I somehow expected you to be more flamboyant.
ELIOT: I? I am just a mouse of a woman hiding behind my many characters.
SAND: rm not sure yet you are really a mouse. I might describe Mrs.
Browning that way, had she created such large characters to hide behind.
She, however, writes those little needlepoints of words. Her husband, on the
other hand
ELIOT: He is wonderful, isn't he? With his characters.
SAND: (puj/irig on the cigar) He is wonderful to her.
ELIOT: I know you found her dull, but may 1 defend her by telling you their
marrying was a great scandal in England?
SAND: You English have such boring scandals. Great scandals in France
are not created by marriages, but by their absence.
31


ELIOT: We canft be all that staid. Look how the English admire your writing.
Mrs. Browning wrote very poetically of her meeting with you_
SAND: People admire lives they are afraid to lead. Why else would Leila be
such a success with you English?
ELIOT; It is true. Your Leila shocked. I would never be a Leila- And you?
SAND: If you won't be my heroine. Miss Mouse, would you be any of your
own? Or are they only safe to admire there on the printed page?
ELIOT: They are much better persons than I.
SAND; You are too modest.
ELIOT: Unlike yourself. Mile. Sandt I never found any reason to be
otherwise than modest. No man ever wishes to paint my portrait. No poets
attempted to rhyme me into passion,
SAND: There is Mr. Lewes*
ELIOT: An exceptional man by many estimates, but", have you seen Mr.
Lewes?
SAND: I have read him. (glancing out the He is the gentleman
waiting by the carriage?
ELIOT; Yes, He thought we should have this time alone.
SAND: I am not offended. To answer your question, now I have seen Mr<
Lewes.
ELIOT: He is not handsome either. I don^ make this observation with any
judgment implied* I heard you were once a great beauty.
SAND: Once?
ELIOT: You are still a formidable figure.
SAND: (cifter a moment, with a laugh) Bravo! You don't lie. I am not used to
people who teU the truth.
ELIOT: I am sorry.
32


SAND: Don't be sorry. Although the truth is often less interesting than the
lie. I lived in a world of Romantics. What is true to our hearts is l^uth,
nothing else. To maintain such truth one must lie often and hard.
ELIT:ThatwouldnotbeacceptableinEnglishsociety.
SAND: Are you such a truthful nation?
ELIOT: We are human. Imperfect creatures. To make the full circle round
your question about my identity within those of my charactersI put forth
the notion that in creating fictional personalities we are most apt to expose
our own. There are critics who say lilaggie Tulliver is myself.
SAND: I have not read your novels. Honesty for honesty. TTiis moment
seems the proper time to confess.
ELIOT: Then why did you consent to meet with me?
SAND: I receive this letter... (she takes it from her pocket]
ELIOT: (taking a letter from her pocket) I received a letter...
SAND: Asking...
ELIOT: Demanding...
SAND: This meeting
ELIOT: In hopes oi" a collaboration...
SAND: Between the two of us. {they exchange letters)
ELIOT: Amazing. You did not write this letter?
SAND: If I never read your work, why would I wish to collaborate?
ELIOT: I never wrote to you. Except to accept.
SAND: And I the same.
ELIOT: So we are both of us here at someone else's whim?
SAND: Strange, is it not? And yet I am glad to meet another woman called
George. There are not many of us.
ELIOT (Imighing) Not many of us.
33


SAND: And yet it is necessary to be George if one wishes to be taken
seriously in a world of men,
ELIOT: Someone is not taking us seriously* (waves the letters) Someone is
laughing,
SAND: Well,I am not often taken seriously. Women take me much less
seriously than men.
ELIOT: Do you suspect a woman in this ruse?
SAND: I expect anyone and anything. I expect the earth to split down the
centre and swallow us both. I expect the sun to come into this room and
dance. Meanwhile, until such expectations* all I expect is some amusement.
(a long pause) So, who is Maggie TuIIiver?
ELIOT: Maggie is the heroine of one of my books. She is a heroine unlike
your Leila, who lives by her own rules, who counts herself a society of one.
Maggie livre poised between what her heart demands and what her
community expects.
SAND: She does not soar?
ELIOT: It is a brief flight through the clouds. She misses the solidness of
earth beneath her. She firet falls in love, and then she falls.
SAND: So do they all. All our heroines. If they could avoid love, how safe
they might be. And how dull*
ELIOT: Do you find me dull?
SAND: But you have not avoided love. Mr. Lewes
ELIOT: I have not avoided love, but I have avoided passion. That is where
Maggie and myself differ. You, Mile, Sand, ran to passion.
SAND: True. It is the fabric on which I stitch my work. It is my life. Still
(Eliot looks at her in surprise) You are shocked. You think of me as an old
lady. Old men have their lusts. I have always laid claim to my masculine
half.
ELIOT: You take the name of George seriously,
SAND: George and Aurore. I have loved as both man and woman. Am I
shocking you?
34


ELIOT: You would not consider this meeting a success if I departed
unshocked.
SAND:Yes, and perhaps this small confessional will help the Catholic
residue still clinging to my soul. What have you heard of me?
ELIOT: I know you are a great writer".
SAND: and a great scandal?
ELIOT: That too,
SAND: Did you know, in my adolescent years, I wished to be a nun?
ELIOT: The greatest sinner from the most unlikely saint.
SAND: I blame you English. I was sent to a school in Paris run by English
nuns in order that I might not become a replica of ray mother. My mother
Sophie. A woman with ample heart to love, and ample bosom to accept what
such love could afford her.
(as Sand tcdks, the walls of the room fall away. The room itself dissolves into
an open space with sparse Jumitxtre remaining. The sound of a young girls
voice singing a simple song rises in the background as the light shifts to
evening)
SAND: Aht George! How we look back so indulgently on our own memories
working across the stage of our fiction. WeVe performed the play. We know
the lines, we know the outcome. Yet we must run the scenes once again. A
captive audience.
(a young actress comes out, stands in her nightdress. This image is George
Sartdr many years ago, when she was Aurore}
ELIOT: (to Sand) You were lovely-
SAND: And pious in my fashion, fshe cirdes the young Sand curiousiyj Have
you said your prayers, my child?
YOUNG SAND: (she moves as a ghost, never looking directly into the eyes of
the other characters) Yes, Ma Mere.
SAND: And for what did you pray?
35


YOUNG SAND: I prayed the priest would finish his Mass quickly- Or lose his
voice. Before the sermon. How can I believe a priest with wine on his breath
and its echo in his farts?
SAND: (to Father Humbert. He gave the longest sermonsto the
smallest purpose. Mostly about how Jesus changed water into wine.
YOUNG SAND: I fell asleep. He did not hear my snores. The Holy Spirit
closed His ears. Do you tliink God means to bore us with such a man?
SAND; He means to test us. Our ability to find His voice through the
whirlwind and the flood.
YOUNG SAND; And other distractions? Through belches? And sighs? I
prefer He tested the priest by taking away his voice and his wine.
SAND: Do you lack faith, my child?
YOUNG SAND: My lack of faith came later, much later. I held onto God even
with such a shal^ hand. I held on through my convent years. It was in
marriage that I ceased to believe. Through Casimir. Casimir de Dudevant.
My husband. Bound to me through the enlightened laws of France, until
death parts us. Or one of us kills the other. Either solution is possible.
(throws shawl about her shoulders) Grandmother, I wish to marry.
SAND; (To Eliot) Accept this small playacting... [taking the role presented)
Oh, Aurore, this declaration is the first Fve heard of it. Who is the lucky
gentleman? He is, I trust, a gentleman?
YOUNG SAND; Oh, Grandmother, he rides on the wind. His thighs -
SAND: I leave his thighs to you. Tell me his prospects.
YOUNG SAND: He is a Baron.
SAND; That does not necessarily qualify him as a gentleman. But it
portends good news. You are descended from good blood.
YOUNGSAND:AndnotsogoocLYousaidmymotherwasa--
SAND: Your mother is of no consequence. Your father married her.
Belatedly, to be sure- But still a marriage* You are your father's daughter.
Descended from Kings. And my grand-daughter*
YOUNG SAND: He is Hippolyte's friend.
36


SAND: Friends of your half-brother are not necessarily preferred,
YOUNG SAND: He has claim to some property and income. He loves me.
SAND: The worst reason I know to marry,
YOUNG SAND: fthroujing her arms about Sand) Grandmother
SAND: fpushing her Q/fqfifectionately) The worst reason I know to marry.
You will have your way. If we can bed you after we wed you it will atone for
your rash parents. Their dalliance was a disgrace to the family.
YOUNG SAND; But, grandmother...
SAND; Yes?
YOUNG SAND; (sweetly) How could my birth be the result of a disgrace?
SAND: You are far too literal. Mademoiselle. Have it your own way: marry
the blackguard!
(the young Sand gives Sand an aQectioncde kiss and runs o[p
ELIOT: And so your grandmother let you wed?
SAND: At this pointt I think Casimir must tell his part of the story.
(Casimir, a bullish gentleman of thirty or so, enters and sits down beside
Eliot)
CASIMIR: I was listening from the antechamber.
SAND: You thought you would be summoned?
CASIMIR: I am always on your mind. Hate is far more consuming, my pet,
than love.
SAND: Speak your piece and leave, Casimir!
CASIMIR: As usual, you are distorting the past. Your bitch of a ^andmother
was dead long before we were betrothed. Before we met.
SAND: She wouldn't have liked you. What do you mean, contradicting my
memories,., you have no sense of manners, Casimir-
37


CAS1MIR: nor morate either, to hear the tales youve told the judge during
our case for separation,
SAND: I dont remember you as being complimentary about y morals,
CASIMIR- My darling Aurore, all Frsince knows about your morals, (nudges
Eliot) And England too, eh? In translation, of course. You put them down in
every piece of trash you write. The morals of a whore without a heart. A cold
plate on a chilly evening. A man needs to go elsewhere for wanning when
the fire has been left as ashes,
SAND: You might have strayed a bit further than our chambermaids in your
quest for central heating. It made coining around comers in the upstairs
hallway somewhat awkward, (to Eliot) I summoned him to tell his side In the
interests of fair play. You see how he abuses me?
CASIMIR: The chambermaids, my dearest darling, were only changing the
linens on the beds you occupied with your lovers. That damned Chopin,
with his fastidious need for clean sheets.
SAND: Frederick had breeding and sensitivity.
CASIMIR: He also had consumption. Little circles of blood on everything he
used. I tell you. Mademoiselle, it was disgusting. The man could not even
suppress a cough as long as it took him to perform the Minute Waltz. Every
year he came from Paris to visit. Stayed. Played on more far more than
the piano. Went away. Finally. The man did not do manly things. He did not
hunt. He drank sparingly, with polite little sips. When walks were taken, he
rode behind on a little pony.
SAND: Now whose memories are twisted? You were never residing at Nohant
when Frederick was there.
CASIMIR: Your half-brother Hippolyte was there. He told me everything.
SAND: Hippolyte was too drunk for such finely drawn details.
CASIMIR: Solange, our own daughter
SAND: ,was too jealous.
ELIOT; Your daughter was jealous?
SAND: She was at that impressionable age. Frederick was so kind to her.
She started with a small crush that mushroomed over time.
38


CASIMIR: Chopin was not the only lover to be housed at Nohant. There was
a rather long guest list before he arrived. He was just the most messy,
SAND: You never objected. Not then.
CASIMIR; At first, she swore to me they were all platonic. Brothers of her
spirit, I would come into a room to find her clasped in a pair of strong arms.
She would swear innocence. Their spirits, she would say, were coupbng. Not
their bodies. The fervent embrace of such spirits left bruises all over her,
SAND: You had no spirit to couple. What do you know about the joining of
souls?
CASIMIR: The sheets were soiled the next day.
SAND; (to Eliot) You see his testimony? You see how he robbed me of my
faith? (to Casimir} The reason I slipped from spirit to flesh was your doing, I
would have been content to spend my life contemplating love from the
clouds. You showed me there was no need to remain so lofty. While I was
abstaining, you laughed at my efforts to keep my chastity. That letter
CASIMIR: that letter. My darling wife, it was your own morbid penchant
to intrude on the thoughts of others that made you open that letter,
SAND; It was addressed to me. In your hand.
CASIMIR* With instructions to be opened after my death.
SAND: I waited. You would not oblige me- Finally I opened the letter.
(she moves away from him. A Chopin Etude begins to play sojlly)
CASIMIR: If you want to leam the Truth, you must spare the messenger
who brings it to you.
SAND: I did spare you, Casimir, But I could not forget what I read,
CASIMIR: You read how I hated you* despised you. Lost you before I found
you in that landscape of winter you created within you.
(the Young Sand eaters, letter in hand. She reads, wiping tears from her
cheeks)
SAND: You see her, Casimir? You see that chOd you destroyed so completely
So purposefully?
39


CASIMIR: I wrote only what was true for me. I wrote that I had come to
loathe you,
YOUNG SAND: (suddenly turning on him) And yet every night in bed there
were the gropings, the whisperings*,. Aurore, my little wife, I cannot live
without you... come and warm me
CASIMIR: (to the Young Sond) And did you warm me? Ever?
YOUNG SAND: Did you ever stop to think I might need wanning as well? (he
makes no reply) I tried, Casimir, We women are taught nothing of lovet and
everything of worship. We worship gods. Men in the sky* Man in our home.
We are not warned these same divinities we kneel to will tear us open on
our wedding nights, gutting us as cooks cut birds before the eating. The
feast is yours. The fast is mine, I should have written you such a letter!
CASIMIFt You did, more or less, every night.
YOUNG SAND; It was cowardly of you. But then your only real bravery was
to strike me in public.
C^IMIR: You did not suffer long. Jules Sandeau whisked you away from
my awful clutches
YOUNGSANDThatwasafterIstaIledwriting__
SAND: / started writing!
YOUNG SAND: (to her) No! The beginning was mine you can claim the
ending.
SAND; But I remember so vividly the need to escape into other romances,..
YOUNG SAND: Other lives. To flee where Casimir had no legs to pursue me.
SAND: Yes. It was after I started writing that Jules Sandeau took me to
Paris and changed my life through words, and more.
YOUNG SAND: I wrote to confirm my existence. To myself-1 had no love to
validate my existence. No God. God was male, I became my own God.
SAND: I became George.
YOUNG SAND: You take over the story from here,
(she leaves. Sand turns to Eliot)
40


SAND: Yes, I became my own God.
ELIOT: You became your own Goddess.
SAND: God or Goddess. Genius has no sex. Madame de Stael is correct. In
our books, yours and mine, we are both the heroes and the heroines. Jules
Sandeau believed in my writing. That meant he believed in me,
CASIMIR: And so Imore or less, lost you to a dictionary?
SAND: (wamingly) Casimlr! (she stops and laughs) I summoned you. I can
dismiss you. (he stands with folded arms) But wait! I have an idea, (from her
pocket she takes a small bell and rings it A chambermaid enters. Casirnir at
once eyes the chambermaidi following her oJJ} There, he*s served his
purpose. Proved my point about him. It never fails to rid me of him- I could
always get my privacy back by hiring a pretty face,
ELIOT: You say you wrote to confirm yourself? Did not your children
confirm you?
SAND: Are you a mother?
ELIOT: No.
SAND: Children belong only half to the mother, I could see with delight
myself in the faces of my son and daughter. I could also see with despair
Casimir staring back at me through their eyes. Negation. They were his
rejection as much as my acceptance, (she sits down beside Eliot) Listen,
George. I could be complete if I were a true hermaphrodite, providing seed,
egg, wombs, name, and all for my children. Until then...
ELIOT: (shocked) I heard you loved your children.
SAND: I did love them< I just did not believe in them. I did not believe in
them for me. I went to Paris with Jules, Casimir did not care. He realized for
him chambermaids functioned more efficiently in all capacities. Paris was
waiting for me. 31 Rue de Seine. Ten days carriage ride away from Casimir.
It was distance enough. Once in Paris* like you, I joined the staff of a
journalI embraced JulesI could write." I could live
ELIOT: And did you, as It embrace write, and live?
SAND: For a time. Jules proved a disappointment. He was more bourgeois
in other rooms than in the bedroom-
41


fa danded young mon^ Alfred de Musset, enters UJitli the Ybung Sand on
his arrrL He is laughing)
DE MUSSET: (to Sand) George, Georgel How you abuse us, once you use us!
ELIOT: Is this Sandeau?
SAND: This is Alfred. Next to Casimlr, he is always there, eating up my
heart with his sharp little teeth.
DE MUSSET: (toking ElioVs hand and waltzing her slowly to ChopirCs music)
I am Alfred de Musset, I come later on in this epic* We have to do some
skipping and jumping through this ponderous work, or you will never get to
me. I am important. The most important, (with a glance to Sand) And my
teeth are quite regular, thank you<
SAND: You flatter yourself, Alfred, (the waltz ends. De Musset returns Eliot
to the sofa with a bow)
DE MUSSET: It*s quite true I am important- You have recycled our love
affair through dozens of novels.
SAND: And you did not do the same in your writing?
DE MUSSET: I have more talent for disguise.
YOUNG SAND: fcuxusingiy to cie Musset/ You told everyone in Paris the
details of our little romance, including other mistresses,
DE MUSSETT: Only after you had written it up in your books.
ELIOT: fto Sand) Are there any of your old lovers with whom you are on good
terms?
SAND: Alfred and I got along fine. Especially after he died. This argument is
professional, not personal. He is angry because I can squeeze so much more
fiction out of fact than he can. Probably because I write more.
DE MUSSET: There it is. You write more. My dear George^ you were far and
away more mature than I
YOUNG SAND: I am six years older, Alfred- Six innocent years. I had not the
advantage of your education with boulevard women.
DE MUSSET: We met in Paris. We fell in love. We agreed on flight. To
Venice. It was most romantic.
42


YOUNG SAND: It was damp. You were ill there.
DE MUSSET: So you ran off with my doctor! I assure you (to Eliot) she did.
He took my pulse with one hand while holding her breast with the other. A
boulevard girl would have been more discreet.
YOUNG SAND: A boulevard girl would have been paid to be discreet.
SAND: Remember, Alfred, who was taking care of your bills?
DE MUSSET: a shrugj You were too generous. I am dead now. Sue my
estate,
SAND: I will soon die myself. History will make fun of us both. Love is
wonderful, but it reads like those dreadful novels women hide under their
pillows for lonely afternoons."
DE MUSSET: Some of your books, no doubt.
YOUNG SAND; Cheap passion is easy to turn out. In life as well.
DE MUSSET: (to the Young Sand) Marie said you never really stopped loving
me.
YOUNG SAND: Marie told me the same about you.
ELIOT: Who*s Marie?
SAND: Marie Dorval* the singer. I loved her.
DE MUSSET: I loved her.
YOUNG SAND: More than your opium? I gave Marie clarity.
DE MUSSET: (to Young Sand) She provided you with a plot for a novel.
SAND; Consuelo was fiction!
DE MUSSET: Based on the story of a plain singer who miraculously
transforms herself into a woman who is beautiful, virtuous, famous.
YOUNG SAND: The virtuous parL is the fiction.
ELIOT: And Consuelo is Marie?
43


SAND; As much as you are Maggie. As much as I am Leila. I loved her. I
gave her the gift of becoming the eternal heroine,
DE MUSSET: (to Eliot) You see. Mademoiselle, she and Marie...
ELIOT: You and Marie?
YOUNG SAND: I never denied the masculine curled to suckle within this
womanly bosom.
ELIOT; No wonder you find our English scandals so dull,
DE MUSSET: (to the Young Sand) A question I could never get Marie to
answer: is it better to make love as a woman or a man?
YOUNG SAND: fpatKrzg his cheeW You always ask the wrong questions.
DE MUSSET: Wrong questions or right questions. Women still never answer
me,
SAND: Mile. Eliot can provide the answer to the right question, Alfred. Is it
better, fellow George, to have love made to you as a woman or a man?
ELIOT; I know nothing about making love to women.
SAND: But you know your Greeks.
YOUNG SAND: Alfred, it seems, does not.
DE MUSSET: Greeks? Were there some Greeks involved?
ELIOT: Tieresias, Tieresias was half-man and half-woman.
DE MUSSET: A Tieresias? Not a George?
ELIOT: We can't all be called George. It would be too confusing- You'd have
to number us.
DE MUSSET: (looking at the three manifestations of George before him) I see
your point,
ELIOT; Tieresias was asked whether it was better to have love made to
him/her as a woman or as a man. He was so questioned by the gods, who
did not have such answers. Tieresias found it more satisfying to be made
love to and consequently, to love as a woman.
YOUNG SAND: Tieresias knows different men than I do.
44


DE MUSSET: Tier^ias does not answer my questlon,
SAND: Go away* Alfred. To heaven or hell. We are not here to discuss your
sex life.
DE MUSSET: Isn*t Miss Eliot tired of yours yet?
ELIOT: I am never tired of new information.
SAND: Marie Dorval was lover, friend, sister, daughter to me.
YOUNG SAND: And finally our rival.
DE MUSSET: Marie shared us,
YOUNG SAND: We shared her*
DE MUSSET: She shared you with me. I still could hold you in my arms
through her. And thus, extend our metaphor...
YOUNG SAND: ftoith a iaugh) What nonsense, Alfred. To think you are
considered one of Frances greatest poets.
DE MUSSET: With Marie I wrote the ending to our story. You refused to
come up with an ending over the years... just more chapters...
SAND: I saw no end to our story. There was a time when I thought I would
love you forever.
DE MUSSET: What time was that?
YOUNG SAND: Between May and August, the first year we were together.
DE MUSSET: Eternity compressed*
SAND: And Marie
(a Jlourish of trumpets. Marie Dorval appears, magnificently dressed for the
theatre)
MARIE: What eternity? You both proved less than eternal. You were not
even consistent. ftaJces fiiiot's hand) I am Marie Dorval, the woman they are
maligning to suit their own ends. Please forgive my attire, I am just about to
sing.
45


SAND, YOUNG SAND, & DE MUSSET: (together, holding out their arms)
Marie!
MARIE: This is a test. You seef whichever arms I run to, the others will
think the less of me, I prefer to stay here with you. Mademoiselle,,, ah...
SAND: Her name is George.
MARIE: (dryly) How original.
ELIOT: I am Mary Ann Evans to my friends. Sometimes Mrs. Lewes- Only on
the printed page am I George.
MARIE: Good advice for other writers I know, Alas, Mile, Sand will be
excessive.
SAND: You call yourself simplistic, Marie, wearing that costume?
YOUNG SAND: And you always complain about my wearing men's suits!
DE MUSSET: (putting out his arms again, insistently) Mariel
MARIE: fioofcingom Sand to Ybunger Sand to de Musset, q/iter a erit
turns to I choose your arms, fshe embraces EKotj There now.
Introductions aside, why did you call me here?
DE MUSSET: I did not call you here. I find the presence of such potent
women disruptive.
SAND & YOUNG SAND: I called you.
ELIOT: It is time* Madame Dorval, to state your own case.
MARIE; I make no case. Is this a courtroom or a sitting-room? If I loved
them... if they loved me, and if we used each other to further our art,.,
well, one must look after ones self in this world.
ELIOT: Not very kind to your amours, Mme. Dorval.
MARIE: You are George? George Eliot? Now that I think of it, I have read
one or two of your novels- Your people are far too good for me. Especially
Dinah Morris in Adam Bede,
ELIOT: I tiy to put the halves back together. In the same novel I also have
Hetty Sorrel. Hetty gives in to temptations Dinah would never contemplate.
46


MARIE; And murders her own child- I assure you, bad as I am bad as all
George Sands creations are __ we do not murder our children.
DE MUSSET; You desert them for current love affairs.
MARIE: Be careful, Alfred, when you start speaking of motherhood.
YOUNG SAND: I did not desert them. I left them briefly. I was trying,,, (to
Eliot) how did you phrase it,,, to put the halves back together?
ELIOT: But my Hetty did not have your choices. She had no servants to
watch over her children. She was little more than a servant herself. It is
easy to make choices when there are some given to you,
MARIE: I see Dinah Morris speaks through you. One can condemn the way
of life while refusing to cast stones at the sinner,
ELIOT: Dinah does not speak for me. She was a minister. I myself refused to
go to church since my early teenage years. My father thought it a most
rebellious act, (to the Young Sand) While you were singing in the cloister
halls* I was discarding my hymnbook.
DE MUSSET: I see this plain English sparrow has the soul of a peacock.
SAND: Take care, Alfred. Her lover is waiting for her by the carriage, and
you are already deceased
DE MUSSET: It's always something.
MARIE: This young woman is an English writer of some repute!
DE MUSSETT: A Avriter! I met enough of female writers while alive.
MARIE; Why are you here. Mademoiselle?1 am curious.
SAND: It is most curious. We both received letters.
ELIOT: We thought from the other.
SAND: About work on a collaboration.
ELIOT: Letters neither of us sent.
SAND: And so we meet.
ELIOT: And do not solve the mystery.
47


MARIE: And the collaboration?
SAND: At the moment we are collaborating on the afternoon. The mystery
remains.
(Cosimir re-enters, adjusting his vest)
SAND: So soon, Casimir?
YOUNG SAND: You remember Alfred.
CASIMIR: I can*t remember all of them* (grudgingly) I do remember Alfred.
He took you off to Italy,
SAND: He wasn't as domestic as Frederick Chopin, I could scarcely have
kept him amused in that dreary chateau in Berry-
CASIMIR: I don^ see what was dreary about Nohanl. Good hunting in the
area. Ripe, plump women. Not given to fat, you understand, like Aurore as
she grew older, (to Sand) I quite missed it when you pushed me out. I did
enjoy our theatrical evenings. Pretense was always better in Nohant.
YOUNG SAND: (to Eliot) When talk failed, we had a small stage, some
costumes, and a dozen fantasies to perform. Casimir was good for character
roles.
SAND: Later, when I took to writing plays professionally, our stage became
our world in which to refine the lines later heard in Paris.
MARIE: My singing was the only worthwhile singing.
SAND: And Liszt came, too- He played the piano with such melancholy.
Chopin was jealous.
CASIMIR: I always wondered why it was you never gave Liszt a tumble.
YOUNG SAND: Franz Liszt was my friend.
MARIE: Not to mention the fact that he had eyes for no one but the
fascinating Marie d'Argioult.
YOUNG SAND: That stupid woman. She ended up writing under the name
of Daniel Stem when Liszt left her, A Daniel who prophesies, not a George
who lives!
SAND: (softly) Bravo.
48


CASIMIR: (raising his wineglass) To France.
YOUNG SAND: Casimir^s favorite toast. He has a limited imagination.
SAND: No, Casimir, we will not join you in such a toast. Not when the
Republic is but a past dream.
DE MUSSET: (to Eliot) George gave up hoping for her Socialist Utopia with
the corruption of the Second Republic, I ask you, what would such a self-
centred woman such as Mile. Sand have done in a socialist world? When
she went Into a decline over politics* we called it her Pastoral Period She
wrote foolish novels about love among the sheep, (raises his wineglass) To
love!
ELIOT: Love does happen among the sheep, Monsieur. Among the sheep, in
the factories, in the shadow of the city.
CASIMIR: If we're here to discuss ideas I just won't drink at all. Or 111 drink
too much.
MARIE: I only came here to clear my name, which was being bandied about
like some shared whore. I don't want to discuss ideas. I was on my way to
an aria.
DE MUSSET; I was on my way to the salon of Hell, where talk is endless.
Where desire can rise wiUi no fullillment possible.
CASIMIR: Hell, indeed! I want to go hunting. The mists have cleared over
the fields. The deer move quickly among the trees.
SA1VD: Then goodbye, all. (they vanisK except for Sand. Eliot and the Young
Sand)
SAND: (to Young Sand) Not you?
YOUNG SAND: (sittingon sq/'o/I have the right to remain.
SAND: Then be quiet and learn. Those others are a fine lot, I suppose you
think I am surrounded by idiots?
ELIOT: I enjoyed them.
SAND: And now its your turn.
ELIOT: My *tum*? I had not expected we were taking turns, I hoped from
your friends and lovers to discover the reason for your genius.
49


SAND: Madame de Stael might add Genius has no taste as well as no sex.
EUOT: One should not step too near the icon. Myopia is helpful. Too near
one sees the cracked paint, the small fissures.
YOUNG SAND: And, perhaps, the past?
SAND: You will produce no such icons for me?
ELIOT: Not one", exceptI wonder if he would come. If he would come as
willingly as yours.
SAND: Mr. Lewes?
ELIOT: Not Mr. Lewes. Mr. Lewes is flesh and blood.
YOUNG SAND: Mr, Lewes is getting bored waiting at the carriage.
ELIOT: Fll return to him soon enough.
SAND: Is this icon your lover?
ELIOT: lioith a ioughj Not a lover*
SAND: Who, then?
ELIOT: Hes dead_ Not like Alfred. He was dead before I lived. Once he was
alive. He lives within me still. He is part of my loss of faith. Its finest
emblem. That is what we are sharing today? Notes aside? I never met him
but I wrote of him. You must know of him, having been to Italy,
SAND: A Pope?
YOUNG SAND: A clown?
ELIOT: He could have been Pope. He died a clown. Savonorola. I wrote him
into my book Romola. I always had the uneasy feeling he would not like
being part of such a frivolity as a fiction.
(the sound of a womarCs voice singing a Gluck aria in the distance)
YOUNG SAND: fastens a moment Marie
SAND: Consuelo
ELIOT: He will not approve.
50


SAND: Of that? He, a man of God, doesn't enjoy the voice of an angel?
ELIOT: For Savonorola the angels do not sing* They are conspicuous by the
silence of their worship.
(Marie's voice dies away as the figure of a 15th century monk appears)
SAND: I gave you entertainment,
ELIOT: That was your life. Mine is austerity. It is necessary. You asked me
for icons. This monk is my icon.
YOUNG SAND: You lost faith!
SAND: You said so!
ELIOT: This holy brother recanted. He died a heretic.
SAVONOROLA: Under torture I recanted. I lost my believers.
ELIOT: You burned away too much of them. The flame was slinging.
SAVONOROLA: You needn't tell me about the flame. I burned them down to
their spirit. Tliose fine charred bits that took the flame were unimportant.
SAND: I do not understand. In Italy I did not experience trials. I experienced
love.
YOUNG SAND: And, perhaps, a slight touch of dysentery. My memories tend
to the prosaic.
ELIOT: It is precisely the prosaic of which Savonorola speaks. For him the
works of Botticelli were prosaic. The spirit of Botticelli was not,
SAVONOROLA: He offered me his painting on a bonfire set to burn away the
trivialities of men,
SAND: Not all his paintings. He was smart enough to show gesture only.
YOUNG SAND: And is God not trivial? Does God not exist in the small
moments as well as the great ones?
SAVONOROLA: God expects Man to fail Him. Since Eden.
SAND: (to Eliot) This is your icon? A shrivelled monk with no joy in his heart
for the springtime stroke of the artist?
51


SAVONOROLA: I ask no one to do more than I have done myself in the way
of denial. The world is cruel.
SAND: Your icons are not lovable.
ELIOT: In my book Romola did not love him. She accepted his asceticism
because it was an extension of her own. (corrects herself) An extension of my
own. My house Avith an ill mother who sent me away. My brother who never
forgave me for falling in love with a married man. My faUier who died
without thanking me for watching over him. They all took it for granted I
would I could ~ accept the role Fate laid out for me. A faded carpet. Like
Romola, I ran away from this threadbare fate. I did not encounter a
Savonorola as she did to return me to my duty. And so I ran. Into
happiness, as it turned out. I ran into Mr. Lewesftoofcs at the tiuo Sands)
George Lewes. I ran into my career. I ran into my time here with you.
(a young Eliot comes out Her hair is unbound, wild about her shoulders)
YOUNG ELIOT: (in a whisper) When I wrote of Savonorola my
Savonorola I was putting down on paper that scene with my father the
day 1 refused to attend Church with him. That deep slice of conscience that
opened into a valley, never to be breached.
ELIOT: (to Sctvonorola} Now, father.
SAVONOROLA: (to the young Eliot) Child, it is time to go to Church.
YOUNG ELIOT: Father, I am not going to Church with you this morning.
SAVONOROLA: You are unwell?
YOUNG ELIOT: I am quite well, father, I am hoping to enjoy a long walk in
order to see the Sunday that happens while we have all been shut away
with choirs and sermons.
SAVONOROLA: (suddenly turning into a more dramatic figure) I have
command from God to stop you. You are not permitted to flee.
YOUNG ELIOT: (ongrity) What right have you to speak to me or hinder me?
SAND: (to Eliot) Is this playacting?
ELIOT: It is the sham that makes the honesty of the scene. Both scenes.
Mine with my father. Romola's with Savonorola when she sought to flee
Florence. To flee her unhappy life there.
52


SAVONOROLA: (to the young Eliot) You were not suffered to pass me without
being discerned. It was declared to me who you were: it was declared to me
that you are seeking to escape the lot God has laid upon you.13
YOUNG ELIOT: Heal thyselfi You recanted. Under such a simple persuasion
as torture.
SAVONOROLA: My body was a weak vessel. They whipped me. I did not
break. They cracked all my bones before I granted them those words of
surrender.
YOUNG ELIOT: You broke in a few days under less pain than most endure
over a lifetime.
SAND: I don*t understand. Who is speaking now?
YOUNG SAND: Is it you with your father? Is it Romola with Savonorola?
ELIOT: In the mind of the author...
YOUNG ELIOT: In my mind...
THE TWO ELIOTS: The voices join together, (they 10ok at each other in
surprise)
ELIOT: I can't remember whose argument it is. Savonorola did recant under
the hands of torturers. He and two of his followers were hung in the town
square. Then, to further reassure artists of their springtime strokes, the
bodies were burned as well.
YOUNG ELIOT: He stood for something that could not be taken back with
mere words. The aCfirmation hovered there after his pitiful cries of
weakness.
ELIOT: Whose cries?
YOUNG ELIOT: Yours, mine, his. Everyone recants in something in this life.
The ideal is to recant beautifully, publicly, so that what you deny stands
there after you have walked away from it.
SAVONOROLA: Words are something we say. As dogs bark. As doves coo.
They are natural sounds. Words have no connection with the heart.
YOUNG ELIOT; I wrote you down, (to Sand and Young Sand) I captured him
for the world. I tried to paint him with the strokes of winter. You need not
bless mef but you must not curse me.
53


ELIOT: (flinging her aside violently) I wrote him down. You were too young to
know what you were enacting-
YOUNG ELIOT: (flings Eliot away in return, just as violently)1 never set foot
in my father's church again,
SAND: (rising and grasping the Ybung to ccrim her) As for me, I
sometimes go to Church. ItTs comforting. The morality of the priests never
changes* They always condemn me. I find such consistency cheering.
YOUNG SAND: (touching Eliots arm) One knows so much later on. One only
learns it through us. No one is bom old,
ELIOT: Everyone's family and friends end up somewhere in the words we
select for posterity. I tried to write my mother over and over again. I never
got her right* Many people thought Adam Bede was a study of my father:
the simple, faithful artisan.
YOUNG ELIOT: Perhaps that is how the community saw my father, I saw
him in this priest.
SAVONOROLA: I have caused you pain.
ELIOT: And pleasure.
YOUNG ELIOT: You caused me to understand.
SAND: No other icons* George? I am growing bored with this priest. Piety is
monotonous.
ELIOT; There is one more icon I should like this good priest to greet before
he leaves us.
SAVONOROLA: You cannot detain me.
YOUNG ELIOT; I would not detain you. Save to ask you this favor,
SAVONOROLA: You ask a favor! You both (points to the two Eliots) maligned
me. You caused me to recant again on the pages of your book -- again and
again every time someone reads the cursed novel.
ELIOT: Again and again,
YOUNG ELIOT: Burned. Hanged.
SAVONOROLA: (a cry from his soul) Damned,
54


SAND: Get on with your icons!
ELIOT: There is a man called Charles Darwin.
YOUNG SAND: Darwin?
YOUNG ELIOT: Darwin?
SAND: That man!
ELIOT: You disapprove of him?
SAND: I fear him. His ideas change the cosmology of my world.
SAVONOROLA: I will not stay to meet him*
ELIOT: It would be a loss, I would like to see the heretic of the old age and
the heretic of the new age together just once.
SAND: Isn't that what this afternoon has been?
SAVONOROLA: Then let the heavens collide. Let time elap its two hands
together. Resounding. Bring on the other heretic.
(loud fanfore. Darwin enters, very British and correct)
SAND: First a priest, and now a pompous ass!
YOUNG SAND: His face is kind.
ELIOT: (greeting) Mr. Darwin, I have not yet had the honor. Many of my
friends speak highly of you. Mr, Spencer in particular*
DARWIN: Miss Eliot, I am honored, floofcs around) I do not recognize your
other guests* Is this a costume party? I was unaware-
SAVONOROLA: Mr. Darwin* even where I reside, your name sounds its pale
echot still a disturbing noise,
SAND: (coming Jorword) I am George Sand.
YOUNG SAND: And I as well.
DARWIN: feometohof cori/lisect one to the other) My wife has
read your books..- (to the young Sand) and yours.
55


BOTH SANDS: Really?
ELIOT: This priest is Savonorola.
SAVONOROLA: Fra Giralmo, to use a simpler form, (the two shake hands) I
was just on my way to the door.
YOUNG ELIOT: A moment more.
SAVONOROLA: A moment. A moment. Writers always seek to keep you
there for one more quote.
ELIOT: I'm not quoting you.
YOUNG ELIOT: Fm enjoying you.
SAND: Some refreshment, Mr. Darwin?
DARWIN: I would prefer tea.
SAND: The British addiction.
DARWIN: Please indulge me. Wine makes me foolish,
SAND: I shall have to see if the maid is about-
YOUNG SAND: fas the olde Sand rings her beHJ No one has seen Casimir for
some time. I trust he*s not exhausting her for other duties.
(Maid appears)
SAND: Tea for... (counts) six.
(Maid exits)
SAVONOROLA: Our Lord drank vinegar,
DARWIN: Only at the end. He asked for water, I believe. He was fond of
wine. But wine, under the circumstances, would not have been appropriate.
I don't claim the thirsts of Jesus. Or perhaps you feel we should claim His
thirsts as well as his trials?
SAVONOROLA: If it would bring me closer to God, I would seek vinegar over
wine.
56


ELIOT: He's being dramatic for your benefit, Mr. Darwin. He heard you were
a heretic as well,
DARWIN: Most assuredly. I have been called the Devil incarnate- People
either bless me for a new vision or castigate me because my eyes behold a
different world than theirs.
SAND: You would think ihey would be more upset by... new. machines
than new theories.
DARWIN: Machines are looked upon merely as a necessary nuisance in this
world. I, on the other hand, have disturbed their hymns.
SAND: I have not read you, Mr. Darwin, but I hear the rumblings across the
Channel.
SAVONOROLA; You have said Man is somewhat less than the angels,
DARWIN: You have said so much yourself* dear sir. And so has the Bible, I
say Man is entirely different than the angels. Both Man and the angels are
subject to the refinement of God's hand. A corrective hand. I record what I
observe. Had you my experiences you would see the Universe with new eyes.
They said His eye was on the sparrow. Well, then, he missed the finch, (they
look at him in astonishment)
SAND: This icon I like more than the other. Even if he wears those tight
English clothes and asks for tea over wine.
ELIOT: You disturb ust Mr. Darwin, because we long for the calm English
pastnow that we must put up with a clatter of machines and science. The
mooing of cows sounds to ust nostalgic race that we are, like the most
beautiful symphony.
DARWIN: I long for my past as well. My wife longs for it. And so I long on
her behalf as well as my own. I am that singular husband who is deeply in
love with his wife. She does not oppose me, but she does not believe in my
theories.
SAND: I was not the recipient of my husband^ beliefs.
DARWIN: Each night she bums me with her gaze of reproach for having
doubted the cosmology of herself, her church, and all her ancestors. Tliose
searing looks when she thinks I am unaware scorch me somewhat more
deeply than the fires of the Inquisition. Unlike such fires, it will never be
over. I am assured by many clergymen that* upon my death, the real flames
will rise about me, I ask you, is someone to bum eternally because God
57


allows him to peek at the blueprints for the Universe one good fellow to
another? Is it that God is so unjust? Or man?
SAVONOROLA: God is above justice. Who can know God except through
surrender?
DARWIN: And not through questioning? My dear fellow, you are somewhat
medieval.
SAVONOROLA: ^his only smilej I was a man behind my time.
DARWIN: And I am a man before mine.
SAND: We are all out of step*
ELIOT: Only we hide safely behind you... and our name.
SAND: George.
YOUNG SAND: George.
ELIOT; George.
YOUNG EUOT; George.
DARWIN: I never liked that name.
(Maid appears, puts down trayf leaves)
SAND: Tea?
SAVONOROLA: No, I am leaving. If I would not let the Florentines corrupt
me, I certainly won't allow the English, (touches ElioVs hand) Distort me, if
you wish, fboios to Darwin) I await your companionship in the next world.
There are too few heretics. It is a lonely death, (to Sand) You are old. Look to
your prayers, (to the young Sand and There is time for change, but
(with a glance toward their older selves) I fear you will not heed me,
DARWIN: He did not tell me in just what sphere of the next world he
resides, in which I can enjoy his companionship.
SAND: Be still, fpouring tea) There has been too much chatter to absorb, (to
Eliot) You were right to make him recant in your book. Now please* My time
is almost up. The sun will soon be setting.
DARWIN: Are you some sort of spirit that vanishes from the sunlight?
58


SAND:1 find such a question amusing, Mr, Darwin, when you are sipping
tea in a room filled with spirits or worse.
ELIOT: But you have not yet met Mr. Lewes..,
SAND: I must go to work. My writing time is from dusk until dawn,
ELIOT: I will signal him,
DARWIN: I must hurry home. My wife will be wondering what new
blasphemy I am uncovering, (he vanishes)
ELIOT: (signaling through the window) He's coining.
SAND: You are more complicated than I, George. I am attracted only by the
day that follows this day.
(Mr. Lewes appears at the door, hat in hand. The room has fallen back into
place, but the two spirits of the younger Sand and Eliot sit together on the
sofa, sipping their tea}
SAND: (going to Mr. Lewes and taking his hand) George.
LEWES: George. I have admired your work so long.
SAND: I thank you for your kind reviews. Forgive me. Ghosts and shadows
have worn me out. I am not a young woman.
LEWES: You have a young heart.
SAND: I have old bowels, (the young Sand and the Young Eliot giggle) Never
mind. You have seen what you can become.
ELIOT: It has been an afternoon* Mr. Lewes. The letter I received was not
sent by Mile. Sand.
SAND: Nor the one I received was sent by Mile. Eliot,
LEWES: Of course not, I sent them both.
SAND & ELIOT: You?
LEWES; It is unfair that you should not know your other half- (he turns to
the young Sand and Eliot) Nor you to know your other half-
ELIOT: Forgive me, dearest, but the other half of what?
59


LEWES: Of what you are. (bows to Sand) I am most pleased to finally meet
you, MUe. Sand, (to Eliot) I will wait in the carriage for you.
(the two women look at each other in amazement as he exits)
SAND: A most extraordinaiy man.
ELIOT: How could he not be with a name such as George?
YOUNG SAND: To work...
YOUNG ELIOT: To work
ELIOT: Thank you for tea.
SAND: You are most welcome,
(all four selves turn to stare at each other)
SAND: No one must know!
ELIOT: No one would believe us.
YOUNG SAND: Women named George would understand.
YOUNG ELIOT: Where are they?
SAND: Someday.
ELIOT: Until then.
SAND: My dear Miss Eliot!
ELIOT: My dear Mile. Sand!
(at this point the four women move as in a circle, all elements equal)
YOUNG SAND: Miss Evans!
YOUNG ELIOT: MUe. Dupin!
SAND: My dear Mrs. Lewes!
ELIOT: Baroness de Dudevant!
YOUNG SAND: Mary Ann?
60


YOUNG ELIOT: Aurore!
SAND: We must meet again...
ELIOT: Soon...
YOUNG SAND: Yes.
YOUNG ELIOT: Without a doubt.
SAND: George!
ELIOT: George!
(they stcaid frozen for a moment)
ALL: George.
lights out
THE END
61


EPILOGUE
She is reason good enough, or seem to be,
Why all were bom whose being ministers
To her completeness. Is it her voice
Subdues us? Or her instinct exquisite.
Informing each old strain with some new grace
Which takes our sense like any natural good?
Or most her spiritual energy
That sweeps us in the current of her song?
George Eliot
Armgart


ENDNOTES
1. Virginia Woolf* Orlando. (London: Harcourt & Brace, Inc. 1928). The
legend Woolf uses about how to change sexes is an old one, but I first read
it in her beautifully worked novel.
2. Helen Kirch Chinoy and Linda Walsh Jenkins, Women hi American
Theatre, ed. Linda Walsh. (New York: Theatre Communicatioiis Group,
1981), 174.
3. George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan (1823).
4. George Sand* Journal to Musset (n.d.).
5. George Sand, Sketches and Hints (September 1868).
6. Ibid.
7. George Eliot. Mill on the Floss (1860).
8* The word "radica]n as it is used here defines a sense of political
betterment through the throwing off of what is bad in conservatism, thus
creating a more democratic atmosphere.
9. Bernard Paris* MGeorge Eliot's Religion of Humanity," Experiments in Life:
George Eliots Quest for Values (Detroit: Wayne State Press, 1965).
10. Thomas Pinney, ed. "The Authority of the Past in George Ellofs Novels*1,
Essays of George Eliot (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963), 4.
11. Henry James, "Daniel Deronda: A Conversation/ The Atlantic Monthly
38 (December 1876): 684-94.
12. George Eliot* Romola (1863}.
13. Ibid*


BIBLIOGRAPHY
1.Works about English traditions:
McCarthy, Wm and Rogers, Katherine Mtf eds. The Meridian Anthology of
Early Women Writers (British Women from Aphra Behn to Marie Edgeworth
1660-1800. New York: Meridian 1987.
This book demonstrated the solitary voices that linked together to
form a British tradition. I was sad to note they left out Mary Wollstonecraft
in this anthology^
Poovey, Mary, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer, Chicago: Hie
University of Chicago Press, 1984.
While this book concentrates on Austen, Wollstonecraft, and Shelley,
it also talks about how ideology functions in the female writer during the
time frame covered* It is interesting in showing woman's need to educate
even while spinning a good stoiy to the reading public of that period.
2. Works about George Eliot:
Creeger, George R,ed. George Eliot. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.*
1970.
This collection of critical essays helped me to put Eliofs work into
perspective in a literary sense, since English is not my major field of
interest. My understanding of how life and work intertwined was expanded
through reading this collection.
Haight, Gordon S., ed, A Century of George Eliot Criticism. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.
This book reaches from Eliots time into this century to show how
critics have changed in their estimate of her work. Virginia Woolfs lovely
comment about Middlemarch being "a novel for grown-ups is included
here.
MintzAlan. George Eliot and the Novel of Vocation. Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1978.
No real Information added here, but another attempt to show how
Eliot applied her life to her work.
64


Redinger, Ruby V., George Eliot: The Emergent Self. New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1975-
The lack of real chronology in this book makes reading confusing.
There was a strange attempt to blur lines between fictional and real
moments as they related to Eliot. Not entirely successful as a study.
Simon, Dentith, George Eliot. Sussex: Harvester Press, 1986.
A more literary look rather than a personal view of Eliot, this book
contained some information about how the work has been viewed over time
and changing circumstance.
3^. Works by George Eliot:
Poems (1839-1879)
Her poetry is unexceptional. She has a good feel for rhyme and even
some story (as exhibited in her narrative pieces) but her ability to
characterize comes alive in her prose.
Scenes of Clerical Life (1857)
These first attempts at fiction are varied in their power. Her grasp of
the heartbreaking gulf that often exists between people comes across
intermittently, showing future promise. Her dealings with alcohol and abuse
of women in "Janet's Repentance" are very moving.
Adam Bede (1859)
Adam Bede as a hero is little more than a stereotype, but the
characters of the village around him are alive and subtle. The story of poor
Hetty Sorrel, who ends up pregnant* alone* and driven to child-killing,
shows the plight of any woman at that time who stepped outside the bounds
of society- She is contrasted with Dinah Monris, the female minister, who
upon marrying Adam Bede gives up her preaching and settles Into wifedom.
Mill on the Floss (1860)
Considered by some to be Eliot's most autobiographical work, she
still could not resist making the heroine beautiful. Maggie is written with
great passion; she both loves and hates in extremes. The holding of such
varied emotions in a society where moderation is the norm must lead to
65


tragedy. The scenes of childhood are especially delightful to all children who
have felt like outsiders.
SiJas Mamer (1861)
The story of the miser who grasps at love with more tenacity than at
gold is Eliots plea for redemption of all who have given up at one time- The
sorrows of the community are woven Into the fabric of bittersweet happiness
in the story of Effie and Silas.
Romola (1863)
A good deal more problematical than her previous writings: Eliot*
again opting for the beautiful heroine, addresses questions of rell^ous faith
(personal versus societal) in addition to trust and duty. These grand themes
are played out in Florence, Italy during the Renaissance, where she creates
a Savonorola who is both compelling and too demanding* The forgiveness
Romola finds for both Savonorola axid for her faithless husband erfiort the
readers to do the same for their own life circumstances.
Felix Holt [1866)
Set somewhat earlier, this story takes place in rural England during a
political campaign. Felix Holt, "radical11, is a man of ideals while the heroine,
Esther, is a woman with great feeling. Eliot suggests their marriage
combines the best of both. Her condemnation of ideology alone as a
standard for living is gentle, yet unmistakable.
Middlemarch1871)
The most beautifully detailed of Eliot's books* One has the smell,
touch* taste of the entire cast she presents. She gives us two beautiful
women who almost ruin the their lives as well as a third heroine* Mary,
unpretty, who is not only sensible and charming, but sought after. The
three studies of marriage shown side by ide are illustrative of how misled
one can be by superficialities,
Daniel Deronda (1876)
I wondered how much this novel owed to Disraeli, the Jew who was
an aristocrat. It Is not a perfect book; I found it the most unsatisfying of
Elibfs, However, in the sense of speaking of people's pull to their
community^ I think it spoke for the need for everyone to find identity-
66


4. Works about French Traditions:
Bree, Germaine, Women Writers in France. New Brunswick: Rutgers
University Press,1983,
Feminism in literature has a long, honorable history in France, which
this book addresses. The chronology gives one a feel for eras in which there
was more sympathy paid to women,
5. Works About George Sand:
Blount. Paul G George Sand and the Victorian World. Athens: The
University of Georgia Press* 1979.
This book is more exciting than mere biography, as it attempts to fit
the authoress into the context of her time as well as the English
consciousness.
Gate, Curtis, George Sand, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975.
George Sand*s biographer summed her up most romantically. The
counterpoint between other biographies and this one is not lost on the
reader.
Jordan, Ruth, George Sand. New York; Taplinger Publishing Company,
1976.
In some ways this biography gives the most helpful chronology in
charting changes in George Sand*s life.
Manifold, Gay* George Sand's Theatre Career. Ann Arbor: UMI Research
Press,1983.
Sand's biographer shows in this book her love of theatre as a form of
expression as well as sheer entertainment. She obviously found that her
ideas fit well into the dramatic form.
67




Egnchon Cricket (or La Petite Fadette)(18711
,interesting quality of this slight book is the interplay between a
pair Qf Mns, wbtch forecasts what science later learned about the
temetton of such sibUngs Set in her
dmwn a peasantry wherein bigotry and forgiveness play a game ol tag
Ste Fr^eness (as befits the pastoral novel)wms out.
llll Intltaate Journals of George Sand (between her 29th and 36th years,
With additional comments at age 64)
This collection is a mixed bag, possibly because Sand was undergoing
so much transformation at the time. Much is like reading the diary of a
lovesick girl, while interspersed are the mature reflections of a writer. In her
early years, she was very much both creatures.


Winegarten, Renee, The Double Life of George Sand. New York: Basic Books,
Inc 1978.
This accounting of Mile, Sand is quite different than other books I
read* putting entirely different emphases on different characters. It shows
the bifurcation she experienced between her professional self and her
private life.
6. Works by George Sand:
Leila (1833)
This novel, about which the public was divided, has an intensely
personal feel to it. It was as though Sand had split herself in two: one half,
the brooding ascetic, while the other half represented the hedonistic
temptress. The structure of this novel is different than many of its time. It
jumps around in both narrative £ind time, surprising its reader with long
gaps between what is described as having occurred.
Consuelo (1842)
A marriage of two styles, Consuelo appeals because of the strong
nanrative line and a heroine that grows through the course of the book.
Sand uses poetic license here, bringing in Haydn and others from the real
world. It has GothicpastoralRomantic and iyric elements in it
The Country Waif (1850)
Part of her pastoral period, George Sand set this story in Berry,
where her country chateau was located. It reflects the lives of peasants who
are chained by their circumstances. The tale of an older woman marrying a
younger man, whom she has raised as a son, must have been shocking to
the French public.
The Bagpipers (1852)
Set near the chateau of Nohant, this story traces two romances while
depicting the idealized life of the peasants. Sand contrasts her characters,
Inviting us to take sides with one or the other in this rather drawn-out plot
that ends with felicity.
68


Fanchon the Cricket (or La Petite Fadette] (1871)
The interesting quality of this slight book is the Interplay between a
pair of identical twins, which forecasts what science later learned about the
sympathetic interaction of such siblings- Set in her beloved Berry, Sand has
drawn a peasantry wherein bigotiy and forgiveness play a game of tag with
each other. Forgiveness (as befits the pastoral novel) wins out.
The Intimate Journals of George Sand (between her 29th and 36th years,
with additional comments at age 64)
This collection is a mixed bag, possibly because Sand was undergoing
so much transformation at the time. Much is like reading the diary of a
lovesick girl, while interspersed are the mature reflections of a writer. In her
early years, she was very much both creatures.
69


Full Text

PAGE 1

WOMEN CALLED GEORGE by Christine Emmert B.A., University of Colorado, 1976 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the Uni':ersity of at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities Humanities Program 1990

PAGE 2

This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Christine Emmert has been approved for the Humanities Program by Frederick Allen Date

PAGE 3

Emmert, Christine (M.H., Humanities) Women Called George Thesis directed by Professor Frederick Allen The Female Writer in the nineteenth century, a simulacrum, can be observed as an entity through the lives of women who wrote at that time. George Eliot and George Sand defme two aspects of this model for women who wrote. These two embraced separate traditions --English and French--wherein they penned their work, building on pasts that were different. The combination of both traditions completes the. image of the Female Writer who needed a masculine component to refme her. George Sand was a ceiebrity, while George Eliot vias not. Their mutual admiration as well as their attempts to use the written word to take women further was fated for public success and some deeply private failure. One looks at the austerity Eliot imposed upon herself, against the extravagant passions Sand experienced. Their need to call themselves "George" let women heed that a masculine presence still controlled the world of publishing. George Eliot grew up in a dysfunctional family in warwickshire, while Sand enjoyed the privileges of the aristocracy in France. Yet both, because of the circumstances in their lives, needed to turn to publishing for their livelihoods. Their books reflected their concerns. They died acknowledged writers. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Dr. Frederick Allen iii

PAGE 4

CONTENTS Some Personal Thoughts as Preface ................................................... v Introduction .................................................................................... viii CHAPfER 1. THE FEMALE WRITER 1WO TRADITIONS ........................................... 1 2. GEORGE SAND (neeAURORE DUPIN, 1804-1876): THE ROMANTIC REBEL ......................................................................... 6 3. GEORGE ELIOT (nee MARY ANN EVANS, 1819-1880): TI-lE RELUCTANT REBEL ...................................................................... .16 4. A SUMMING UP ................................................................................... 23 GEORGE AND GEORGE ............................................................................ 26 Why "George and George" ............................................................... 27 GEORGE AND GEORGE, a dramatization ....................................... 29 EPILOGUE ................................................................................................. 62 APPENDIX A ENDN01ES ......................................................................................... 63 BIBLIOGRAPI-IY ......................................................................................... 64

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SOME PERSONAL THOUGHTS AS PREFACE To be born a woman has been to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men. The social presence of women has developed as a result of their ingenuity in living under such tutelage within such limited space. But this has been at the cost of a woman's self-being, split in two ... John Berger Ways of Seeing As a young girl --alas, many years ago! -I looked to female writers as a source of definition, believing they might provide more insight into my "state" than male authors. I am sorry to say at that time I overlooked George Eliot. We were made to read Silas Marner in high school, a singularly unpleasant experience conducted by a dried-up English teacher who scorned sensuality and extolled puritanism. I did, however, tum to George Sand. George Sand! What a role model for a young girl. She was rebellious, romantic, always an iconoclast The Visions of her carried through a very bad movie in which Merle Oberon played George Sand to Cornel Wilde's Chopin. Who could be more exotic than Merle Oberon? The sight of her in velvet suits designed for men, elegantly puffing on cigars, proved more durable than Sand's writing (about which I remembered very little except that it was highly emotional).

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George Eliot was reintroduced to me by my sister, who thrust Middlemarch into my hands one summer while we were sharing a house with our three children at the New Jersey shore. I was ready for a more measured look at life, having grown from the fantasy of womanhood into the day-to-day realities of wife and mother. I then proceeded to read Eliot's other work. She wrote just eight novels. I was still thirsty for her insights. I tumed to her life. Her mild photograph spoke to me with more eloquence than George Sand's theatrical postures. Both women were in no clinical sense schizophrenic, yet this double role of George and feminine self reminds me of Virginia Woolfs fascinating hero/heroine, Orlando, who changed sex in the course of his/her story by the feat ofkissing his/her elbow.1 Both Sand and Eliot bestowed the spiritual kiss many a time in their careers. For Sand this change-about included the wearing of men's clothes and taking an often masculine pronoun, while Eliot did not consider her use of the "George" role as a breeches part. Today women writers are allowed their own gender. It is not yet a comfortable allowance. Lillian Hellman, who has acted as role model for many women, said: It's hard for women, hard to get along, to support themselves. to live with some self-respect. And, in fairness, women have made it hard for other women. 2 To make a logical extension of Hellman's statement, we might still say women who "make it" are the exceptions, not the rule. While we have given up becoming George, it is still the masculine gender against which we measure

PAGE 7

ourselves. The seeds of feminism sown in the French Revolution were not uprooted, but rather left untended. Mary Wollstonecraft. who gave political tracts to the women's issue, at least asked, 'Why not females?," as opposed to the century-old question of men, 'Why females?" The change in the tone of the question helped celebrate in some small way the female voice. We had our women writing under male names, but exploring concerns applicable to both sexes. The public was not misled, either, by the ruse. Both Sand and Eliot were accepted in their dual form. I realize, along with many other women who have tried to combine career and family life, that I have elements of both authoresses in myself. Finally, in my middle age, I can find niches for both Georges. With this sense of acknowledgement I proceed to give both due attention. As Aurore and Maryann, they stand beside me. As George artd George they go into the literar)r annals. All women who strive are women who are divided by far more than a choosing of names. vii

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INTRODUCTION Much Madness is divinest Sense To a discerning Eye -Much Sense -the starkest Madness 'Tis the Majority In this, as All, prevailAssent -and you are sane -Demur -and you're straightaway dangerous -And handled with a Chain Emily Dickinson The 19th century prompted revolutions on many fronts--industrial, agricultural, social, political. A quieter, but no less important, turnover occurred in literature with the rise and legitimacy of the middle-class female writer. Previously, back across the ages, women had been expressing their ideas in isolated pockets at isolated moments. Those fortunate enough to read and write put these ideas down, often in papers lost to time. The preserved voices, pure and focused, registered as echoes against the din of a male-dominated society. Ideas were not the province of those whose hands should be rocking cradles and darning socks. Early along inWestern history Seneca warned that when a woman thinks, she is evil. Something --the Something being the dynamic of Europe itself--changed between the 1780s and the 1840s. Taking advantage of this shift in the wind, women took up their pens and wrote as an exercise beyond mere

PAGE 9

diversion. Writing became an occupation by which they earned their livelihood, if not their equality. A literate public stood in wait, anxious for completed manuscripts. Two such women, one English and one French, became professional authors. They were not the only examples of the female writer. Their lives and temperaments were distinct opposites of each other. The commonality they shared was the effect they had upon the particular era in which they wrote, as well as the curious fact that they both chose to identify themselves publically as "George." George Sand and George Eliot were two females finding a foothold in their work. Both formed phrases in the defmition of Female Writer. This definition was made incomplete at a time when She penned under many guises to a changing, but receptive, public. ix

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CHAPTER 1 THE FEMALE WRITER.: 1WO TRADITIONS Women writers have become used to the term "woman" being meant as secondary, or as semi-abusive, and so they don't like being called "women writers" by other women or feminists. But I think that it is quite important to reclaim that description as a positive and polemical thing, in order to indicate that there are differences in the way men and women see their status as writers, and in the way they choose and write about their subject matter. I have no problems at all with identifying myself as a woman writer (although there are some situations in which the priority is to identify myself as a: professional writer) because I'm always so keen to provoke people to think about the relationship between gender and writing ... Michelene Wandor Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights Both Georges did not emerge full-blown on the morning their first works appeared. They came out of separate traditions of women voicing their feelings about the universe in which they lived. In both cases there were several niodels of the Female Writer before the mid-nineteenth century gave her full recognition. It is no coincidence that this emergence coincides with the emergence of a desire for reading material to please a literate middle-class public. France had her own brand of female heroines. We trace her origins back to Marie de France of the 12th century, through Christine de Pisan of the 15th century, to the salons that preceded the French Revolution--and to the women of style and wit who sponsored them. Voltaire's most famous

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mistress, Madame de Chatelet, challenged the celebrated writer both in the bedroom and through the force of her pen. George Sand was born into a world where femiriist ideas had been spawned as part of the general revolution for more than economic equality. In England, Elizabeth I gave her name to an era in which the arts flourished. The Queen encouraged a celebration of language. The dramas of Aphra Behn during the Restoration continued this celebratory use of the written word. Although Behn provided the scandal of a woman who publically acknowledged she wrote, her plays were performed and preserved. Until the Industrial Revolution --when education, except on a miriimallevel, became desirable for both sexes --women wrote tentatively. Their work was received with the same spirit. Jane Austen was said to have stashed her day's writing under her Mary Wollstonecraft was branded "a hyena in petticoats" by the learned Horace Walpole. Mary Shelley's book Frankenstein was such an unthinkable undertaking for a girl of riineteen that rumor gave credit of authorship to her husband rather than herself. Women were not considered serious contenders on the literary scene until the mid-19th century, when their need to speak coincided with ears that cared to listen. Novels became popular by virtue of the fact that there was leisure to write them and leisure to read them. The use of mesculine names by women who wrote showed a striving to compete with men on their own turf. Women did not want to be dimiriished by that most diminishing term "woman writer." They made their claim on behalf of all those genteel 2

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occupations women filled that required education, but denied the brain behind the education. It is not coincidental that several writers were (or had thought to become) governesses, that educated woman who worked as a servant to educate the children in households of her "betters." The Industrial Revolution pushed lower-class women out of their cottages into the factories. It also locked middle-class women up more securely in the homes they came to as wives. Both the Georges took to writing as economic necessity. Their stories were often far removed from their real circumstances. They used fiction as escape. George Eliot, a woman of average countenance, made her heroines beautiful. George Sand, often confined to her chateau in Berry, took her characters on adventures both geographical and erotic. Both women proved expressions of the Female Writer come of age. It took a turn in economic conditions to bring their voices to the forefront. Dissent was as likely as assent in response to new facilitators of the written word. Women today bear their own anger writing in a world that does not grant them true equality, but we can thank those many pioneers who called themselves George or Currier or Daniel in spite of their petticoats and anatomy. We are still scribbling. We are still being rewarded, however grudgingly, for those scribbles. At the time both Georges entered the publishing world, the "educated" woman was being used in the capacity of translators and journalists behind the men who acted as editors and publishers, taking 3

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credit from what they picked from women's brains. Fiction was still the last frontier. With the increase in literacy to fill out the requirements of a new scientific age where knowledge must be shared and built upon. leisure time was likewise filled for the literate with words, words, words employing their imaginations toward adventures and loves they would never have. The increased isolation of the middle-class woman made her fantasies soar only with the aid of the printed page. Mothers were expected to have some degree of education in order to better bring up their sons. The instructor of children became herself a pupil of the fictional writer. She learned through him (or her, disguised) about what lay beyond the confines of her doorway. Those singular women like our two Georges who proved unhappy in the models set forth for women started in publishing as supporters rather than true interpreters of this new dichotomy. They worked for small wages at flrst. In Eliot's case it was not until she branched out from translations and reviews into the wide-flung world of flction that she gained her own recognition. In Sand's case, she had been forced to hide behind Jules Sandeau as her first few attempts were published. Nowadays the publishing indusby is notoriously underpaid. That much has not changed. Young, bright college girls are encouraged to accept lower-level jobs in publishing houses, where they work for "status" rather than a fair wage. Increasingly, however, women are filtering into management-level jobs. Nevertheless, statistically, the publishing world counts more females among the lower level than it counts men. 4

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One is still damned if one has written a "women's novel." Writers of youthful fiction are cautioned that to make the protagonist a female will lower field of interest when the book is published. We still find females writing for a market which is tilted toward the male sensibilities. There is the genre of the Romantic Novel. This type is the book that holds the Gothic Novel as its most powerlul ancestor. Although Eliot made fun of such writing, and Austen penned a wicked parody of the same, the fascination has prevailed for helpless virgins pursued by terrors and saved by dauntless heroes. As a woman who writes, I often find myself looking at life from the male point of view, else my novels would remain unpublished and my stories directed to .that small area ofwriting entitled "Women's Markets." That Sand and Eliot used both male and female voices depending on the story they wished to tell alerts me to the fact that I have those voices equally within me. Virginia Woolf astutely shaped Orlando as a duet of both voices. pointing the way to the future. 5

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CHAPrER2 GEORGE SAND, nee AURORE DUPIN (1804-1876): THE ROMANfiC REBEL Our heaped-up wisdom is not a permanent dwelling-place in which we may safely go to sleep. It is a temporary abode in which it behooves us to keep awake, for every day that passes sees at least one stone fall away from the walls we have builded, and at the slightest wind the entire edifice may crumble to the ground. We do not know what awaits us. Let us learn, then, to dominate the present, or we shall not be able to endure what the future may bring. George Sand Doctor Piffoel ( 1836) Born in 1804 during the excitement of Napoleon's rise to power, George Sand came into the world as Aurore Dupin. Her parents had hurriedly (and prudently) married just a month before her birth. On her father's side, Aurore claimed aristocratic blood, while her mother was the product of a birdseller and a woman of Throughout her life Aurore tried to reconcile her sympathies for all classes with her own elegant tastes. Maurice, the father, was attentive to his daughter when he was home, which was not often. He was gone more than not in the service of General Murat, expending the glory of the recent Revolution throughout central Europe. When Aurore was five, Maurice took his eternal leave by breaking

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his neck when his horse threw him. Aurore's mother, unaccepted by and unacceptable to the Dupin family, received a pension from Marie-Aurore de Saxe, mother of the unfortunate Maurice, for surrendering the daughter to the old lady's care. The attention provided by the grandmother allowed Aurore a good education combined with social standing. The Dupins were possessed of a comfortable income and a comfortable chateau, Nohant, located in the Berry region. The child was reminded time and again to follow in the "correct" footsteps of her grandmother, thus rejecting the example of a promiscuous mother. During the impressionable years of adolescence Aurore was sent to a convent in Paris run by English nuns, the Couvent des Anglaises. It was hoped any temptation to follow her mother into a life of error would be stilled under the calm hand of the Sisters. The grandmother might as well have been trying to shelter Aurore from a wildness closer at hand than Sophie. Maurice, prior to his marriage and fatherhood of Aurore had presented his family with an illegitimate son, Hippolyte. Aurore, like so many young girls before and since who fall under the care of nuns, wished to take up the veil. Her grandmother's death when Aurore was seventeen altered this course of her desire to cloister herself. She was the sole heir to her grandmother's estate, save a small trust for Hippolyte and a modest pension for the disavowed daughter-in-law and mother, Sophie. 7

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In attempting a reconciliation Aurore moved to Paris with her mother, sharing a small apartment in a less-than-fashionable neighborhood. It was in Paris at the budding age of eighteen that Aurore met Casimir Dud evant, just out of the army and only a few years older than she. Casimir was the illegitimate son of Baron Dudevant, a retired Colonel of the Empire. In keeping with a woman's expected destiny (or, perhaps. expected duty) the couple agreed to the felicity of marriage. On September 10, 1822, they wed and moved to Nohant. The countryside around Nohant was both familiar and gentle. The groom loved to hunt; the bride was absorbed in her reading. It took less than three years for the domestic scene to unravel. During that time Casimir tried his masculine prowess with several other females (some servants in the household) whil e squandering both Aurore's income and his own. There was at least one episode of public physical abuse. Aurore heeded Byron's words on love, expressing the schism in thinking between men and women of that time: Man's love is of man's life a thing apart. 'Tis woman's whole existence. 3 Finding the underpinnings of her existence so threatened, Aurore took action by falling "in love" with Aurelian de Seze, whom she met while on a journey to the Pyrenees for reasons of ill health. Although their love was never physically consummated, her soul had already taken the plunge into the wild seas of infidelity. 8

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Following Aurelian there was an interlude of seeming reconciliation between husband and wife. It was during this time Aurore's writing took a serious tum. Her first literary attempt, Voyage en Auvergne, attempted to put on paper the random thoughts that were racing in her head. Eighteen-thirty proved a pivotal year for Aurore. Casimir had provokingly left an envelope in his drawer addressed to her with instructions that it not be opened until his death. Human curiosity being what it was, Aurore did not wait until her husband had drawn his last breath. The contents of the envelope were an invective against her. boldly declaring Casimir's distaste for every aspect of his wife. It is in this atmosphere of husbandly rebuke that her first important literary piece. Indiana. was composed. Not coincidentally, the novel tells the story of a marriage out of joint and the long-suffering wife damned by her own wedding vows. Not wishing to follow the martyred path of her heroine in Indiana. Aurore linked her literary and amorous fortunes with another writer's, Jules Sandeau. Their collaboration (which extended far beyond the written page) was crowned by the publication of Rose et Blanche under the united name of "Jules Sand." Aurore had followed her lover to Paris where she took on the other side of her personality. wearing trousers and evolving her name into the one by which the publishing world would acknowledge her: George Sand. 9

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Her affair with Sandeau proved unsatisfactm:y. What seemed appealing in the Berry atmosphere of rustic charm was eclipsed by the many young intellectuals of Paris. In 1833 George Sand met Alfred de Musset, who was to provide her with a short period of real love --and an aftermath of fictional material based on their celebrated affair. A word such as "happy" cannot be applied to two writers used to creating conflicts in person when inspiration was lacking to put them down on the printed page. Within the brackets of this relationship Sand composed Leila, a novel that identified her forever as the Byronic heroine. In Leila Sand bifurcates herself into two women: the frigid, unhappy Leila and her hedonistic sister, Pulcheria. The male counterpart is bifurcated as well into the unhappy. jaded lover of Leila and the all-knowing soulmate of Leila. The novel does not make easy reading. It didn't when first published. There the complaint was Sand's belief in the legitimacy of free love. Now it seems to shriek of exaggerated passions in a world where we value moderation. It also spoke of Sand's fear --prompted by Casimir's letter --that she was unable to give or truly receive love, perhaps too personal a fear for such public revelation. Musset was used to a Dionysian mode of living. He was riddled with opium and sated himself with the services of prostitutes. Sand, although seemingly a sophisticated woman, had spent much of her adult life locked away in a countryside chateau. In Venice Musset fell ill, reproaching the woman who stayed with him and nursed him, with accusations of frigidity. 10

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She wrote despairingly (with an eye to future publication of her journal) that "you have broken a woman's pride. You have thrown her at your feet. Does this mean nothing to you? Does it mean nothing to know she is dying? ... but he does not know ... "4 Their love affair lasted just two years. During that period, especially during their Venetian stay in 1834, Sand composed Andre, Mattea, Jacques, Leone Leoni, and a series of love letters designed for both de Musset's eyes and future publication. It might be said the heat they generated was better expressed in fiction than in actuality. De Musset's illness (along with his opinion that Sand was frigid) prompted her affair with the attending physician. The Italian doctor followed her back to France, but Mediterranean ardor quickly cooled in the breeze of the French countryside. Breaking off with her lovers did not send her back to Casimir a repentant wife. It was there fiction and life did not combine. Casimir was not a man to verbalize his dissatisfactions. Instead he turned a gun on his wife one guest-filled evening at the chateau. She countered with a suit for legal separation. Divorce had gone out of the law books when Napoleon ruled. In 1836 the Courts of France were presented with more than ample evidence that the Dudevant marriage was over in all but name. While suits continued. the couple determined payments and conditions. Casimir was now the dependent one. George was a best-selling writer. She held the pursestrings. He had no choice but to take the money and run. 11

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The same year provided a new lover for George Sand that gave her an episode as intriguing as any she wrote of in her stylized novels. George Sand, the woman who dressed as a man and demanded the same rights, met Frederick Chopin, the consumptive, delicate hero. By 1838 the two were lovers. George had two children which Chopin took to his heart while Sand shared his bed. Their strange coupling lasted until 1847, when Chopin's siding with Sand's daughter, Solange, during a family quarrel ended the relationship. During her years with Chopin, George Sand composed her most successful Romantic novel. Consuela, the sensation of the French reading public in 1842. The story is believed to be based on Sand's friend Marie Dorval. It recounts the tale of a plain opera singer who, through her talent and virtue, rises to the top of her profession. The tale of the ugly-ducklingturned-swan is not unlike the biography of Sand herself. Sand's popularity was feit in England. Debates raged as to her immorality or openness to feelings the English wished to stifle. Elizabeth Barrett Browning (who sought Sand out) paid her tribute in two sonnets which sung of her as man/woman. The public George had overtaken the Aurore of private inclinations. At this pinnacle of Romantic success, Sand felt she had gone as far as she might with her one, florid style and abruptly changed her style of writing. Her next literary period was to include two types of work: the socialist novel (expressing her Republican sentiments) and the pastoral 12

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novel. The Country Waif gave life to the plight of women married to abusive husbands who find love in ways unacceptable to their own society. In the case of the heroine, she marries the child she raised as her own son after her husband's death. Sand's work habits were diligent. Every night she wrote through the hours when others in the chateau slept. In this manner, and with this dedication, she was able to turn out two novels a year. It was not inspiration alone that drove her to such prolific outpourings, but also the constant debts incurred by herself, her lovers, her children, and her wayward husband. As her life changed, as she herself matured, her writing style changed with her. In 1847 her mind had been stirred by political events. Always a proponent for a Republican France, she rushed to Paris to join the push for a Second Republic. Although many budding feminists hoped Sand's zeal would extend to an additional call for women's rights. she staunchly maintained women had no place in politics. So saying, she proceeded to publish her own very political newspaper, La Cause du Peuple, while signing on as a pamphleteer for the new government. Her Utopian vision began to dim quickly in light of political realities. She was later to write that ... the error of socialism, thus understood, is that it overlooks the importance of the individual. It hopes to impose the happiness of all on each. It is true that justice and liberty will make room for more individual satisfactions, but we cannot hand out happiness to others. The individual must win his own. Violence destroys happiness, 13

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whereas time and education will develop men and women until they find their own happiness in harmony with social well-being.5 Sadness at political failure was mirrored for her in the death of Solange's first child. Sand returned to pastoral novels that eased the stress of her life as authoress. celebrity, and woman. In 1851, with the fall of the imperfect Second Republic, Sand was forced into the political arena once again to use what influence she might with Prince President Louis Napoleon on behalf of her friends who had fallen into disfavor. In spite of her intense dislike of Napoleon, she proved her deep loyalty to those friends by enduring the lengthy bargaining time it took to win favors for them. Increasingly Sand became interested in writing for the theatre. Her small stage, which was kept at Nohant. provided a living workshop for perfecting her craft as a dramatist. She was fortunate enough to pen works for both Sarah Bernhardt (then a rising star) and Rachel (a star in the ascendancy). She delighted as well in personal moments with her son, Maurice, and his bride Caroline Calamatta. George had not resigned herself to old age. Alexandre Damien Manceau, a bohemian some thirteen years younger, met George Sand in 1849 and became her lover the following year. It was a close. solicitous relationship. George no longer reached for excesses of passion and pain. He was her companion until his death in 1857. During that time she shared a deep, but platonic, friendship with Gustave Flaubert. 14

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Sand prtded herself on her stamina. She outlived many of her contemporartes, leading a productive literary life until the last. Her stomach had long been a source of discomfort to her. By the time the doctors realized how far the cancer had spread, it was too late. She died in 1876 at her beloved Nohant after many days .of illness. Of her own longevity she wrote: It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older one climbs with surprtsing strides. Mental activity increases with age, as physical activity develops in a child. Meanwhile, and nevertheless, one approaches the journey's end. But the end is a goal. not a catastrophe. 6 George Sand (Aurore Dupin) lived a life of more than financial extravagance. One might say she spent her spirtt lavishly. Her books today are somewhat unreadable in their excessive descrtptions of the soartng spirtt. She rtsked the climb many times to go beyond where women were told they might venture. Her wrtting rtsked the same. Often condemned, often praised, she still continued to change her ideas and style with what visions she saw from the top of the hill. 15

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. CHAPfER3 GEORGE ELIOT, nee MARY ANN EVANS (1819-1880): THE RELUCTANT REBEL PROVED REALIST 0 it is difficult -life is very difficult! It seems right to me sometimes that we should follow our strongest feeling: --but then, such feelings continually come across the ties that all our former life has made for us --the ties have made others dependent on us --and would cut them in two. If life were quite easy and simple, as it might have been in Paradise, and we could see that one being towards whom ... I mean, if life did not make duties for us, before love comes, love would be a sign that two people ought to belong to each other. But I see -I feel it is not so now: there are things we must renounce in life; some of us must resign love. Many things are difficult and dark to me: but I see one thing quite clearly--that I must not, cannot, seek my own happiness by sacrificing others. Love is natural; but surely pity and faithfulness and memory are natural too. And they would live. in me still, and punish me if I did not obey them. I should be haunted by the suffering I had caused ... George Eliot Mill On the Floss (chapter 11) Mary Ann Evans was born in Warwickshire, England in 1819. Her alter ego, George Eliot. came to life at a later date. The childhood Mary Ann played out amidst the gentle countryside was later described with great affection in Eliot's writings. We know of this youth mostly through these fictional portraits, although a few friends and some surviving documents give witness to her early life.

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Biographers tend to identify Mary Ann's girlhood with that of her heroine, Maggie Tulliver, of The Mill on the Floss. Maggie's temperament was volatile, ill-befitting a girl of that time. Mrs. Tulliver laments over her daughter's rebellious hair (which refuses to stay curled and pinned) that mimics a rebellious spirit. My own delightful remembrance of Maggie is her flight to join a gypsy band, certainly an exotic experience for any sheltered child. We can see the same march to a different drummer in Mary Ann, who at one point informed her father she would no longer accompany him to church--and then kept her word on that subject. However, as we know from the grown-up heroines of Eliot's prose, her penned women represented qualities of the creator, not the whole self. Mary Ann, like Maggie Tulliver, had a problematic relationship with her brother Isaac. In the conclusion of The Mill and the Floss, brother and sister drown, clasped in an eternal embrace of forgiveness. This last. complete reconciliation was not duplicated in Eliot's life. Isaac, who was angry with his sister for her refusal to lay down the mantle of spinsterhood as well as her adulterous (albeit monogamous and affectionate) cohabitaUon with George Henry Lewes, hardened his heart against her. Mary Ann's mother is a dim figure, described as pleasant. but without real outline. A second wife to Robert Evans, Mrs. Evans suffered from some vague illness, requiring both Isaac and Mary Ann to be sent away for their education. Friends of the family affirm that Isaac was his mother's favorite, while Mary Ann was first in her father's eyes. When Mary Ann was 17

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sixteen, her mother died. It was then she became surrogate wife/housekeeper/companion to her father, a condition that was to endure for the next ten years. While father and brother expected that Mary Ann would marry, she had quite another occupation in mind. The loss of her faith in churchgoing opened up a new search for a religious framework she might believe. She was drawn to Strauss' human portrait of Jesus which stressed his humanity over divinity, Das Leben Jesus. In 1846 her English translation was published, giving birth to the writer. During the period she had been laboring over this translation, she nursed her ailing parent. The death of her father three years later finally freed her from her life as Mary Ann Evans, dutiful daughter, ofWarwickshire. It was that year of her father's death, 1849, that she went to Germany with friends as an excursion and, in a real sense, never returned to her former existence. John Chapman came into Mary Ann's life at this time. He published a journal with radical leanings, The Westminster Review.8 What Chapman awakened in Mary Ann were stirrings of intellectual aspirations as well as a love which was kept grudgingly (at least on Mary Ann's part) platonic. She moved into the home of Chapman, which he already shared with a wife and mistress. Her duties at The Westminster Review were those of an assistant editor. Reality of life in the Chapman household gave Mary Ann a more realistic appraisal of her hero. 18

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By 1853 her romantic affections shifted from John Chapman to George Henry Lewes, a man of some repute in the literary world for his adept criticism. Her coupling with Lewes proved a felicitous one, both for her personal life and for her literary self. It was Lewes who encouraged her to try her hand at fiction. From him she took her new identity as "George." Their relationship was tethered to Lewes' marriage. The world at large looked askance. In a Victorian world, when both husband and wife strayed by mutual agreement, there could be no formal final separation. The now George Eliot disregarded the world, was kindly attentive to Lewes' children, and often referred to herself as "Mrs. Lewes." The next twenty-three years are the lifetime of the figure publicly known as "George Eliot" through a succession of essays, novels, short stories and poetry. Her public persona under this nom de plume masked the very private nature of her personality. George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans stopped Writing with the death of her companion, George Henry Lewes, in 1878. Her pen would forthwith be silent except for casual notes and private correspondence. John Cross had long been a friend of the Lewes household and an admirer of George Eliot, writer.. After Lewes' death he began to woo her with an eye to a "merger" that would be termed a marriage by the world at large. It was, in truth, more the joining legally of biographer with subject. Their marriage in 1880 lasted just over seven months. Since Lewes' death Mary 19

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Ann had been in poor health. Knowing Victorian sentiment as we do, we cannot discount the image of a broken heart. Her death in 1880 brought an alienated brother to the graveside. This gesture of forgiveness by Isaac would have been viewed by his sister as ironic, living as she did according to her own sense of loyalty and morality. In her mind there would be no need for forgiveness since she had enacted no transgression. With further irony, Isaac embraced Cross warmly since it was he, Cross. who had a legal tie to his wayward sister. We wonder how much of George Eliot's work stems from her private self. Bernard J. Paris talks of her underlying belief in Comte's "Religion of Humanity. ,,g This concern with a belief that mankind, not divine law. supports the community as a whole with an agreed-on standard of living runs as a thread through her entire body of work. In this scheme there is an intrinsic moral order of society that sets in motion the empathy of person for person. Her depiction of Silas Marner illustrates such a condition. Silas casts off the moorings of organized religion -a religion that judged him harshly and wrongly--while at the same time drawing in the unwanted child from the storm toward the comfort of his heart with its unasking love. Hope for salvation lies not in the church, but rather in acting correctly within the community of man. Eliot, as Paris suggests, looks to the individual quest of the spirit to validate goodness rather than dependency on worship from afar of a Supreme Being. She differs from the Romantic writers in that Self is not the 20

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goal, but the vehicle for Her characters do suffer, yes, in order to become fmer people. New knowledge of self is returned to the community through service. We can examine the case of Dinah Washington in Adam Bede, who lives an ascetic existence inorder to share with the townsfolk of Stoniton who struggle through a multitude of hardships. By the same token, Romola, by shedding her denial of her husband's nature and witnessing the martyrdom of Savonarola, her mentor, comes to aid not only a town through catastrophe, but personally saves and shelters her husband's mistress and illegitimate children. Calling herself a "meliorist" in a political sense, she is a "meliorist" in a social sense as well, always acknowledging that it is those who question in going beyond what is given that lead society to a higher place. She was alive at the time of Darwin's Origin of the Species (1859) in a public, literary self. Her writings make evolution a social reality, based on those few unique individuals that use suffering as a tool for learning new strategies. When George Eliot's body of work is summed up (she wrote only eight novels!) it can be said that the Realist in her was alive and well, dealing with such issues as poverty, the backwardness of the lower classes, the plight of women who fell from grace, and the individual attempt to define the universe. She could take a character like Hetty Sorrel, the child murderer, exposing their flaws while creating a sympathetic portrait. Her voice, emanating from a plain woman of modest means, proved a voice others could believe. She did not write from a chateau. Although her 21

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writing income kept her comfortable, she would never overextend it into debt the way the other George did. She was a reluctant rebel. going against society in the matter of love only after she was thirty because a man was free in all but name to become her consort. Her unpretentious lifestyle stands at odds with that of George Sand, yet it was Sand she admired when she first embarked on her literary journey. Thomas Pinney defines this authoress best when he writes: The image George Eliotused most often to express the idea of continuity in growth is the metaphor of the plant. The human personality is like a tree whose sustaining root is early experience, but the root can function through a network of veins which is memory, carrying nourishment to the remotest branches of the tree. 10 In such a sense it is the rootedness of her past. the countryside of Warwickshire, that kept her J.n touch with the simple, unspectacular roll of low hills and diligent people who provide basics without spectacle. They are the undying meter of the poem, not the imagery of the poem itself. 22

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CHAPTER4 A SUMMING UP The paths of the two Georges crossed, despite some degree of admiration on both sides. It would be tempting to fantasize such a meeting of two such different women, who managed to scandalize and fascinate the societies within which they lived and wrote. In spite of their opposite natures, the women would have much to discuss. They both lived in relationships unacceptable by standards of their day. They were both women who grew up without the nurturing of a mother. They both took on the name of "George" to be acknowledged as equals of the males who also wrote. They attempted to prove, as Madame de Stael once proclaimed, "that Genius has no Sex." And, of course, there was the very fact of their womanhood. It is the doorway opening up into a hundred rooms where doubt and confidence mingle. Womanhood, as fits the domestic impulse of that time, proved a dwelling that sheltered and structured the lives of those who reside within its confines. Only as "George" could they venture outside and walk in other spaces usually prohibited. The two Georges meet here in this paper, a poor substitute for historical meeting. Comparisons are invited. Who was the better writer?

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Heruy James, in his discussion of Daniel Deronda, left the question in the air: Constantius: The story of Deronda's life, his mother's story, Mirah's story, are quite the sort of thing one finds in George Sand. But they are really not so good as they would be in George Sand. Sand would have carried it off with a lighter hand. Theodora: Oh, Constantius, how can you compare George Eliot's novels to that woman's? It is sunshine and moonshine. Pulcheria: I really think the two writers are very much alike. They are both very voluble. both addicted to moralizing and philosophizing a tout bout de champ, both inartistic! Constantius: ... but George Eliot is solid and George Sand is liquid. When occasionally George Eliot liquefies, as in the history of Deronda's birth and in that of Mirah, it is not with the crystalline clearness as the author of Consuelo and Andre. Take Mirah's long narrative of her adventures, when she unfolds them to Mrs. Meyrick, It is arranged, it is artificial, old-fashioned, quite in the Sand manner. But George Sand would have done it better. The false tone would have remained, but it would have been more persuasive. It would have been a fib, but the fib would have been neater. Theodora: I don't see what is to be gained by such comparisons. George Eliot is pure and George Sand is impure: how can you compare them?11 How indeed! To compare, we would need all situations equal. Equal birth, money, opportunity, health, good and bad fortune. George Sand was compelled to write herself and her loved ones out of debt over and over again. George Eliot did not have the same financial gadfly. George Sand lived through a series of men, rather than being sustained by the steady influence of one man as Eliot did. 24

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If Sand, as elder, inspired Eliot, we must acknowledge that without the one there could not be two. Without birth in that special time when literacy was on the rise and women could claim writing as a respectable occupation, neither would come down to us for judgment. If they are separate images they can be overlaid to form the face of the 19th Century Female Writer. 25

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GEORGE AND GEORGE a dramatization by Christine Emmert

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WHY "GEORGE AND GEORGE" .... The historical figure in drama has always presented problems for both playwright and audience. To take fact with the intent to shape it into a small slice of time and space (and even characters) makes the experience unsatisfying for purists, and something either more or less than history to dramatist and spectator. These constraints that distort whatever reality survives of the historical figure and their moment are acknowledged here. My mind will, however, not allow George Sand and George Eliot to rest there on the page of historical report. I need to feel their touch, hear their voices, and understand the flesh behind the spirit. This fictional meeting, arranged by me, is a device to look at the two women in a different way. It goes beyond where life leaves off for them and fmishes the arc that their hands began to trace. I found in writing this little dramatic piece that I learned how they complemented each other as expressions of the female writer. Their use of "George" displayed a very public self, while privately they struggled in their feminine form with husbands, lovers, children, step-children, fathers, brothers, and the public, which inclined to the masculine voice.

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It is the opposition of attitude that makes the coupling of these two women interesting to me. Their successes took different shape and meaning for them. I have always been more interested in the similarities underlying difference than surface harmony. The dramatic tension of such extreme poles of womanhood as they represented--and paradoxically, did not--are the meat in this dish I serve up. 28

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GEORGE AND GEORGE (Scene: a small sitting-room in an elegant home in France during the early 1860s. A lady sits, dressed in a man's blackformal suit, lighting a cigar. She is in advanced middle age, but she makes few concessions to her years. Once she might have been beautiful; now she is provocative. Her name is George Sand (Aurore Dupin). After a few contented puffs on her cigar, she moves to the window. There is the soWid of a carriage stopping. George abruptly puts out her cigar. Some corrunotion in the hallway. A moment. A lady appears in the doorway, dressed for traveL She is somewhat yoWiger than Sand. Taking off her gloves and bonnet, the new lady approaches Sand with outstretched hand. She is George Eliot {Mary Ann Evans)). SAND: My dear Miss Eliot! ELIOT: My dear Mlle. Sand! SAND: Miss Evans! ELIOT: lVIlle. Dupin! SAND: Mrs. Lewes! ELIOT: Baroness de Dudevant! SAND: Mary Arm! ELIOT: Aurore! SAND: George! ELIOT: George! (they embrace) ELIOT: (pulling back) What a lot of names we have between us. SAND: I made a list in order that I would not forget. My memory of late is failing me. ELIOT: I am flattered. How charming of you to meet with me at all. One knows how busy you are. SAND: I am between ... ELIOT: Between?

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SAND: Excuse me. My English has failed along with my memory. ELIOT: Do you, by chance, speak German? SAND: Alas, no. ELIOT: Then we shall have to muddle through in English. Unless you can indulge my pitiful French. SAND: We can compromise ... ELIOT: That is your Republican self speaking. How shall we compromise? SAND: I will speak in French. You will hear in English. ELIOT: Let me guess! I will speak in English. You will hear in French. SAND: In this way, my dear, we are both at ease. ELIOT: Yes, how clever! (they sit side by side on a small sofa. There is a long pause. Each waits for the other to begin. Finally Sand takes out another cigar) SAND: Smoke? ELIOT: I don't... (Sand is about to put the cigar away) Women don't.. usually ... I know you do. I've seen drawings. I don't. SAND: Mr. Lewes would not approve? ELIOT: He never is so definite as to approve or disapprove. (thinks) I don't imagine he would mind. SAND: You think it is incorrect for women to smoke? ELIOT: No. Mter all, we are here because we do many things other women wouldn't do ... (she hesitates) Yes, I think I will smoke. Just this once. SAND: The cigar was a gift from Flaubert. ELIOT: Flaubert. I have not yet had the honour ... SAND: I'm not sure it is such an honour, but he knows a good cigar. ELIOT: You will have to instruct me. 30

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SAND: Very simple. First you must hold it thus. (demonstrates how to hold) Mter which you must light it. (hands the cigar to Eliot, who imitates Sand's method of holding. Sand lights cigar) ELIOT: Now? SAND: Inhale. (Eliot does so. A moment) Exhale. ELIOT: (coughing) I expect it is an acquired taste. SAND: (laughs and pats her heartily on the back) Like so many masculine habits. ELIOT: (another puJ/) Not half bad. I can see why men resetve this habit for themselves alone. SAND: Mrs. Barrett did not like smoking at all. I congratulate you on your open-mindedness. ELIOT: (handing the cigar back) Mrs. Barrett? ... You mean, of course, Mrs. Robert Browning. SAND: (with a shrug) We carry around so many names. We famous women. ELIOT: Mrs. Browning ... Miss Barrett ... whatever ... she seems to be less (is cautious with her words) flamboyant than you are. SAND: God and the angels are less flamboyant than I. (she smiles at Eliot) But I see what you mean. I somehow expected you to be more flamboyant. ELIOT: I? I am just a mouse of a woman hiding behind my many characters. SAND: I'm not sure yet you are really a mouse. I might describe Mrs. Browning that way, had she created such large characters to hide behind. She, however, writes those little needlepoints of words. Her husband, on the other hand ... ELIOT: He is wonderful, isn't he? With his characters. SAND: (puffing on the cigar) He is wonderful to her. ELIOT: I know you found her dull, but may I defend her by telling you their marrying was a great scandal in England? SAND: You English have such boring scandals. Great scandals in France are not created by marriages, but by their absence. 31

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ELIOT: We can't be all that staid. Look how the English admire your writing. Mrs. Browning wrote ve:ry poetically of her meeting with you. SAND: People admire lives they are afraid to lead. Why else would Leila be such a success with you English? ELIOT: It is true. Your Leila shocked. I would never be a Leila. And you? SAND: If you won't be my heroine, Miss Mouse, would you be any of your own? Or are they only safe to admire there on the printed page? ELIOT: They are much better persons than I. SAND: You are too modest. ELIOT: Unlike yourself, Mlle. Sand, I never found any reason to be otherwise than modest. No man ever wishes to paint my portrait. No poets attempted to rhyme me into passion. SAND: There is Mr. Lewes. ELIOT: An exceptional man by many estimates, but... have you seen Mr. Lewes? SAND: I have read him. (glancing out the window) He is the gentleman waiting by the carriage? ELIOT: Yes. He thought we should have this time alone. SAND: I am not offended. To answer your question, now I have seen Mr. Lewes. ELIOT: He is not handsome either. I don't make this observation with any judgment implied. I heard you were once a great beauty. SAND: Once? ELIOT: You are still a formidable figure. SAND: (after a moment, with a laugh) Bravo! You don't lie. I am not used to people who tell the truth. ELIOT: I am sor:ry. 32

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SAND: Don't be sorry. Although the tiuth is often less interesting than the lie. I lived in a world of Romantics. What is true to our hearts is Truth, nothing else. To maintain such tiuth one must lie often and hard. ELIOT: That would not be acceptable in English society. SAND: Are you such a truthful nation? ELIOT: We are human. Imperfect creatures. To make the full circle round your question about my identity within those of my characters ... I put forth the notion that in creating fictional personalities we are most apt to expose our own. There are critics who say Maggie Tulliver is myself. SAND: I have not read your novels. Honesty for honesty. This moment seems the proper time to confess. ELIOT: Then why did you consent to meet with me? SAND: I receive this letter ... (she takes itfrom her pocket) ELIOT: (taking a letter from her pocket) I received a letter. .. SAND: Asking ... ELIOT: Demanding ... SAND: This meeting ... ELIOT: In hopes of a collaboration ... SAND: Between the two of us. (they exchange letters) ELIOT: Amazing. You did not write this letter? SAND: If I never read your work, why would I wish to collaborate? ELIOT: I never wrote to you. Except to accept. SAND: And I the same. ELIOT: So we are both of us here at someone else's whim? SAND: Strange, is it not? And yet I am glad to meet another woman called George. There are not many of us. ELIOT: (laughing) Not many of us. 33

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SAND: And yet it is necessary to be George if one wishes to be taken seriously in a world of men. ELIOT: Someone is not taking us seriously. {waves the letters) Someone is laughing. SAND: Well, I am not often taken seriously. Women take me much less seriously than men. ELIOT: Do you suspect a woman in this ruse? SAND: I expect anyone and anything. I expect the earth to split down the centre and swallow us both. I expect the sun to come into this room and dance. Meanwhile, until such expectations, all I expect is some amusement. {a long pause) So, who is Maggie Tulliver? ELIOT: Maggie is the heroine of one of my books. She is a heroine unlike your Leila, who lives by her own rules, who counts herself a society of one. Maggie lives poised between what her heart demands and what her community expects. SAND: She does not soar? ELIOT: It is a brief flight through the clouds. She misses the solidness of earth beneath her. She first falls in love, and then she falls. SAND: So do they all. All our heroines. If they could avoid love, how safe they might be. And how dull. ELIOT: Do you find me dull? SAND: But you have not avoided love. Mr. Lewes .... ELIOT: I have not avoided love, but I have avoided passion. That is where Maggie and myself differ. You, Mlle. Sand, ran to passion. SAND: True. It is the fabric on which I stitch my work. It is my life. Still... {Eliot looks at her in surprise) You are shocked. You think of me as an old lady. Old men have their lusts. I have always laid claim to my masculine half. ELIOT: You take the name of George seriously. SAND: George and Aurore. I have loved as both man and woman. Am I shocking you? 34

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ELIOT: You would not consider this meeting a success if I departed unshocked. SAND:Yes, and perhaps this small confessional will help the Catholic residue still clinging to my soul. What have you heard of me? ELIOT: I know you are a great writer ... SAND: ... and a great scandal? ELIOT: That too. SAND: Did you know, in my adolescent years, I wished to be a nun? ELIOT: The greatest sinner from the most unlikely saint. SAND: I blame you English. I was sent to a school in Paris run by English nuns in order that I might not become a replica of my mother. My mother Sophie. A woman with ample heart to love, and ample bosom to accept what such love could afford her. (as Sand talks, the walls of the room fall away. The room itself dissolves into an open space with sparse furniture remaining. The sound of a young girl's voice singing a simple song rises in the background as the light shifts to evening) SAND: Ah, George! How we look back so indulgently on our own memories working across the stage of our fiction. We've performed the play. We know the lines, we know the outcome. Yet we must run the scenes once again. A captive audience. (a young actress comes out, stands in her nightdress. This image is George Sand, many years ago, when she was Aurore) ELIOT: (to Sand) You were lovely. SAND: And pious in my fashion. (she circles the yowtg Sand curiously) Have you said your prayers, my child? YOUNG SAND: (she moves as a ghost, never looking directly into the eyes of the other characters) Yes, Ma Mere. SAND: And for what did you pray? 35

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YOUNG SAND: I prayed the priest would finish his Mass quickly. Or lose his voice. Before the sermon. How can I believe a priest with wine on his breath and its echo in his farts? SAND: (to Eliot) Father Humbert. He gave the longest sermons ... to the smallest purpose. Mostly about how Jesus changed water into wine. YOUNG SAND: I fell asleep. He did not hear my snores. The Holy Spirit closed His ears. Do you think God means to bore us with such a man? SAND: He means to test us. Our ability to find His voice through the whirlwind and the flood. YOUNG SAND: And other distractions? Through belches? And sighs? I prefer He tested the priest by taking away his voice and his wine. SAND: Do you lack faith, my child? YOUNG SAND: My lack of faith came later, much later. I held onto God even with such a shaky hand. I held on through my convent years. It was in marriage that I ceased to believe. Through Casimir. Casimir de Dudevant. My husband. Bound to me through the enlightened laws of France, until death parts us. Or one of us kills the other. Either solution is possible. (throws shawl about her shoulders) Grandmother, I wish to marry. SAND: (To EUot) Accept this small playacting ... (taking the role presented) Oh, Aurore, this declaration is the first I've heard of it. Who is the lucky gentleman? He is, I trust, a gentleman? YOUNG SAND: Oh, Grandmother, he rides on the wind. His thighs -SAND: I leave his thighs to you. Tell me his prospects. YOUNG SAND: He is a Baron. SAND: That does not necessarily qualify him as a gentleman. But it portends good news. You are descended from good blood. YOUNG SAND: And not so good. You said my mother was a -SAND: Your mother is of no consequence. Your father married her. Belatedly, to be sure. But still a marriage. You are your father's daughter. Descended from Kings. And my grand-daughter. YOUNG SAND: He is Hippolyte's friend. 36

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SAND: Friends of your half-brother are not necessarily preferred. YOUNG SAND: He has claim to some property and income. He loves me. SAND: The worst reason I know to marry. YOUNG SAND: (throwing her arms about Sand) Grandmother ... SAND: (pushing her off affectionately) The worst reason I know to marry. You will have your way. If we can bed you after we wed you it will atone for your rash parents. Their dalliance was a disgrace to the family. YOUNG SAND: But, grandmother ... SAND: Yes? YOUNG SAND: (sweetly) How could my birth be the result of a disgrace? SAND: You are far too literal, Mademoiselle. Have it your own way: marry the blackguard! (the young Sand gives Sand an affectionate kiss and runs offi ELIOT: And so your grandmother let you wed? SAND: At this point, I think Casimir must tell his part of the story. (Casimir, a bullish gentleman of thirty or so, enters and sits down beside Eliot) CASIMIR: I was listening from the antechamber. SAND: You thought you would be summoned? CASIMIR: I am always on your mind. Hate is far more consuming, my pet, than love. SAND: Speak your piece and leave, Casimir! CASIMIR: As usual. you are distorting the past. Your bitch of a grandmother was dead long before we were betrothed. Before we met. SAND: She wouldn't have liked you. What do you mean, contradicting my memories ... you have no sense of manners, Casimir. 37

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CASIMIR: ... nor morals either, to hear the tales you've told the judge during our case for separation. SAND: I don't remember you as being complimentary about my morals. CASIMIR: My darling Aurore, all France knows about your morals. (nudges Eliot) And England too, eh? In translation. of course. You put them down in every piece of trash you write. The morals of a whore without a heart. A cold plate on a chilly evening. A man needs to go elsewhere for warming when the fire has been left as ashes. SAND: You might have strayed a bit further than our chambermaids in your quest for central heating. It made coming around comers in fue upstairs hallway somewhat awkward. (to Eliot) I summoned him to tell his side in the interests of fair play. You see how he abuses me? CASIMIR: The chambermaids. my dearest darling, were only changing the linens on the beds you occupied with your lovers. That damned Chopin, with his fastidious need for clean sheets. SAND: Frederick had breeding and sensitivity. CASIMIR: He also had consumption. Little circles of blood on everything he used. I tell you, Mademoiselle, it was disgusting. The man could not even suppress a cough as long as it took him to perform the Minute Waltz. Every year he came from Paris to visit. Stayed. Played on more -far more --than the piano. Went away. Finally. The man did not do manly things. He did not hunt. He drank sparingly, with polite little sips. When walks were taken, he rode behind on a little pony. SAND: Now whose memories are twisted? You were never residing at Nohant when Frederick was there. CASIMIR: Your half-brother Hippolyte was there. He told me everything. SAND: Hippolyte was too drunk for such finely drawn details. CASIMIR: Solange, our own daughter -SAND: ... was too jealous. ELIOT: Your daughter was jealous? SAND: She was at that impressionable age. Frederick was so kind to her. She started with a small crush that mushroomed over time. 38

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CASIMIR: Chopin was not the only lover to be housed at Nahant. There was a rather long guest list before he arrived. He was just the most messy. SAND: You never objected. Not then. CASIMIR: At first, she swore to me they were all platonic. Brothers of her spirit. I would come into a room to find her clasped in a pair of strong arms. She would swear innocence. Their spirits, she would say, were coupling. Not their bodies. The fervent embrace of such spirits left bruises all over her. SAND: You had no spirit to couple. What do you know about the joining of souls? CASIMIR: The sheets were soiled the next day. SAND: (to Eliot) You see his testimony? You see how he robbed me of my faith? (to Casimir) The reason I slipped from spirit to flesh was your doing. I would have been content to spend my life contemplating love from the clouds. You showed me there was no need to remain so lofty. While I was abstaining, you laughed at my efforts to keep my chastity. That letter--CASIMIR: --that letter. My darling wife, it was your own morbid penchant to intrude on the thoughts of others that made you open that letter. SAND: It was addressed to me. In your hand. CASIMIR: With instructions to be opened after my death. SAND: I waited. You would not oblige me. Finally I opened the letter. (she moves away _from him A Chopin Etude begins to play softly) CASIMIR: If you want to learn the Truth, you must spare the messenger who brings it to you. SAND: I did spare you, Casimir. But I could not forget what I read. CASIMIR: You read how I hated you, despised you. Lost you before I found you in that landscape of winter you created within you. (the Young Sand enters, letter in hand. She reads, wiping tears _from her cheeks) SAND: You see her. Casimir? You see that child you destroyed so completely So purposefully? 39

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CASIMIR: I wrote only what was true for me. I wrote that I had come to loathe you. YOUNG SAND: (suddenly turning on him} And yet every night in bed there were the gropings, the whisperings ... Aurore, my little wife, I cannot live without you ... come and warm me .. CASIMIR: (to the Young Sand) And did you warm me? Ever? YOUNG SAND: Did you ever stop to think I might need warming as well? (he makes no reply) I tried, Casimir. We women are taught nothing of love, and everything of worship. We worship gods. Men in the sky. Man in our home. We are not warned these same divinities we kneel to will tear us open on our wedding nights, gutting us as cooks cut birds before the eating. The feast is yours. The fast is mine. I should have written you such a letter! CASIMIR: You did, more or less, every night. YOUNG SAND: It was cowardly of you. But then your only real bravery was to strike me in public. CASIMIR: You did not suffer long. Jules Sandeau whisked you away from my awful clutches. YOUNG SAND: That was after I started writing ... SAND: I started writing! YOUNG SAND: (to her) No! The beginning was mine ... you can claim the ending. SAND: But I remember so vividly the need to escape into other romances ... YOUNG SAND: Other lives. To flee where Casimir had no legs to pursue me. SAND: Yes. It was after I started writing that Jules Sandeau took me to Paris and changed my life through words, and more. YOUNG SAND: I wrote to confirm my existence. To myself. I had no love to validate my existence. No God. God was male. I became my own God. SAND: I became George. YOUNG SAND: You take over the story from here. (she leaves. SW1d turns to Eliot) 40

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SAND: Yes, I became my own God. ELIOT: You became your own Goddess. SAND: God or Goddess. Genius has no sex. Madame de Stael is correct. In our books, yours and mine, we are both the heroes and the heroines. Jules Sandeau believed in my writing. That meant he believed in me. CASIMIR: And so I, more or less,.lost you to a dictionary? SAND: (warningly) Casimir! (she stops and laughs) I summoned you. I can dismiss you. (he stands withjolded arms) But wait! I have an idea. (from her pocket she takes a small bell and rings it A chambermaid enters. Casimir at once eyes the chambermaid. following her ojf) There, he's served his purpose. Proved my point about him. It never fails to rid me of him. I could always get my privacy back by hiring a pretty face. ELIOT: You say you wrote to confirm yourself'? Did not your children confirm you? SAND: Are you a mother? ELIOT: No. SAND: Children belong only half to the mother. I could see with delight myself in the faces of my son and daughter. I could also see with despair Casimir staring back at me through their eyes. Negation. They were his rejection as much as my acceptance. (she sits down beside Eliot) Listen, George. I could be complete if I were a true hermaphrodite, providing seed. egg, wombs, name, and all for my children. Until then ... ELIOT: (shocked) I heard you loved your children. SAND: I did love them. I just did not believe in them. I did not believe in them for me. I went to Paris with Jules. Casimir did not care. He realized for him chambermaids functioned more efficiently in all capacities. Paris was waiting for me. 31 Rue de Seine. Ten days carriage ride away from Casimir. It was distance enough. Once in Paris, like you, I joined the staff of a journal... I embraced Jules ... I could write ... I could live ... ELIOT: And did you, as I, embrace write, and live? SAND: For a time. Jules proved a disappointment. He was more bourgeois in other rooms than in the bedroom. 41

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(a dandified yoWlg man, Alfred de Musset, enters with the Young Sand on his a.nn. He is laughing) DE MUSSET: (to Sand) George, George! How you abuse us, once you use us! ELIOT: Is this Sandeau? SAND: This is Alfred. Next to Casimir, he is always there, eating up my heart with his sharp little teeth. DE MUSSET: (taking Eliot's hand and waltzing her slowly to Chopin's TTI11Sic) I am Alfred de Musset. I come later on in this epic. We have to do some skipping and jumping through this ponderous work, or you will never get to me. I am important. The most important. (with a glance to Sand) And my teeth are quite regular, thank you. SAND: You flatter yourself. Alfred. (the waltz ends. De Musset returns Eliot to the soja with a bow) DE MUSSET: It's quite true I am important. You have recycled our love affair through dozens of novels. SAND: And you did not do the same in your writing? DE MUSSET: I have more talent for disguise. YOUNG SAND: (accusingly to de Musset) You told everyone in Paris the details of our little romance, including other mistresses. DE MUSSET: Only after you had written it up in your books. ELIOT: (to Sand) Are there any of your old lovers with whom you are on good terms? SAND: Alfred and I got along fine. Especially after he died. This argument is professional, not personal. He is angry because I can squeeze so much more fiction out of fact than he can. Probably because I write more. DE MUSSET: There it is. You write more. My dear George, you were far and away more mature than 1... YOUNG SAND: I am six years older, Alfred. Six innocent years. I had not the advantage of your education with boulevard women. DE MUSSET: We met in Paris. We fell in love. We agreed on flight. To Venice. It was most romantic. 42

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YOUNG SAND: It was damp. You were ill there. DE MUSSET: So you ran off with my doctor! I assure you (to Eliot} she did. He took my pulse with one hand while holding her breast with the other. A boulevard girl would have been more discreet. YOUNG SAND: A boulevard girl would have been paid to be discreet. SAND: Remember, Alfred, who was taking care of your bills? DE MUSSET: (with a shrug} You were too generous. I am dead now. Sue my estate. SAND: I will soon die myself. History will make fun of us both. Love is wonderful, but it reads like those dreadful novels women hide under their pillows for lonely afternoons ... DE MUSSET: Some of your books, no doubt. YOUNG SAND: Cheap passion is easy to turn out. In life as well. DE MUSSET: (to the Young Sand} Marie said you never really stopped loving me. YOUNG SAND: Marie told me the same about you. ELIOT: Who's Marie? SAND: Marie Dorval, the singer. I loved her. DE MUSSET: I loved her. YOUNG SAND: More than your opium? I gave Marie clarity. DE MUSSET: (to Young Sand} She provided you with a plot for a novel. SAND: Consuelo was fiction! DE MUSSET: Based on the story of a plain singer who miraculously transforms herself into a woman who is beautiful, virtuous, famous. YOUNG SAND: The virtuous part is the fiction. ELIOT: And Consuelo is Marie? 43

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SAND: As much as you are Maggie. As much as I am Leila. I loved her. I gave her the gift of becoming the etemal heroine. DE MUSSET: (to Eliot) You see, Mademoiselle, she and Marie ... ELIOT: You and Marie? YOUNG SAND: I never denied the masculine curled to suckle within this womanly bosom. ELIOT: No wonder you find our English scandals so dull. DE MUSSET: (to the Young Sand) A question I could never get Marie to answer: is it better to make love as a woman or a man? YOUNG SAND: (patting his cheek) You always ask the wrong questions. DE MUSSET: Wrong questions or right questions. Women still never answer me. SAND: Mlle. Eliot can provide the answer to the right question, Alfred. Is it better, fellow George, to have love made to you as a woman or a man? ELIOT: I know nothing about making love to women. SAND: But you know your Greeks. YOUNG SAND: Alfred, it seems, does not. DE MUSSET: Greeks? Were there some Greeks involved? ELIOT: Tieresias. Tieresias was half-man and half-woman. DE MUSSET: A Tieresias? Not a George? ELIOT: We can't all be called George. It would be too confusing. You'd have to number us. DE MUSSET: (looking at the three manifestations of George before him) I see your point. ELIOT: Tieresias was asked whether it was better to have love made to him/her as a woman or as a man. He was so questioned by the gods, who did not have such answers. Tieresias found it more satisfying to be made love to--and consequently, to love--as a woman. YOUNG SAND: Tieresias knows different men than I do. 44

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DE MUSSET: Tieresias does not answer my question. SAND: Go away, Alfred. To heaven or hell. We are not here to discuss your sex life. DE MUSSET: Isn't Miss Eliot tired of yours yet? ELIOT: I am never tired of new information. SAND: Marie Dorval was lover, friend, sister, daughter to me. YOUNG SAND: And finally our rival. DE MUSSET: Marie shared us. YOUNG SAND: We shared her. DE MUSSET: She shared you with me. I still could hold you in my arms through her. And thus, extend our metaphor ... YOUNG SAND: (with a laugh) What nonsense, Alfred. To think you are considered one of France's greatest poets. DE MUSSET: With Marie I wrote the ending to our story. You refused to come up with an ending over the years ... just more chapters ... SAND: I saw no end to our story. There was a time when I thought I would love you forever. DE MUSSET: What time was that? YOUNG SAND: Between May and August. the first year we were together. DE MUSSET: Eternity compressed. SAND: And Marie ... (a flourish of trumpets. Marie Dorval appears, magnificently dressed for the theatre) MARIE: What eternity? You both proved less than eternal. You were not even consistent. (takes Eliot's hand) I am Marie Dorval, the woman they are maligning to suit their own ends. Please forgive my attire, I am just about to sing. 45

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SAND, YOUNG SAND, & DE MUSSET: (together, holding out their arms) Marie! MARIE: This is a test. You see, whichever arms I run to, the others will think the less of me. I prefer to stay here with you, Mademoiselle ... ah ... SAND: Her name is George. MARIE: (dryly) How original. ELIOT: I am Mary Ann Evans to my friends. Sometimes Mrs. Lewes. Only on the printed page am I George. MARIE: Good advice for other writers I know. Alas, Mlle. Sand will be excessive. SAND: You call yourself simplistic, Marie, wearing that costume? YOUNG SAND: And you always complain about my wearing men's suits! DE MUSSET: (putting out his arms again. insistently) Marie! MARIE: (looking .from Sand to Younger Sand to de Musset, after a moment turns to Eliot) I choose your arms. (she embraces Eliot) There now. Introductions aside, why did you call me here? DE MUSSET: I did not call you here. I find the presence of such potent women disruptive. SAND & YOUNG SAND: I called you. ELIOT: It is time, Madame Dorval, to state your own case. MARIE: I make no case. Is this a courtroom or a sitting-room? If I loved them ... if they loved me ... and if we used each other to further our art ... well, one must look after one's self in this world. ELIOT: Not very kind to your amours, Mme. Dorval. MARIE: You are George? George Eliot? Now that I think of it, I have read one or two of your novels. Your people are far too good for me. Especially Dinah Morris in Adam Bede. ELIOT: I try to put the halves back together. In the same novel I also have Hetty Sorrel. Hetty gives in to temptations Dinah would never contemplate. 46

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MARIE: And murders her own child. I assure you, bad as I am --bad as all George Sand's creations are --we do not murder our children. DE MUSSET: You desert them for current love affairs. MARIE: Be careful, Alfred, when you start speaking of motherhood. YOUNG SAND: I did not desert them. I left them briefly. I was trying ... (to Eliot) how did you phrase it ... to put the halves back together? ELIOT: But my Hetty did not have your choices. She had no sexvants to watch over her children. She was little more than a sexvant herself. It is easy to make choices when there are some given to you. MARIE: I see Dinah Morris speaks through you. One can condenm the way of life while refusing to cast stones at the sinner. ELIOT: Dinah does not speak for me. She was a minister. I myself refused to go to church since my early teenage years. My father thought it a most rebellious act. (to the Young Sand) While you were singing in the cloister halls, I was discarding my hynmbook. DE MUSSET: I see this plain English sparrow has the soul of a peacock. SAND: Take care, Alfred. Her lover is waiting for her by the carriage, and you are already deceased. DE MUSSET: It's always something. MARIE: This young woman is an English writer of some repute! DE MUSSET: A writer! I met enough of female writers while alive. MARIE: Why are you here, Mademoiselle? I am curious. SAND: It is most curious. We both received letters. ELIOT: We thought from the other. SAND: About work on a collaboration. ELIOT: Letters neither of us sent. SAND: And so we meet. ELIOT: And do not solve the mystery. 47

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MARIE: And the collaboration? SAND: At the moment we are collaborating on the afternoon. The mystery remains. (Casimir re-enters, acfjusting his vest) SAND: So soon, Casimir? YOUNG SAND: You remember Alfred. CASIMIR: I can't remember all of them. (grudgingly) I do remember Alfred. He took you off to Italy. SAND: He wasn't as domestic as Frederick Chopin. I could scarcely have kept him amused in that dreary chateau in Berry. CASIMIR: I don't see what was dreary about Nohant. Good hunting in the area. Ripe, plump women. Not given to fat. you understand, like Aurore as she grew older. (to Sand) I quite missed it when you pushed me out. I did enjoy our theatrical evenings. Pretense was always better in Nohant. YOUNG SAND: (to Eliot) When talk failed, we had a small stage, some costumes, and a dozen fantasies to perform. Casimir was good for character roles. SAND: Later, when I took to writing plays professionally, our stage became our world in which to refine the lines later heard in Paris. MARIE: My singing was the only worthwhile singing. SAND: And Liszt came, too. He played the piano with such melancholy. Chopin was jealous. CASIMIR: I always wondered why it was you never gave Liszt a tumble. YOUNG SAND: Franz Liszt was my friend. MARIE: Not to mention the fact that he had eyes for no one but the fascinating Marie d'Argioult. YOUNG SAND: That stupid woman. She ended up writing under the name of Daniel Stern when Liszt left her. A Daniel who prophesies, not a George who lives! SAND: (softly) Bravo. 48

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CASIMIR: (raising his wineglass} To France. YOUNG SAND: Casimir's favortte toast. He has a limited imagination. SAND: No, Casimir, we will not join you in such a toast. Not when the Republic is but a past dream. DE MUSSET: (to Eliot) George gave up hoping for her Socialist Utopia with the corruption of the Second Republic. I ask you, what would such a selfcentred woman such as Mlle. Sand have done in a socialist world? When she went into a decline over politics, we called it her Pastoral Pertod ... She wrote foolish novels about love among the sheep. (raises his wineglass} To love! ELIOT: Love does happen among the sheep, Monsieur. Among the sheep, in the factories, in the shadow of the city. CASIMIR: If we're here to discuss ideas I just won't drtnk at all. Or I'll drtnk too much. MARIE: I only came here to clear my name, which was being bandied about like some shared whore. I don't want to discuss ideas. I was on my way to an aria. DE MUSSET: I was on my way to the salon of Hell, where talk is endless. Where desire can rise with no fulfillment possible. CASIMIR: Hell, indeed! I want to go hunting. The mists have cleared over the fields. The deer move quickly among the trees. SAND: Then goodbye, all. (they vanish, except for Sand. Eliot and the Young Sand} SAND: (to YoWlg Sand} Not you? YOUNG SAND: (sitting on sofa) I have the light to remain. SAND: Then be quiet and learn. Those others are a fme lot. I suppose you think I am surrounded by idiots? ELIOT: I enjoyed them. SAND: And now it's your turn. ELIOT: My 'turn'? I had not expected we were taking turns. I hoped from your frtends and lovers to discover the reason for your genius. 49

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SAND: Madame de Stael might add Genius has no taste as well as no sex. ELIOT: One should not step too near the icon. Myopia is helpful. Too near one sees the cracked paint, the small fissures. YOUNG SAND: And, perhaps, the past? SAND: You will produce no such icons for me? ELIOT: Not one ... except... I wonder if he would come. If he would come as willingly as yours. SAND: Mr. Lewes? ELIOT: Not Mr. Lewes. Mr. Lewes is flesh and blood. YOUNG SAND: Mr. Lewes is getting bored waiting at the carriage. ELIOT: I'll return to him soon enough. SAND: Is this icon your lover? ELIOT: (with a laugh) Not a lover. SAND: Who, then? ELIOT: He's dead. Not like Alfred. He was dead before I lived. Once he was alive. He lives within me still. He is part of my loss of faith. Its finest emblem. That is what we are sharing today? Notes aside? I never met him, but I wrote of him. You must know of him, having been to Italy. SAND: A Pope? YOUNG SAND: A clown? ELIOT: He could have been Pope. He died a clown. Savonarola. I wrote him into my book Romola. I always had the uneasy feeling he would not like being part of such a frivolity as a fiction. (the sound of a woman's voice singing a Gluck aria in the distance) YOUNG SAND: (listens a moment) Marie ... SAND: Consuelo ... ELIOT: He will not approve. 50

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SAND: Of that? He, a man of God, doesn't enjoy the voice of an angel? ELIOT: For Savonarola the angels do not sing. They are conspicuous by the silence of their worship. (Marie's voice dies away as the figure of a 15th century monk appears) SAND: I gave you entertainment. ELIOT: That was your life. Mine is austerity. It is necessary. You asked me for icons. This monk is my icon. YOUNG SAND: You lost faith! SAND: You said so! ELIOT: This holy brother recanted. He died a heretic. SAVONOROLA: Under torture I recanted. I lost my believers. ELIOT: You burned away too much of them. The flame was stinging. SAVONOROLA: You needn't tell me about the flame. I burned them down to their spirit. Those fine charred bits that took the flame were unimportant. SAND: I do not understand. In Italy I did not experience trials. I experienced love. YOUNG SAND: And, perhaps, a slight touch of dysentery. My memories tend to the prosaic. ELIOT: It is precisely the prosaic of which Savonarola speaks. For him the works of Botticelli were prosaic. The spirit of Botticelli was not. SAVONOROLA: He offered me his painting on a bonfire set to burn away the trivialities of men. SAND: Not all his paintings. He was smart enough to show gesture only. YOUNG SAND: And is God not trivial? Does God not exist in the small moments as well as the great ones? SAVONOROLA; God expects Man to fail Him. Since Eden. SAND: (to Eliot) Tilis is your icon? A shrivelled monk with no joy in his heart for the springtime stroke of the artist? 51

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SAVONOROLA: I ask no one to do more than I have done myself in the way of denial. The world is cruel. SAND: Your icons are not lovable. ELIOT: In my book Romola did not love him. She accepted his asceticism because it was an extension of her own. (corrects herseUJ An extension of my own. My house with an ill mother who sent me away. My brother who never forgave me for falling in love with a married man. My father who died without thanking me for watching over him. They all took it for granted I would -I could --accept the role Fate laid out for me. A faded carpet. Like Romola, I ran away from this threadbare fate. I did not encounter a Savonarola as she did to return me to my duty. And so I ran. Into happiness, as it turned out. I ran into Mr. Lewes ... (looks at the two Sands) George Lewes. I ran into my career. I ran into my time here with you. (a young Eliot comes out. Her hair is unbound. wild about her shoulders) YOUNG ELIOT: (in a whisper) When I wrote of Savonorola --my Savonorola -I was putting down on paper that scene with my father the day I refused to attend Church with him. That deep slice of conscience that opened into a valley, never to be breached. ELIOT: (to Savonarola) Now, father. SAVONOROLA: (to the young Eliot) Child, it is time to go to Church. YOUNG ELIOT: Father, I am not going to Church with you this morning. SAVONOROLA: You are unwell? YOUNG ELIOT: I am quite well, father. I am hoping to enjoy a long walk in order to see the Sunday that happens while we have all been shut away with choirs and sermons. SAVONOROLA: (suddenly turning into a more dramaticfzgure) I have command from God to stop you. You are not permitted to flee. XOUNG ELIOT: (angrily) What right have you to speak to me or hinder me? SAND: (to Eliot) Is this playacting? ELIOT: It is the sham that makes the honesty of the scene. Both scenes. Mine with my father. Romola's with Savonorola when she sought to flee Florence. To flee her unhappy life there. 52

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SAVONOROLA: (to the young Eliot) You were not suffered to pass me without being discerned. It was declared to me who you were: it was declared to me that you are seeking to escape the lot God has laid upon you. 13 YOUNG ELIOT: Heal thyself! You recanted. Under such a simple persuasion as torture. SAVONOROLA: My body was a weak vessel. They whipped me. I did not break. They cracked all my bones before I granted them those words of surrender. YOUNG ELIOT: You broke in a few days under less pain than most endure over a lifetime. SAND: I don't understand. Who is speaking now? YOUNG SAND: Is it you with your father? Is it Romola with Savonarola? ELIOT: In the mind of the author ... YOUNG ELIOT: In my mind ... THE 1WO ELI01S: The voices join together. (they look at each other in surprise) ELIOT: I can't remember whose argument it is. Savonarola did recant under the hands of torturers. He and two of his followers were hung in the town square. Then, to further reassure artists of their springtime strokes, the bodies were burned as well. YOUNG ELIOT: He stood for something that could not be taken back with mere words. The affirmation hovered there after his pitiful cries of weakness. ELIOT: Whose cries? YOUNG ELIOT: Yours, mine. his. Everyone recants in something in this life. The ideal is to recant beautifully, publicly, so that what you deny stands there after you have walked away from it. SAVONOROLA: Words are somethirig we say. As dogs bark. As doves coo. They are natural sounds. Words have no connection with the heart. YOUNG ELIOT: I wrote you down. (to Sand and Young Sand) I captured him for the world. I tried to paint him with the strokes of winter. You need not bless me, but you must not curse me. 53

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ELIOT: (flinging her aside violently} /wrote him down. You were too young to know what you were enacting. YOUNG ELIOT: (flings Eliot away in return, just as violently} I never set foot in my father's church again. SAND: (rising and grasping the Young Eliot to calm her} As for me, I sometimes go to Church. It's comforting. The morality of the priests never changes. They always condemn me. I find such consistency cheering. YOUNG SAND: (touching Eliot's arm) One knows so much later on. One only learns it through us. No one is born old. ELIOT: Everyone's family and friends end up somewhere in the words we select for posterity. I tried to write my mother over and over again. I never got her right. Many people thought Adam Bede was a study of my father: the simple, faithful artisan. YOUNG ELIOT: Perhaps that is how the community saw my father. I saw him in this priest. SAVONOROLA: I have caused you pain. ELIOT: And pleasure. YOUNG ELIOT: You caused me to understand. SAND: No other icons, George? I am growing bored with this priest. Piety is monotonous. ELIOT: There is one more icon I should like this good priest to greet before he leaves us. SAVONOROIA: You cannot detain me. YOUNG ELIOT: I would not detain you. Save to ask you this favor. SAVONOROLA: You ask a favor! You both (points to the two Eliots} maligned me. You caused me to recant again on the pages of your book --again and again -every time someone reads the cursed novel. ELIOT: Again and again. YOUNG ELIOT: Burned. Hanged. SAVONOROLA: (a cry from his soul} Damned. 54

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SAND: Get on with your icons! ELIOT: There is a man called Charles Darwin. YOUNG SAND: Darwin? YOUNG ELIOT: Darwin? SAND: That man! ELIOT: You disapprove of him? SAND: I fear him. His ideas change the cosmology of my world. SAVONOROI.A: I will not stay to meet him. ELIOT: It would be a loss. I would like to see the heretic of the old age and the heretic of the new age together just once. SAND: Isn't that what this afternoon has been? SAVONOROLA: Then let the heavens collide. Let time clap its two hands together. Resounding. Bring on the other heretic. (loud fanfare. Darwin enters, very British and correct) SAND: First a priest. and now a pompous ass! YOUNG SAND: His face is kind. ELIOT: (greeting) Mr. Darwin, I have not yet had the honor. Many of my friends speak highly of you. Mr. Spencer in particular. DARWIN: Miss Eliot, I am honored. (looks aroWld) I do not recognize your other guests. Is this a costume party? I was unaware. SAVONOROI.A: Mr. Darwin, even where I reside, your name sounds its pale echo, still a disturbing noise. SAND: (coming forward) I am George Sand. YOUNG SAND: And I as well. DARWIN: (somewhat confused. looking from one to the other) My wife has read your books ... (to the young Sand) and yours. 55

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BOlli SANDS: Really? ELIOT: This priest is Savonarola. SAVONOROLA: Fra Giralmo, to use a simpler form. (the two shake hands) I was just on my way to the door. YOUNG ELIOT: A moment more. SAVONOROLA: A moment. A moment. Writers always seek to keep you there for one more quote. ELIOT: I'm not quoting you. YOUNG ELIOT: I'm enjoying you. SAND: Some refreshment, Mr. Darwin? DARWIN: I would prefer tea. SAND: The British addiction. DARWIN: Please indulge me. Wine makes me foolish. SAND: I shall have to see if the maid is about. YOUNG SAND: (as the older Sand rings her bell) No one has seen Casimir for some time. I trust he's not exhausting her for other duties. (Maid appears) SAND: Tea for ... (counts) six. (Maid exits) SAVONOROLA: Our Lord drank vinegar. DARWIN: Only at the end. He asked for water, I believe. He was fond of wine. But wine, under the circumstances, would not have been appropriate. I don't claim the thirsts of Jesus. Or perhaps you feel we should claim His thirsts as well as his trials? SAVONOROLA: If it would bring me closer to God, I would seek vinegar over wine. 56

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ELIOT: He's being dramatic for your benefit, Mr. Darwin. He heard you were a heretic as well. DARWIN: Most assuredly. I have been called the Devil incarnate. People either bless me for a new vision or castigate me because my eyes behold a different world than theirs. SAND: You would think they would be more upset by ... new ... machines than new theories. DARWIN: Machines are looked upon merely as a necessary nuisance in this world. I, on the other hand, have disturbed their hymns. SAND: I have not read you, Mr. Darwin, but I hear the rumblings across the Channel. SAVONOROLA: You have said Man is somewhat less than the angels. DARWIN: You have said so much yourself, dear sir. And so has the Bible. I say Man is entirely different than the angels. Both Man and the angels are subject to the refinement of God's hand. A corrective hand. I record what I observe. Had you my experiences you would see the Universe with new eyes. They said His eye was on the sparrow. Well, then, he missed the finch. (they look at him in astonishment) SAND: This icon I like more than the other. Even if he wears those tight English clothes and asks for tea over wine. ELIOT: You disturb us, Mr. Darwin, because we long for the calm English past, now that we must put up with a clatter of machines and science. The mooing of cows sounds to us, nostalgic race that we are, like the most beautiful symphony. DARWIN: I long for my past as well. My wife longs for it. And so I long on her behalf as well as my own. I am that singular husband who is deeply in love With his wife. She does not oppose me, but she does not believe in my theories. SAND: I was not the recipient of my husband's beliefs. DARWIN: Each night she bums me with her gaze of reproach for having doubted the cosmology of herself, her church, and all her ancestors. Those searing looks when she thinks I am unaware scorch me somewhat more deeply than the fires of the Inquisition. Unlike such fires, it Will never be over. I am assured by many clergymen that, upon my death, the real flames will rise about me. I ask you, is someone to bum eternally because God 57

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allows him to peek at the blueprints for the Universe --one good fellow to another? Is it that God is so unjust? Or man? SAVONOROLA: God is above justice. Who can know God except through surrender? DARWIN: And not through questioning? My dear fellow, you are somewhat medieval. SAVONOROLA: (his only smile) I was a man behind my time. DARWIN: And I am a man before mine. SAND: We are all out of step. ELIOT: Only we bide safely behind you ... and our name. SAND: George. YOUNG SAND: George. ELIOT: George. YOUNG ELIOT: George. DARWIN: I never liked that name. (Maid appears, puts down tray, leQlJes) SAND: Tea? SAVONOROLA: No, I am leaving. If I would not let the Florentines corrupt me, I certainly won't allow the English. (touches Eliot's hand) Distort me, if you wish. (bows to Darwin) I await your companionship in the next world. There are too few heretics. It is a lonely death. (to Sand) You are old. Look to your prayers. (to the young Sand and Eliot) There is time for change, but... (with a glance toward their older selves) I fear you will not heed me. DARWIN: He did not tell me injust what sphere of the next world he resides, in which I can enjoy his companionship. SAND: Be still. (pouring tea) There has been too much chatter to absorb. (to Eliot) You were right to make him recant in your book. Now please. My time is almost up. The sun will soon be setting. DARWIN: Are you some sort of spirit that vanishes from the sunlight? 58

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SAND: I find such a question amusing, Mr. Darwin, when you are sipping tea in a room filled with spirits --or worse. ELIOT: But you have not yet met Mr. Lewes ... SAND: I must go to work. My writing time is from dusk until dawn. ELIOT: I will signal him. DARWIN: I must hurry home. My wife will be wondering what new blasphemy I am uncovering. (he vanishes) ELIOT: (signaling through the window) He's coming. SAND: You are more complicated than I, George. I am attracted only by the day that follows this day. (Mr. Lewes appears at the door, hat in hand. The room has fallen back into place, but the two spirits of the younger Sand and Eliot sit together on the sofa, sipping their tea) SAND: (going to Mr. Lewes and taking his hand) George. LEWES: George. I have admired your work so long. SAND: I thank you for your kind reviews. Forgive me. Ghosts and shadows have worn me out. I am not a young woman. LEWES: You have a young heart. SAND: I have old bowels. (the young Sand and the Young Eliot giggle) Never mind. You have seen what you can become. ELIOT: It has been an afternoon, Mr. Lewes. The letter I received was not sent by Mlle. Sand. SAND: Nor the one I received was sent by Mlle. Eliot. LEWES: Of course not. I sent them both. SAND & ELIOT: You? LEWES: It is unfair that you should not know your other half. (he turns to the young Sand and Eliot) Nor you to know your other half. ELIOT: Forgive me, dearest, but the other half of what? 59

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LEWES: Of what you are. (bows to Sand) I am most pleased to finally meet you, Mlle. Sand. (to Eliot) I will wait in the carriage for you. (the two women look at each other in amazement as he exits) SAND: A most extraordinary man. ELIOT: How could he not be with a name such as George? YOUNG SAND: To work ... YOUNG ELIOT: To work ... ELIOT: Thank you for tea. SAND: You are most welcome. (al.lfour selves tum to stare at each other) SAND: No one must know! ELIOT: No one would believe us. YOUNG SAND: Women named George would understand. YOUNG ELIOT: Where are they? SAND: Someday. ELIOT: Until then. SAND: My dear Miss Eliot! ELIOT: My dear Mlle. Sand! (at this point. the four women move as in a circle, all elements equal) YOUNG SAND: Miss Evans! YOUNG ELIOT: Mlle. Dupin! SAND: My dear Mrs. Lewes! ELIOT: Baroness de Dudevant! YOUNG SAND: Mary Ann! 60

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YOUNG ELIOT: Aurore! SAND: We must meet again ... ELIOT: Soon ... YOUNG SAND: Yes. YOUNG ELIOT: Without a doubt. SAND: George! ELIOT: George! (they standjrozenjor a moment) ALL: George. lights out THE END 61

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EPILOGUE She is reason good enough, or seem to be, Why all were born whose being ministers To her completeness. Is it her voice Subdues us? Or her instinct exquisite, Informing each old strain with some new grace Which takes our sense like any natural good? Or most her spiritual energy That sweeps us in the current of her song? George Eliot Armgart

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ENDNOTES 1. Virginia Woolf, Orlando. (London: Harcourt & Brace, Inc. 1928). The legend Woolf uses about how to change sexes is an old one, but I first read it in her beautifully worked novel. 2. Helen Kirch Chinoy and Linda Walsh Jenkins, Women in American Theatre. ed. Linda Walsh. (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1981). 174. 3. George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan (1823). 4. George Sand, Joumal to Musset (n.d.). 5. George Sand, Sketches and Hints (September 1868). 6. Ibid. 7. George Eliot. Mill on the Floss (1860). 8. The word "radical" as it is used here defines a sense of political betterment through the throwing off of what is bad in conservatism. thus creating a more democratic atmosphere. 9. Bemard Paris, "George Eliot's Religion of Humanity," Experiments in Life: George Eliot's Quest for Values (Detroit: Wayne State Press. 1965). 10. Thomas Pinney. ed. "The Authority of the Past in George Eliot's Novels". Essays of George Eliot (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1963). 4. 11. Henzy James. "Daniel Deronda: A Conversation," The Atlantic Monthly 38 (December 1876): 684-94. 12. George Eliot. Romola (1863). 13. Ibid.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY !..:. Works about English traditions: McCarthy, Wm., and Rogers, Katherine M., eds. The Meridian Anthology of Early Women Writers (British Women from Aphra Behn to Marie Edgeworth 1660-1800. NewYork: Meridian 1987. This book demonstrated the solitary voices that linked together to form a British tradition. I was sad to note they left out Mary Wollstonecraft in this anthology. Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1984. While this book concentrates on Austen, Wollstonecraft, and Shelley, it also talks about how ideology functions in the female writer during the time frame covered. It is interesting in showing woman's need to educate even while spinning a good story to the reading public of that period. 2. Works about George Eliot: Creeger, George R., ed. George Eliot. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970. This collection of critical essays helped me to put Eliot's work into perspective in a literary sense, since English is not my major field of interest. My understanding of how life and work intertwined was expanded through reading this collection. Haight, Gordon S., ed. A Century of George Eliot Criticism. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965. This book reaches from Eliot's time into this century to show how critics have changed in their estimate of her work. Virginia Woolfs lovely comment about Middlemarch being "a novel for grown-ups" is included here. Mintz, Alan. George Eliot and the Novel of Vocation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978. No real information added here, but another attempt to show how Eliot applied her life to her work. 64

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Redinger, Ruby V., George Eliot: The Emergent Self. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975. The lack of real chronology in this book makes reading confusing. There was a strange attempt to blur lines between fictional and real moments as they related to Eliot. Not entirely successful as a study. Simon, Dentith. George Eliot. Sussex: Harvester Press, 1986. A more literary look rather than a personal view of Eliot, this book contained some information about how the work has been viewed over time and changing circumstance. 3. Works Qy George Eliot: Poems (1839-1879) Her poetry is unexceptional. She has a good feel for rhyme and even some story (as exhibited in her narrative pieces) but her ability to characterize comes alive in her prose. Scenes of Clerical Life (1857) These first attempts at fiction are varied in their power. Her grasp of the heartbreaking gulf that often exists between people comes across intermittently, showing future promise. Her dealings with alcohol and abuse of women in "Janet's Repentance" are very moving. Adam Bede (1859) Adam Bede as a hero is little more than a stereotype, but the characters of the village around him are alive and subtle. The story of poor Hetty Sorrel, who ends up pregnant, alone, and driven to child-killing, shows the plight of any woman at that time who stepped outside the bounds of society. She is contrasted with Dinah Morris, the female minister, who upon marrying Adam Bede gives up her preaching and settles into wifedom. Mill on the Floss (1860) Considered by some to be Eliot's most autobiographical work, she still couldnot resist making the heroine beautiful. Maggie is written with great passion: she both loves and hates in extremes. The holding of such varied emotions in a society where moderation is the norm must lead to 65

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tragedy. The scenes of childhood are especially delightful to all children who have felt like outsiders. Silas Marner (1861) The story of the miser who grasps at love with more tenacity than at gold is Eliot's plea for redemption of all who have given up at one time. The sorrows of the community are woven into the fabric of bittersweet happiness in the story of Effie and Silas. Romola (1863) A good deal more problematical than her previous writings: Eliot, again opting for the beautiful heroine, addresses questions of religious faith (personal versus societal) in addition to trust and duty. These grand themes are played out in Florence, Italy during the Renaissance, where she creates a Savonarola who is both compelling and too demanding. The forgiveness Romola finds for both Savonarola and for her faithless husband exhort the readers to do the same for their own life circumstances. Felix Holt (1866) Set somewhat earlier, this story takes place in rural England during a political campaign. Felix Holt, "radical", is a man of ideals while the heroine, Esther, is a woman with great feeling. Eliot suggests their marriage combines the best of both. Her condemnation of ideology alone as a standard for living is gentle, yet unmistakable. Middlemarch (1871) The most beautifully detailed of Eliot's books. One has the smell, touch, taste of the entire cast she presents. She gives us two beautiful women who almost ruin the their lives as well as a third heroine, Mary, unpretty, who is not only sensible and charming, but sought after. The three studies of marriage shown side by side are illustrative of how misled one can be by superficialities. Daniel Deronda ( 1876) I wondered how much this novel owed to Disraeli, the Jew who was an aristocrat. It is not a perfect book; I found it the most unsatisfying of Eliot's. However, in the sense of speaking of people's pull to their community, I think it spoke for the need for everyone to find identity. 66

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4. Works about French Traditions: Bree, Germaine, Women Writers in France. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1983. Feminism in literature has a long, honorable history in France, which this book addresses. The chronology gives one a feel for eras in which there was more sympathy paid to women. 5. Works About George Sand: Blount, Paul G., George Sand and the Victorian World. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1979. This book is more exciting than mere biography, as it attempts to fit the authoress into the context of her time as well as the English consciousness. Gate, Curtis, George Sand. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975. George Sand's biographer summed her up most romantically. The counterpoint between other biographies and this one is not lost on the reader. Jordan, Ruth, George Sand. New York: Taplinger Publishing Company, 1976. In some ways this biography gives the most helpful chronology in charting changes in George Sand's life. Manifold, Gay, George Sand's Theatre Career. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1983. Sand's biographer shows in this book her love of theatre as a form of expression as well as sheer entertainment. She obviously found that her ideas fit well into the dramatic form. 67

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Fanchon the Cri k c et (or La Petite F<;idette) (1871) The interesting u n: \ pair of twins q of this slight book is the interplay between a 11, which forecasts what science later learned about the 'P e11t \n.Wa,etlon of such siblings. Set In her beloved Berry. Sand bas urawn a peasantry wherein bigotry and forgiveness play a game of tag with each other. Forgiveness (as befits the pastoral novel) wins out. 'Il!S,lntlmate Journals g! Geori!& Sand (between her 29th and 36th years, with additional comments at age 64) 'fhiS collection Is a miXed bag. possibly because sand was undergoing so much tranSfonnation at the time. Much iS like reading the diarY of a lovesick girl. whlle Interspersed are the mature reflections of a wrtter. In her early years, she was very much both creatures.

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Winegarten, Renee, The Double Life Of George Sand. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1978. This accounting of Mlle. Sand is quite different than other books I read, putting entirely different emphases on different characters. It shows the bifurcation she experienced between her professional self and her private life. 6. Works :Qy George Sand: Leila (1833) This novel, about which the public was divided, has an intensely personal feel to it. It was as though Sand had split herself in two: one half. the brooding ascetic. while the other half represented the hedonistic temptress. The structure of this novel is different than many of its time. It jumps around in both narrative and time, surprisirtg its reader with long gaps between what is described as having occurred. Consuela (1842) A marriage of two styles, Consuela appeals because of the strong narrative line and a heroine that grows through the course of the book. Sand uses poetic license here, bringing in Haydn and others from the real world. It has Gothic, pastoral, Romantic and lyric elements in it. The Country Waif (1850) Part of her pastoral period, George Sand set this story in Berry, where her country chateau was located. It reflects the lives of peasants who are chained by their circumstances. The tale of an older woman marrying a younger man, whom she has raised as a son, must have been shocking to the French public. The Bagpipers (1852) Set near the chateau of Nahant, this story traces two romances while depicting the idealized life of the peasants. Sand contrasts her characters, inviting us to take sides with one or the other in this rather drawn-out plot that ends with felicity. 68

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Fanchon the Cricket (or La Petite Fadette) (1871) The interesting quality of this slight book is the interplay between a pair of identical twins, which forecasts what science later learned about the sympathetic interaction of such siblings. Set in her beloved Berry, Sand has drawn a peasantry wherein bigotry and forgiveness play a game of tag with each other. Forgiveness (as befits the pastoral novel) wins out. The Intimate Journals of George Sand (between her 29th and 36th years. with additional comments at age 64) This collection is a mixed bag, possibly because Sand was undergoing so much transformation at the time. Much is like reading the diary of a lovesick girl, while interspersed are the mature reflections of a writer. In her years, she was very much both creatures. ; I 69