elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

George Sand & Marie Dorval

George Sand (the pen name of Armandine Aurore Lucie Dupin) was the most famous female writer in nineteenth-century France. Deeply unhappy in her marriage to Baron Casimir Dudevant, Sand left him for the bright lights of Paris in 1831, where she began a literary career as her only means of earning a living. (Picture: George Sand at 60. Photo by Nadar, 1864)

Her first novel, Indiana, tells of an unhappy woman struggling to free herself from marriage, which to Sand was a form of slavery. Later novels, including Valentine and Lelia, openly explored women’s sexual feelings.

Sand’s reputation was based not only on her literary output, but also on her unconventional behavior—she wore male drag, smoked, and had a series of scandalous affairs with the likes of Alfred de Musset and Frederic CHOPIN.

One of her most intense love affairs was, however, with a woman, Marie DORVAL (6 January 1798, Lorient, Morbihan – 20 May 1849), one of the most famous and beautiful actresses of the Parisian stage. In January 1833, Sand wrote Dorval a letter of appreciation following one of her performances. The two women met and were immediately attracted to each other.

Theatre critic Gustave Planche reportedly warned Sand to stay away from Dorval. Count Alfred de Vigy, a former lover to Dorval, warned the actress to stay away from Sand, whom he referred to as “that damned lesbian."

Sand and Dorval remained close friends for the remainder of Dorval’s lifetime. In 1840 Dorval played the lead in Cosima, a play written by Sand, and the two women collaborated on the script. To Dorval she once wrote, the theatre or in your bed, I simply must come and kiss you, my lady, or I shall do something crazy!"

Source: Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals by Keith Stern

Marie Dorval (6 January 1798, Lorient, Morbihan – 20 May 1849) was a French actress.

Born Marie Thomase Amélie Delauney; abandoned by her father when she was five years old, and losing her mother to tuberculosis while still a teenager, at age of 15 she married Alain Dorval, a much older actor, who died five years later. The couple had two children.

Marie began acting on stage in earnest following her husband's death. She did not see great success until the age of 29, when she starred in the French play Trente ans, ou la vie d'un joueur ("Thirty years, or the life of a player."). At the age of 31, Marie married journalist Jean-Toussaint Merle.

In January, 1833, female writer George Sand met Marie Dorval after the former wrote the actress a letter of appreciation following one of her performances. The two women became involved in an intimate friendship, and were rumored to have become lesbian lovers. This has since been debated, and has never been verified. Theater critic Gustave Planche reportedly warned Sand to stay away from Dorval. Likewise, Count Alfred de Vigny, Dorval's lover, warned the actress to stay away from Sand, whom he referred to as "that damned lesbian". Popular writers from that time, such as Théophile Gautier and Honoré de Balzac, capitalized on the rumors.

Whatever the truth in their relationship, Sand and Dorval would remain close friends for the remainder of Dorval's lifetime. In 1834, Dorval starred in Vigny's play Chatterton, and in 1840 she played the lead in a play written by Sand, entitled Cosima, and the two women collaborated on the script. However, the play was not well received, and was cancelled after only seven showings.

She had many successes that did follow, especially in popular productions at the Odéon Theatre. Her last two major appearances were in François Ponsard's Lucrèce (1843) and in Adolphe d'Ennery's Marie-Jeanne, ou la femme du peuple (Marie-Jeanne, Or the Woman of the People, 1845).

Her career began going downhill with a shift in fashion and the public's desire for younger actresses, and she began traveling with a troupe of actors doing small shows around the countryside. By the age of 51, her health was failing due to her long life of travel and shows, and she sank into depression following the death of one of her grandchildren. Sand assumed the financial support for Dorval's surviving grandchildren following Marie's death in 1849.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Dorval

Further Readings:

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: author: george sand, days of love

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