News / Soller @en
George Sand: A tribute to a vanguard
George Sand? Who has been the eponym for the privileged and exclusive suburb of villas near Valldemossa. To avoid errors: it was not a man, but Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin de Francueil, charismatic and progressive Parisian, who not only chose herself a masculine name, but celebrated as well such an attitude. Both just increased her fascination for her circle, which included many intellectuals and artist of her time like Honoré de Balzac, Alexandre Dumas, the painter Delacroix or the composer Franz Liszt.
The French writer lived from 1804 to 1876 and being feminist and socialist, her oeuvre shows her protest against the strict limitation provoked by the role scheme of woman within their matrimony. Another concern, which finds expression in her literary work, is striving for justice and classless share of common properties. But though socially and politically engaged, she remained a novelist, yet bestselling, and lived comfortable on her incomes.
So, how it comes that a personality, member of the intellectual circles and ahead-of-her-times-woman like her resided in a hidden village in the Sierra de Tramuntana in western Majorca? In 1838, on recommendation of the doctor, George Sand brought her rheumatic son Maurice to cure his ailment into the mild climate of Majorca, accompanied by her daughter Solange, both children offspring of her divorced marriage with a French noble. In these times she had a liaison with Frédéric Chopin. The composer, suffering from consumptiveness, joined the family, hoping to find also abatement.
The modern patchwork-family found after a first stay in Establiments accommodation in the charterhouse of Valldemossa. For Chopin, however, the time he spent in Majorca, was a martyr, as he contracted pneumonia and his condition went worse. Nevertheless, he got inspired by the beauty of the landscape and created some of his wonderful melodies in the quietness of the island – for example the raindrop preludes – whereas George Sand wrote the book “A Winter in Majorca” (Un Hiver à Majorque). Although she loved the sea and the couple appreciated the romantic of the place, her report on Majorca expresses also her dismay on people’s attitude towards the couple that was considered as bohemians, living in concubinage and strange circumstances. Even the mere purchasing of firewood became difficult, because the local pagans refused to sell it to the strangers.
What a pity, that the four not stayed long enough to enjoy springtime and returned to France after 98 days. Times change and nowadays Majorca gives a warm welcome to all the foreigners and residents from all over the world. In Valldemossa the famous guests and artists are honoured, in the charterhouse the accommodations of George Sand and Chopin are well conserved and made a museum, an annual music festival makes a highlight for classic-fans in Majorca.
George Sand, the bestseller-writer in gentlemen’s-garment and author of the first comprehensive travelogue on Majorca, receives equally admiration and – as if to pay her retrospectively the tribute, she did not receive in former times, Valldemossa named after her one of the finest and most spectacular part of the coast. In “George Sand” are sited some excellent and luxury villas with breath-taking views and outmost convenience.
How lucky we contemporaries are, that life – even in winter – lost its hardship and the book “A winter in Majorca” rather invites us to enjoy a cosy couch evening with a good glass of red wine from Binissalem or Banyalbufar, listening to the crackling of the hearth-fire and the preludes of Chopin.