Thursday, February 22, 2007

That's Enough For Me.

by Benita Eisler

This was a slim biography, easily digestible, not a large scholarly tome, which is a blessing and a curse. My criticisms for the author mainly come from the format. We learn (a summary of) what she knows, but not HOW she knows it. There is a small notes section at the end corresponding to minimal (less than five) footnotes throughout the text. Now believe me, I am not demanding the kind of intricate note system that has you keeping a finger in the notes section so you can jump back and forth between the text and the additional information at the back of the book. But it would be nice to know when she concludes, for example, that Sand’s father Dupin was not her biological father, whether that is authorial conjecture or common knowledge (at least amongst Sand scholars). For that fact there is no footnote, no way of following the scholarly trail, nothing. There is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Eisler is VERY knowledgeable about her subject, but her choice to largely remove her authorial imprint from the text has a novice “Sandiste” like me wondering how authoritative the work is.

I have long been interested in George Sand, but this is the first biography I have read about her. It will probably be my last, mainly because of Ms. Sand herself. I have a problem with people that absolutely live the life they want to live (at the expense of children) and then blame “class” and “society” when they themselves persist in behaving in a way that always end in drama and sadness.

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