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George Sand and the Nineteenth-Century Russian Love-Triangle Novels
Publisher: Bucknell Univ Pr Published: Nov 1 1994 Weight: 1.00lbs. Height: 9.50" Width: 6.25" Depth: 0.50" Language: English
How did a French female novelist alter the course of history in another country? Why were the chief proponents of the Woman Question in nineteenth-century Russia exclusively men? How was the call for reform of women's education tied to the proletariat cause which ushered in the Russian revolution? These are a few of the issues raised in this study of the impact of George Sand's influence on nineteenth-century Russia.
George Sand's novels triumphed in Russia, imparting to a generation of great Russian thinkers a series of moral dilemmas facing women in society who struggled to balance and reconcile their roles as daughters, wives, lovers, and mothers. This study focuses on three of Sand's early novels which influenced dramatically the extent to which the great Russian novelists addressed "The Woman Question," a sociopolitical phenomenon attributed directly to George Sand.
Dawn Eidelman examines the ironic relationship of women and fiction in nineteenth-century Russia by considering the love-triangle novels that evolved out of Sand's scandalous and precedent-setting romance novels. Eidelman explores the issues of desire and culpability and the manner in which they relate to the texts, as well as to the sociopolitical climate of the times.
In discussing love-triangle novels, the author focuses on three character types that comprise the "menage a trois": the benevolent husband, the strong "new" woman, and the superfluous man. Sand's epistolary novel, Jacques, features the character type of the forgiving, enlightened spouse whose wife takes a lover. Jacques established a literary prototype emulated by several of nineteenth-century Russia's best read and most persuasive thinkers.
Mauprat features Edmee, a self-actualizing "woman as hero" protagonist. Here the notion of "fiction of relationship" emerges, as male Russian authors created tragic, idealized woman characters who could never really live up to the "terrible perfection" with which they were endowed.
The superfluous man constitutes the third character type in the love triangle featured in so many of Sand's novels and incorporated into many Russian works. Eidelman examines Sand's Horace and reviews Russian borrowings in Aleksandr Herzen's Who is to Blame?, in Ivan Goncharov's A Common Story, and in Ivan Turgenev's Rudin.
The progression of the feminist movement in Russia is examined, noting its distinctions from comparable organizations in Western Europe.