Vision in the Novels of George Sand

Mathias, M. (2015) Vision in the Novels of George Sand. Series: Oxford modern languages and literature monographs. Oxford University Press: Oxford. ISBN 9780198735397 (doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735397.001.0001)

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This book considers the pull between the visual and the visionary in nineteenth-century France through an examination of George Sand’s novels. With an extensive corpus ranging from Sand’s early texts through to her later, less familiar works, it repositions Sand’s œuvre alongside that of the major realist authors and demonstrates her distinctive understanding of the novel as a combination of the concrete and the abstract. By studying Sand’s engagement with visual models associated with realism—the mirror, the visual arts, and the scientific gaze—the book proposes a more sustained dialogue between Sand’s work and realism than has hitherto been acknowledged, but shows that Sand radically reworks these models to depict a dynamic, mysterious, and ever changing world. Whereas Sand has been read as an author bypassing reality in favour of the ideal, this study argues that she is committed to physical observation, but that she consistently ties this process with the conceptual and the visionary. The book breaks new ground by examining Sand’s literary engagement with the visual arts, and it offers the first sustained consideration of Sand as a writer of science. This study not only reassesses Sand’s writing practice, but also rethinks the relations between the visual and the novel in this period and argues that Sand’s work challenges our means of theorizing these relations. In her rejection of binaries and her syncretic understanding of vision, Sand breaks conventional categories and writes novels that are at once realist, visionary, mystical, and scientific.

Item Type:Books
Keywords:Vision, George Sand, science, visionary, realism, painting.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mathias, Dr Manon
Authors: Mathias, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Publisher:Oxford University Press
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