Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Paris in July: Indiana by George Sand


Indiana by George Sand, originally published in 1832 and now considered a feminist work, is the story of naive Indiana Delamare and her search for love. The novel takes several twists and turns as it deals with themes such as unrequited love, a woman's role in society, and suicide.

Indiana is the much younger wife of the abusive Colonel Delamare. They live at his estate in the French countryside near Brie. With them is Indiana's moody yet protective British cousin, Ralph. Indiana's spirits are low, and living in the house with Colonel Delamare has made Indiana lose the will to live. 

Into this situation steps trouble in the form of the charming and manipulative aristocrat, Raymon de Ramiere. Indiana, not realizing that Ramon isn't an honorable man, falls in love with him. Unbeknownst to Indiana, Raymon has a relationship with Indiana's maid and dear friend, Noun. When Noun becomes pregnant, she kills herself by drowning.

The relationship between Indiana and Raymon has many highs and lows as he attempts to seduce her. With business troubles, Colonel Delamare decides that he, Indiana and Ralph should move to Île Bourbon (now the island of Réunion near Madagascar). With the pain of separation from Raymon, Indiana decides she must see him and undertakes a secretive and dangerous ship voyage to Paris. When she finds Raymon, he's married for money and now lives in her old house. Raymon makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with Indiana. 

Roaming the streets of Paris while the Revolution of 1830 goes on around her, Indiana is friendless, penniless and has lost her identification papers. She becomes ill and delirious to the point of being near death, but Ralph finds her. He brings news that the colonel has died from a fever. Ralph then declares his love for her, and they make their plans for the future. 

What a journey Indiana has to find true love. There is quite a bit of drama along the way and even a bizarre twist at the very end of the story. The novel also shows just how little influence Indiana has over her own fate. Under French law at that time, she was powerless to leave her marriage and was not able to own property. Sand provides entertaining narration and points out those timeless truths about life and about relationships between men and women. 

If you have an interest in feminist literature or romanticism in literature, this would be an excellent novel for you. I read Indiana for the Paris in July Challenge.

Have you read Indiana or any novels by George Sand?

9 comments:

  1. You are giving me so many ideas for next year's Paris in July!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! I actually picked up this novel last year with the intention of reading it for last year's Paris in July but never got around to it.

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed your summary of the novel. George Sand also led a fascinating life.

    I've been in on Paris in July at my food blog, maefood.blogspot.com. It's a great blogging event, glad to see your post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mae! I know a little about George Sand's life, but I would love to read a biography about her.

      Delete
  3. This is the only George Sand novel that I've read, although I'd really like to read Valentine; but I liked Indiana a lot. (And I was very glad it didn't have one of those classically depressing or sad endings.) Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked Indiana, too! For some reason, I don't read much in the way of translations, but I'd like to read more of George Sand's work.

      Delete
  4. I am trying to remember if I've read George Sand before. I feel like I must have - but no titles are coming to mind. This one sounds like a good one to start with.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know George Sand led an interesting life, and seems to have been very independent, and ignored the social conventions of her day, but I've never read any of her work, although I've always meant to. I'll give this one a go, but may not get round to it before the end of July, but I'm doing a French Bingo Reading Challenge as well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read Indiana a few years ago. It was Sand's first book without a coauthor and I think you can see Sand kind of find her narrative method about one third way through. As you said, it is a look at the lives of women in the period. Most now, I think, view Sand just through recent movies in which a character based on her features. I would also like to read more of her work. My enjoyed reliving the novel via your very well done post.

    ReplyDelete