Lélia

By George Sand

193 ratings - 3.78* vote

Ce roman (1833) est inspiré moins par la vie que par la personne de George Sand. L'héroïne est une femme d'action, mais dévorée du démon de l'analyse, et dont le charme opère sur bien des hommes : le poète Sténio (on songe à Musset), l'ancien aventurier converti Trenmor, l'ermite Magnus. Lélia cherche la paix en devenant l'abbesse d'un couvent. Sténio l'y retrouve et c'est Ce roman (1833) est inspiré moins par la vie que par la

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Book details

Paperback, 237 pages
December 1st 1988 by French & European Publications Inc

(first published 1833)

Original Title
Lélia
ISBN
0785915761 (ISBN13: 9780785915768)
Edition Language
English

Community Reviews

Velvetink

It's a very long time since I have read this in my youth and was just reminded of it by something else and so just adding it now.. Before bra burning and Germaine Greer there was George Sand. She was a major influence on the way I thought about equality generally and to think that she was from the 1800's inspired me to believe many impossible things were inf act possible. I particularly liked her relationship with Flaubert and their equal meeting of minds. I very much recommend her autobiography (expunged) and also the one by Andre Maurois.

Roxana

• "Ne trebuie cerul - și nu-l avem!"
• "Plânge-mă, mă duc să trăiesc!"

Sublimă și în același timp cutremurătoare carte. De la un capăt la celălalt o odă a suferinței umane, a zvârcolirii interioare, a izbăvirii prin moarte. Am copiat pasaje întregi într-un caiet, am citit cu răbdare și atenție, îmi venea în unele momente să-mi prind capul în palme și să îi dau foc cărții - din păcate a fost împrumutată și nici nu sunt creatoarea ei astfel încât să am dreptul acesta. Sténio, Lélia, Magnus, Trenmor, pe cât de diferiți, pe atât de remarcabili prin ființa și suferința lor; și abia când apuci să îți recunoști că te regăsești doar într-unul, vin restul și-ți întrevezi slăbiciunile prin ei.

În ciuda altor fragmente poate și mai bune, mie mi-au rămas întipărite în minte și scrijelite în suflet următoarele:

• "Însă eu, care nu am nici virtuți, nici vicii, nu știu cum să fac să îndur povara existenței. Vai! Îți vine ușor să recomanzi răbdarea! Dacă te-ai afla, ca mine, între cei care trăiesc încă și între cei care nu mai trăiesc, ai fi, ca și mine, neliniștită de o sumbră mânie și chinuită de o nesățioasă dorință de a fi ceva, de a începe viața sau de a încheia socotelile cu ea..."

• "Iluzie și visare, voi sunteți cu adevărat reginele lumii! Când flacăra voastră s-a stins, lumea este de nelocuit."

• "Mila este un sentiment vecin cu dispreţul şi mâna care ajută un prieten când se clatină amorţeşte curând. Şi apoi, voi nu credeţi în prietenie. Mi-aţi oferit-o degeaba pe a voastră, ca să mă sprijin şi să mă călăuzesc pe căile viitorului; vedeţi bine că v-aţi minţit pe voi înşivă, căci m-aţi părăsit. Unde eraţi când mă pierdeam? In pacea sublimei voastre odihne, a renunţării voastre de neschimbat, ştiaţi bine că Sténio se lupta cu agonia tuturor facultăţilor sale. Dar vă ziceaţi: „Cu atât mai rău pentru Sténio". Aşezaţi la adăpost de furtună, ştiaţi că acolo, jos, o barcă se spărgea de recife; dar ziceaţi: „Dumnezeu îl iubeşte, Dumnezeu îl va salva. Providenţa veghează asupra lui, încercarea aceasta îi va fi de folos şi bine venită. Se va întoarce singur; să-l lăsăm să se zbată puţin". Iar între timp eu pieream, eu! Nu v-aţi spus că prietenia este singura providenţă pe care oamenii ar trebui s-o invoce şi că, dacă existau prieteni, aceştia jucau rolul de Dumnezeu unii faţă de ceilalţi. Dar nu! Se întâmplă cu aceasta cum se întâmplă şi cu celelalte. Sufletul nostru are sentimentul, dar nu şi puterea. Concepe afecţiuni şi virtuţi, la fel cum visează la nişte scări care să urce de la pământ la stele. Imaginaţia ia cu asalt cerul fără încetare, omul rămâne înţepenit în lutul său. Creierul naşte, faptele avortează. Inima făgăduieşte, mâna refuză."

Helynne

Sand published two different versions of her controversial Lélia, a bold statement for its time on a young woman's bewilderment regarding how society's expectations of her as well as her own confused sexual desires were hindering and frustrating her search for self. The first Lélia, which appeared in 1833, is a shorter, less developed story than the 1839 version. In the earlier publication, the conflicts are the same, but the ending is more violent (the title heroine is strangled to death by a crazed priest rather than dying the more natural death of the later novel), and the entire episode of Lélia's epiphany about the possibilities for feminist solidarity within a feminine cloister is absent. At the time Sand revised Lélia, she had felt victimized by several unhappy love affairs since her 1833 writing of the novel. These included the infamous Venice stay with Alfred de Musset and the subsequent fling with his Italian physician as well as the ill-fated relationships with Prosper Merimée and attorney Michel de Bourges. The revising of Lélia coincided with Sand's growing attachment to Frédérick Chopin, (which through ultimately temporary, would blossom one of the longest and most romantic and most satisfying relationships of her lifetime).
By 1839, then, with the revised version of Lélia, Sand began to give the idea of the heroine's escape to the convent a different and more positive dimension than it had carried since Madame de Lafayette's 1678 La Princesse de Cleves. The change, however, was a slow, step-by-step process. To Lélia, the convent was, first and foremost, a place of escape from what she felt was the certitude of a disastrous union with the passionate, but mentally unbalanced, Sténio. Therefore, her reasons for entering the convent are fundamentally the same as those of the Princesse de Clèves and Thérèse in Madame de Staël's 1802 Delphine—each of whom had lost hope of ever finding a happy love relationship with a man, and preferred to protect herself emotionally by removing herself from a society that favored men and their caprices and punished women for their romantic feelings and hopes.
Sand, however, was to take the idea of escape via the convent to much more extensive feminist ends than did either Lafayette or Staël. In the novel, when Lélia and Sténio part, and the latter sinks into degradation, the 1833 and 1839 versions take different plot turns. The latter tome becomes more a crusaders' bible for social reform than a Romantic novel as Lélia becomes less the sentimental heroine and more the spokeswoman for progress and equality for her sex. As mentioned earlier, the Lélia of the 1839 edition eventually finds peace by becoming a nun, and later is named abbesse of the Camadules. She explains to the Monseigneur Annibal why her view of life—so incompatible with society—made her decide to choose convent life.
Lélia clearly sees her own view of love as being too impossibly ahead of her time for her to find any happiness in the fullness of society. Therefore, she knows she cannot find happiness in marriage as it exists in her day. “L’hyménée tel que je le conçois, tel que je l‘eusse exigé, n’étais pas encore sur la terre. J’ai dû me retirer au desert et attendre que les desseins de Dieu fussent arrivés à leur maturité (2:95, my italics).
As Lélia had already seen the dreaded example of her sister Pulchérie—a gifted person who fell into vice for having dared to pursue her dream of sexual self-fulfillment—Lélia chose the opposite path—that of cloistered celibacy. She sees the retreat to the convent as an example other women in her position will imitate, and envisions the convent becoming a haven not only for fallen or ruined women, but also for an elite group of virgins and widows who need to build strength and dignity into their lives.
Lélia’s language about the positive promise of convent life is surprisingly unsentimental and sociological: [Le cloître:] a une mission encore, c'est de donner une éducation pieuse à un plus grand nombre, sans les enchaîner à jamais. Là, il me semble qu'elles devraient recevoir de tels enseignments qu'elles ne les missent jamais en oubli, et qu'elles pussent y puiser la force et la dignité dont elles auront besoin dans le cours de la vie (2:96).
As abbesse, Lélia hoped to unite women and teach them to beware of perfidious men and pleasures that were less than those of ideal love, and to mistrust society’s claim that they could attain happy marriages in the modern world, for this is false. “On parle trop [aux femmes:] d’un bonheur possible sanctionée par la société; on les trompe! On leur fait accroire qu’à force de soumission et de dévoûement elles obtiendront de leur époux une réciprocité d’amour et de fidélité; on les abuse!” (2:97).
Lélia later describes the peace and ecstasy she has found in her solitude at the convent. In the meantime, far away in her elegant boudoir, Lélia’s sister, the courtesan Pulchérie, lies troubled and bewildered beside a young lover, wondering why she cannot feel any peace, and wishing show could escape her life of vice.
Later, when Sténio finds Lélia at the abbey and urges her to leave with him, the young nun insists on staying the in the cloister, and explains to him that the rules of their society that denigrate women’s interests and ambitions would render impossible any happiness the two might seek together.
Since Lélia has no faith that her society will permit a man and a woman to have a union that is an equal partnership, she sees her personal essence being virtually annihilated as it is engulfed by male existence. “Il faut donc que l’existence de la femme disparaisse, absorbée par celle de l’homme; et moi, je voulais exister” (2:136, my italics).
Lélia, then, chose the isolation of the convent because, even though it precluded life with the man she loved, she found it preferable to the self-obliteration she was sure she would experience as lover or wife. Also, in an avant-garde dimension that goes well beyond the vision of the Princesse de Clèves, Lélia sees the convent as a veritable university where women are not only protected from the sorrows of life, but also instructed in its intellectual and artistic side, and ushered into self-actualization and inner peace.

Marmott79

Qui es-tu? Et pourquoi ton amour fait-il tant de mal? Il doit y avoir en toi quelque affreux mystère inconnu aux hommes. A coup sur tu n'es pas un être pétri du même limon et animé de la même vie que nous! Tu es un ange ou un démon, mais tu n'es pas une créature humaine. Pourquoi nous cacher ta nature et ton origine? Pourquoi habiter parmi nous qui ne pouvons te suffire ni te comprendre? Si tu viens de Dieu, parle et nous t'adorerons. Si tu viens de l'enfer… Toi venir de l'enfer! Toi si belle et si pure!
Les esprits du mal ont-ils ce regard divin, et cette voix harmonieuse, et ces paroles qui élèvent l'âme et la transportent jusqu'au trône de Dieu?
Et cependant, Lélia, il y a en toi quelque chose d'infernal. Ton sourire amer dément les célestes promesses de ton regard. Quelques-unes de tes paroles sont désolantes comme l'athéisme: il y a des moments où tu ferais douter de Dieu et de toi-même. Pourquoi, pourquoi, Lélia. Etes-vous ainsi? Que faites-vous de votre foi, que faites-vous de votre âme, quand vous niez l'amour? O ciel! Vous, proférer ce blasphème! Mais qui êtes-vous donc si vous pensez que vous dites parfois?
Si tratta forse di uno dei più bei incipit letterari che mi siano mai capitati sotto gli occhi : “Chi sei ? E perché il tuo amore fa così male?”. Sténio, innamorato, quasi posseduto dalla donna-Lélia, si interroga sulla natura della loro relazione e sulla natura della stessa Lélia. La chiama angelo e la fa discendere direttamente da Dio, poi la chiama demonio e la associa agli esseri infernali. La sua voce è canto di serafini e richiamo di sirena… La semplicità non incanta. L’attrazione nasce dal contrasto, dall’ambiguità, è più forte laddove gli estremi sono più vicini.
La natura di Sténio è in realtà devota e credente finché resta nell’ambito del conosciuto, si rivela fragile al cospetto di una creatura fuori dal comune e anche il suo credo vacilla come meglio si nota nel secondo estratto:
Hier, quand nous nous promenions sur la montagne, vous étiez si grande, si sublime, que j'aurais voulu m'agenouiller devant vous et baiser la trace embaumée de vos pas. Quand le Christ fut transfiguré dans une nouée d'or et sembla nager aux yeux de ses apôtres dans un fluide embrasé, ils se prosternent et dirent: "Seigneur, vous êtes bien le fils de Dieu!". Et puis quand la nuée se fut évanouie et que le prophète descendit la montagne avec ses compagnons, ils se demandèrent sans doute avec inquiétude: "Cet homme qui marche avec nous, qui parle comme nous, qui va souper avec nous, est-il donc le même que nous venons de voir enveloppé de voiles de feu et tout rayonnant de l'esprit du Seigneur?" Ainsi fais-je avec vous, Lélia! A chaque instant vous vous transfigurez devant moi et puis vous dépouillez la divinité pour redevenir mon égale et, alors, je me demande avec effroi si vous n'êtes point quelque puissance céleste, quelque prophète nouveau, le Verbe incarné encore une fois sous une forme humaine, et si vous agissez ainsi pour éprouver notre foi et connaitre parmi nous les vrais fidèles!
Sténio vede in Lélia la trasfigurazione di Cristo e questa analogia ricorrerà per tutto il romanzo. S’inginocchia davanti a lei, bacia i suoi piedi come fece la Maddalena con Cristo perché Lélia è il nuovo profeta e Sténio il peccatore, appena iniziato alla nuova religione, meravigliato ed estasiato perché la divinità cammina al suo fianco.
Ma ecco che parla Lélia:
L'amour, Sténio, n'est pas ce que vous croyez; ce n'est pas cette violente aspiration de toutes les facultés vers un être créé; c'est l'aspiration sainte de la partie la plus esthétique de notre âme vers l'inconnu. Etres bornés, nous cherchons sans cesse à donner le change à ces cuisants et insatiables désirs qui nous consument; nous leur cherchons un bout autour de nous et, pauvres prodigues que nous sommes, nous parons nos périssables idoles de toutes les beautés immatérielles aperçues dans nos rêves. Les émotions des sens ne nous suffisent pas. La nature n'a rien d'assez recherché, dans le trésor de ses joies naïves, pour apaiser la soif de bonheur qui est en nous ; il nous faut le ciel, et nous ne l'avons pas ! C'est pourquoi nous cherchons le ciel dans une créature semblable à nous, et nous dépensons pour elle toute cette haute énergie qui nous avait été donnée pour un plus noble usage. Nous refusons à Dieu le sentiment de l'adoration, sentiment qui fut mis en nous pour retourner a Dieu seul. Nous le reportons sur un être incomplet et faible, qui devient le dieu de notre culte idolâtre. Dans la jeunesse du monde, alors que l'homme n'avait pas faussé sa nature et méconnu son propre cœur, l'amour d'un sexe pour l'autre, tel que nous le concevons aujourd'hui, n'existait pas. Le plaisir seul était un lien ; la passion morale, avec ses obstacles, ses souffrances, son intensité, est un mal que ces générations ont ignoré. C'est qu'alors il y avait des dieux et qu'aujourd'hui il n'y en a plus.
Lélia spiega la devozione di Sténio : l’uomo aspira al cielo e a Dio ma, non potendo raggiungerli, ripiega su di un essere imperfetto e mortale attribuendogli qualità divine e il sentimento creato in origine per Dio, l’adorazione, viene riversato sull’uomo. In principio non esisteva l’amore carnale, violento e disperato come oggi lo conosciamo, esisteva solo il piacere. In principio esisteva Dio, ora non più.
In realtà l’idea che mi sono fatta di Lélia è quella di una donna che avrebbe tutto per essere felice: soldi, posizione sociale, bellezza, amore… le manca però la capacità di apprezzare tutto questo, le manca la capacità di amare tutto questo, la capacità di essere felice e si ritrova a vivere l’apatia come scelta.
Je sais aujourd'hui Lélia tout entière, comme si je l’avais possédée ; je sais ce qui la faisait si belle, si pure, si divine: c'était moi, c'était ma jeunesse. Mais, a mesure que mon âme s'est flétrie, l'image de Lélia s'est flétrie aussi. Aujourd'hui, je la vois telle qu'elle est, pale, la lèvre terne, la chevelure semée de ces premiers fils d'argent qui nous envahissent le crâne, comme l'herbe envahit le tombeau, le front traverse de cet ineffaçable pli que la vieillesse nous imprime, d'abord d'une main indulgente et légère, puis d'un ongle profond et cruel. Pauvre Lélia, vous voilà bien changée ! Quand vous passez dans mes rêves, avec vos diamants et vos parure: d'autrefois, je ne puis m'empêcher de rire amèrement e de vous dire : « Bien vous prend d'être reine, Lélia, e d'avoir beaucoup d'esprit; car, sur mon honneur, vous n'êtes plus belle, et, si vous m'invitiez aujourd'hui au céleste banquet de votre amour, je vous préférerais la jeune danseuse Torquata ou la joyeuse courtisane Elvire.»
Ed ecco che tutto si svela, si svela la passione di Sténio per Lélia, si svelano il magnetismo e l’attrazione, la bellezza della donna, la sua divinità.
L’amore di Sténio era il riflesso della sua anima, la vedeva giovane e bella perché il cuore di Sténio era giovane, bello e puro. La vedeva divina e demoniaca perché lui serbava in sé quelle qualità che riuniscono cielo e terra. In fine Sténio si è logorato in una vita dissoluta e così anche l’immagine di Lélia si è logorata con lui. Capelli bianchi e labbra pallide hanno preso il posto di una folta chioma e colori vermigli. Lélia non è più divinità e non è più demonio: è una creatura mortale con tutti i suoi difetti, può dunque essere paragonata ora agli altri mortali e le si possono infine preferire altre donne riconoscendo loro qualità che le possano far risaltare di fronte a lei.
E’ davvero finito tutto?
Si, no, forse. Le restanti pagine del libro cambiano repentinamente ritmo, gli eventi si susseguono con sempre maggiore velocità, il racconto si fa sempre più romanzo e sempre meno trattato.
Non mi sento di consigliare questo libro a nessuno. Nonostante la presenza di alcune pagine davvero brillanti, le stesse impressioni positive hanno il loro lato negativo nell’estrema dilatazione… insomma, ‘na palla

https://marmott79.blogspot.it/2008/08...

Charles

Ok - first of all, I read this a) because I have wanted to fill in the gap in my Sand reading for a while, and b) because I intend to assign this to students in a Sand seminar I will teach next Fall. So, I read Lelia in a rather amazingly well researched edition, in the Garnier-Flammarion edition prepared by Pierre Reboul, who seems to have ready EVERY novel of late 18th and early 19th century that might have influenced Sand. His text shows the extent to which Sand seems to owe her ideas to everyone else, but whatever the influences, what is essential, I think, is to understand that in 1833, only two-three years since she first started publishing, Sand felt a need to create a major philosophical novel, perhaps to place herself in the same company as Balzac (and maybe Stendhal). Whether she succeeds or not is a topic for critical appraisal, but despite my dissatisfaction and admitted cluelessness in the early parts of the novel, once I got past part III, I was drawn into the BIG IDEAS that each of the characters seem to embody. That Sand felt compelled in 1838 to create a revised edition of this novel, with significantly different moral import and plot revisions, shows how much weight she gave to this novel.

Randy

I tend to get immersed in a writer and read until I run out of interest. If Lelia had been the first book by George Sand I read, it would have been the last. Sand loved the theater, and many of the monologues in this somewhat epistolary novel remind me of histrionic actors ranting from soapboxes. It took tremendous fortitude on my part to get through some of these letter-speeches.

Fortunately, I started with the novels "Horace," then "Indiana," and the biographies by Maurois ("Lelia") and Howe ("George Sand in Search of Love"). The ruminations in "Lelia" don't make much sense, I think, without some historical background.

"Rose et Blanche," "Indiana," and "Valentine," were Sand's first published books, written within two years. "Rose et Blanche" she co-wrote in Paris with her lover Jules Sandeau, with whom she may have consummated her first extra-marital love affair. When she returned home to her husband in Nohant for a six-month stay, she wrote "Indiana." "Valentine" soon followed and she became somewhat discouraged by the Bohemian sloth and profligacy of Sandeau. They parted and she began to wonder what love was all about. In "Lelia" we discover that Lelia/Sand had some sexual satisfaction issues and was really more interested in an impossibly idealized love. Interestingly, the writing of the novel overlaps her affair with the poet Musset, who put some lines in the mouth of the novel's poet, Stenio.

But it is a tortuous path she takes to get herself, and us, through her concerns. She loses her religion, attempts to explicate the dynamics of personal growth and the traditions of conventional relationships, mulls over her frustrations with sex (via conversations with Pulcheria, her prostitute twin sister)...It's clear she was at an extremely confused low point in her life. Thoughts of suicide entered Sands life more than once.

At first she denied that it was at all autobiographical, then came to realize it was, and rewrote a second edition to soften some of the admissions. It is not a novel in the traditional sense, and has been hailed as one of the first books to wander so far from that form and still be called a novel. In a sense, it's almost stream of consciousness. She admits in her autobiography that she remembers nothing about a novel once it's been written.

The first "Lelia" was published in 1833. Sand's life spanned the first 75 years of the nineteenth century, a period of huge political and social upheaval. And Sand was a revolutionary in a revolutionary time, far ahead of her time. Much of her life she preferred to dress and live as a man to enjoy the freedom males enjoyed in 1833. She simply did not seem to believe in inherent differences between the sexes.

I am fascinated with this period in history, which is why I finished reading this book. It's a historic work, important. I will read more of Sand. But this one needs to be approached from so many angles, it's not a stand-alone.

Вікторія Слінявчук

Есть такой литературный типаж - байронический герой. Как правило, это красавец-аристократ, надменный и загадочный, но тонко чувствующий (в глубине души, где-то очень глубоко...). Он познал жизнь, разочаровался в людях и "свете", смотрит на мир со скепсисом и ставит себя выше общественных условностей. Характерные его приметы: бледность лица, холодная ироническая улыбка, высокий лоб, омраченный печальными думами. Ну и конечно, он чрезвычайно привлекателен для противоположного пола. Но он одинок среди толпы, в любви и браке он разочарован, как и во всем другом. В русской литературе этот типаж представлен, например, Онегиным и Печориным.
Так вот, заглавная героиня этого романа, Лелия - как раз такой байронический герой, только женского пола. Единственный известный мне случай, когда женщина представлена в такой роли.
И образ, созданный Жорж Санд, глубже и серьезнее похожих мужских персонажей.
Честно говоря, те же Онегин и Печорин никогда не вызывали у меня особого участия. С жиру бесятся, ей-богу. У них были все возможности, которые только могли быть у человека тех времен, но им всё было скучно, всё надоело.
У Лелии гораздо больше причин для разочарования и недовольства. Конечно, она богатая и знатная красавица (без богатства изобразить свободную и независимую героиню в те времена, пожалуй, было сложно). Конечно, мужчины сходят по ней с ума, хотя она далеко не юная девушка - возраст не указан, однако можно предположить, что в начале романа ей около 35. Лелия - не обычная femme fatale. У нее есть веские причины отвергать любовь и брак - те формы, в которых они существуют в ее время, категорически не устраивают ее. Лелия никогда не была замужем, детей у нее нет. У нее был возлюбленный, с которым она прожила три года, но вне брака (скандально для первой половины 19-го века!). После этого романа она разочаровалась в любви, и больше не связывала себя с мужчинами. В любви она согласна только на равенство, но это недостижимо.
У главной героини есть сестра, Пульхерия, и она, в отличие от "аскетки" Лелии, куртизанка. Однако это противопоставление - отнюдь не банальная дихотомия Мадонна/Шлюха. Обе женщины сознательно отказались от якобы наилучшей, самой почетной, роли жены и матери. Но какие могут быть альтернативы? Лелия - ничья любовница, Пульхерия - "любовница всех".
В отличие от байронических героев-мужчин Лелия всё же не отказывается от идеи найти свое место в жизни и изменить общество, в котором она живет. Жорж Санд нашла для своей героини, пожалуй, единственный возможный по тем временам карьерный путь - религию. В итоге Лелия принимает постриг и очень скоро становится аббатиссой. Она сама говорит, что это практичное решение, никак не связанное с религиозной экзальтацией, ее брак с церковью - это "брак по расчету". В этой роли Лелия мечтает заняться образованием девочек и женщин, и ей даже удается начать воплощать свои планы.
Однако финал неутешительный... Ей не дадут реализовать свои замыслы в полной мере.

Lauren

Maybe I missed the point of this book, but I couldn't appreciate it. "Lelia" is not really a novel: the characters are more symbolic/allegorical than realistic and there is barely a plot. Instead, the book is comprised of various long, disjointed "essays" and dramatic monologues that the characters speak. While I appreciate some of Sand's writing (there are a few gorgeous descriptions, especially of natural scenery), overall "Lelia" dragged on and on and I find myself hard-pressed to see the point. Lelia herself is hard to like. While I felt sorry for the way she is consumed by self-hatred, I found her lack of hope for humanity and utter disdain for everything (literally everything) as a symbol of the doomed nature of the human race extremely annoying. Maybe this is an unsophisticated point of view, but much of this novel read like the diary of an angsty teenager who thinks no one understands him/her. When Stenio takes her to a beautiful mountain valley, her response is to complain about how the valley is actually further reason to believe that humans are terrible. She thinks that nature can never be beautiful because if any person were to stay in it, he or she would ultimately try to force the landscape to conform to his or her wishes. While an interesting thought, she seemed needlessly sulky and emo in this scene as in most of the novel. And don't even get me started on Stenio-- all he does for the whole book is moan about how he will (literally) die if Lelia doesn't love him the way he wants her to. To her credit, Sand portrays the ways in which men often read their fantasies onto "ideal" women, rather than see the woman as who she truly is-- a human being. I can appreciate Sand's portrayal of a complex female character as remarkable for its time, especially in her frank discussion of female sexuality (very controversial in the 19th century), but overall "Lelia" felt pretentious, overwritten, and pointless.

Cynthia Hart

For me this was more challenging than other Sand titles. Lelia was published 1833 when Sand is 29. A dazzling portrait of opulence and oppression.

Not the easiest read. Mythic psychologic proportions and an extravagance speak a collective unconscious language and of a time/place in history.

A leacher priest's obsession with heroine defines Church attitudes in need of reformation & reflect proximity to mass atrocities committed by church against women throughout Europe.

Linda S.

This was a good book, but it took me a long time to read. I do most of my reading at night before bed and I did not have the energy to concentrate that this book required most of the time--probably because it was written in French almost 200 years ago. It was way ahead of its time, very feminist. Interesting book.

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