Mauprat (novel)

Mauprat is a novel about love and education by the French novelist George Sand. It was published in serial form in the French literary magazine Revue des deux Mondes from April to June 1837. Like many of Sand's novels, Mauprat borrows from various fictional genres: the Gothic novel, chivalric romance, the Bildungsroman, detective fiction, and the historical novel.[1]

Mauprat, de George Sand, Paris, Bonnaire, 1837, volume 1, page de titre.png
Title page from the first edition
AuthorGeorge Sand
Publication date

Plot summaryEdit

The novel's plot has been called a plot of female socialization, in which the hero is taught by the heroine how to live peacefully in society. Mauprat resembles the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. As this would suggest, the novel is a romance. However, Sand resists the immediate happy ending of marriage between the two main characters in favor of a more gradual story of education, including a reappraisal of the passive female role in courtship and marriage. Sand also calls into question Rousseau's ideal version of the female education as described in his novel Emile, namely, training women for domesticity and the home.

The novel, set before the French Revolution, depicts the coming of age of a nobleman named Bernard Mauprat. The story is narrated by the old Bernard in his country home many years later, as told to a nameless young male visitor. Bernard recounts how, raised by a violent gang of his feudal kinsmen after the death of his mother, he becomes a brutalized "enfant sauvage". When his cousin Edmée is held captive by Bernard's "family", he helps her escape, but elicits a promise of marriage from her by threatening rape. Thus begins the long courtship of Bernard and Edmée. The novel ends with a dramatic trial scene, similar to that in Stendhal's The Red and the Black.[2]

During the period Sand wrote the novel, she was gradually becoming more interested in the problem of political equality in society. She had read widely about the views of socialist thinkers such as Pierre Leroux, with whom she went on to form a journal, the Revue Indépendante. In keeping with Sand's interest in equality, Mauprat depicts a new type of literary figure, the peasant visionary Patience. In addition, part of the novel takes place during the American Revolutionary War.

Publication historyEdit

Mauprat was serialized in four parts in the French literary magazine Revue des deux Mondes from April to June 1837. It was published as a two-volume collected edition by Félix Bonnaire in August of the same year.[3][4] The novel has been translated into English several times, including translations by Matilda M. Hays in 1847,[5] Virginia Vaughan in 1870,[6] Henrietta E. Miller in 1891,[7] Stanley Young in 1902,[8] and Sylvia Raphael in 1997.[3]

Reception and legacyEdit

American author Henry James called Mauprat a "solid, masterly, manly book".[9]

Russian literary critic Vissarion Belinsky praised the novel for its "profound and poetic idea, that of a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman raising a man above his bestial passions". According to Columbia University's Lesley Singer Herrmann, Belinsky's opinion of Mauprat "set the tone for Sand's reception in Russia in the 1840s and 50s, where she was proclaimed the 'advocate of women as Schiller had been the advocate of humanity.'"[10]

The French women's magazine Elle similarly hailed Mauprat as Sand's "feminist manifesto" in 2021 for its frank depiction of sexual harassment and violence towards women, centuries before the Me Too movement.[11]

Literary scholar Patricia Thomson argued that Mauprat influenced Emily Brontë's 1847 novel Wuthering Heights. She noted that both stories take place in the 1770s; contain "uninhibited ... references to the devil, hell, and damnation"; use "two houses to represent opposing ways of life"; and recount "the obsessive devotion of one man for one woman, which lasted not only for life but beyond the grave". Thomson stated that "the parallels and connections are there in profusion and I myself have little doubt that Mauprat formed part of the literary – and therefore, living – experience on which Emily Brontë drew."[9]

Film adaptationsEdit

Mauprat was adapted into a silent film with the same title by French director Jean Epstein in 1926. Luis Buñuel was assistant director on this film; it was his first film credit.[12] The novel was also adapted into a film for television by French director Jacques Trébouta [fr] in 1972.[13][14]


  1. ^ Powell, David A., ed. (1992). George Sand Today: Proceedings of the Eighth International George Sand Conference, Tours 1989. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. ISBN 978-0-8191-8522-8.
  2. ^ Sand, George (1981). Lacassagne, Jean-Pierre (ed.). Mauprat. Collection Folio Classique, No. 1311 (in French). Paris: Gallimard. ISBN 978-2-07-037311-6. OCLC 299767436.
  3. ^ a b Sand, George (1997). Mauprat. Translated by Sylvia Raphael (Oxford World's Classics ed.). Oxford University Press. p. XVIII. ISBN 0-19-282434-1. OCLC 36746464.
  4. ^ Sicard, Claude (1968). "La genèse de Mauprat. Remarques sur le manuscrit du roman" [The genesis of Mauprat: Remarks on the manuscript of the novel]. Revue d'Histoire littéraire de la France (in French). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 68 (5): 782–797. JSTOR 40523375. Mauprat parut dans la Revue des Deux Mondes les 1er avril, 15 avril, 1er mai et 1er juin 1837, avant d'être mis en vente, en deux volumes in-8°, chez Félix Bonnaire, le 7 août de la même année. [Mauprat appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes on 1 April, 15 April, 1 May and 1 June 1837, before being put on sale, in two volumes in-8°, by Félix Bonnaire, on 7 August of the same year.]
  5. ^ Sand, George (1847). Mauprat. Translated by Matilda M. Hays. London. OCLC 266068000.
  6. ^ Sand, George (1870). Mauprat. Translated by Virginia Vaughan. Boston: Roberts Brothers. OCLC 867639650.
  7. ^ Sand, George (1891). Mauprat. Translated by Henrietta E. Miller. Chicago: Laird & Lee. LCCN 06035677. OCLC 1049687719.
  8. ^ Sand, George (1902). Gosse, Edmund (ed.). Mauprat. The French Classical Romances. Translated by Stanley Young. New York: P. F. Collier & Son. OCLC 894152310.
  9. ^ a b Thomson, Patricia (1973). "Wuthering Heights and Mauprat" (PDF). The Review of English Studies. Oxford University Press. 24 (93): 26–37. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  10. ^ Singer Herrmann, Lesley (1979). "'Woman as Hero' in Turgenev, Goncharov, and George Sand's 'Mauprat'". Ulbandus Review. New York: Columbia University, Department of Slavic Languages. 2 (1): 128–138.
  11. ^ "' Mauprat ', le manifeste féministe visionnaire de George Sand" [Mauprat, the visionary feminist manifesto of George Sand]. Elle (in French). 8 March 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Le Berry, terre de cinéma" [Berry, the land of cinema]. La Nouvelle République (in French). 19 July 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Mauprat (1972)". BFI. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Mauprat (1926) – La critique". Avoir Alire (in French). 4 January 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2021.

External linksEdit

  •   Media related to Mauprat at Wikimedia Commons
  •   French Wikisource has original text related to this article: Mauprat
  •   The full text of Mauprat at Wikisource
  • Mauprat at Project Gutenberg