'George Sand' (Aurore Dupin, 1804-1876) was France's bestselling writer, rivalled in her time only by Victor Hugo. She was at the centre of French intellectual and artistic life: her circle included Liszt and Delacroiz, Blazac and Flaubert. Yet she was known as much for her excessive life as for her plays, stories and enduring novels like Indiana, Lelia and Mauprat.
The daughter of a prostitute and an aristocrat, Sand grew up acutely aware of social injustice and prejudice. Convent-educated, she became a mischievous, flamboyant rebel: her long, troubled romance with Chopin was just one of many affairs with well-known figures, but her most desperate love was for a beautiful actress.