Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Title Page

Fiction

October 20, 1985|VICTORIA KOHL

LUCREZIA FLORIANI by George Sand; translated by Julius Eker (Academy Chicago: $16.95). Devotees of 19th-Century European romanticism will be intrigued by the first appearance in English of George Sand's scandalous 1847 roman a clef . Admired in her day by the likes of Flaubert and Dostoevski, Sand, who wore trousers and smoked cigars in public, owes most of her current renown to her independent way of life (she had a succession of lovers who were celebrities in their day) and her long liaison with Frederic Chopin, whose fictional counterpart is dissected here in painstaking detail. Lucrezia (read Sand) is a free-spirited, open-hearted, wealthy, former doyenne of the theater, whose uninhibited life has resulted in four children born out of wedlock to three different fathers. Her generosity of spirit and vulnerability to "true love" invite disaster when she meets the effete, neurotic Prince Karol. Attracted to the prince's display of filial devotion, Lucrezia is fatally blinded by his egocentricity, consuming morbidity and spiteful jealousy. His chronic accusations about her past lovers and bitter possessiveness destroy her. There are long, preachy monologues about the nature of love and the dialogue between the lovers is wooden; no doubt something is lost in the translation. The most intriguing--though not particularly successful--aspect of this novel is how Sand the artist toys with her readers; she questions the nature of fiction as she intrudes into her own narrative, a technique not so far afield from what John Fowles accomplishes in "The French Lieutenant's Woman." Fascinating because it is, at times, a striking psychological portrait of a famous 19th-Century liaison, "Lucrezia Floriani" works less as a romantic novel than as a platform for George Sand's apparent need for flamboyant self-display.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|