Fanchette. Se vend au profit de Fanchette
Paris: [Imprimerie de Schneider et Langrand], .
Paris: [Imprimerie de Schneider et Langrand], . First edition. Contemporary 19th century quarter calf binding with green boards; gentle wear to edges. Internally an excellent copy with original wraps bound in; occasional light foxing and small paper loss to margins of last two leaves, neither affecting text. Octavo collates complete with 31 pages. An exceptionally rare copy of Sand’s first work on social justice, of which only 500 were printed. This copy is the only one known to have come onto the market, with none in the modern auction records and the only other held at La Bibliotheque Nationale de France.
Having dedicated the first decade of her career toward writing novels about women’s internal and social struggles, George Sand made her first move into activism with Fanchette. Shocked by the story of a young girl with mental illness, who had been refused refuge in a convent and was soon after discovered pregnant and arrested for begging, Sand opted to expose the events in a set of letters printed in the Revue Independente. Following a wave of public outcry, “Sand decided to have [the letters] printed in brochure form with the plan that half the copies would be distributed free to the workers of La Chatre, the others sold for the benefit of Fanchette. Five hundred copies of this brochure of thirty-one pages were printed and circulated. The Fanchette case, therefore, revealing as it did an appalling lack of sympathy for the poor and misfortunate, convinced George Sand that an effort should be made to awaken the citizens of La Chatre to their duties as members of a community” (Bowes). This publication marked a new phase of Sand’s writing career, which more directly emphasized social justice, particularly for vulnerable women. A rare and important work. (Item #2030)