Set in the French countryside of George Sand’s childhood and narrated in the unique voice of a Berrichon peasant, La Petite Fadette is a beloved 1848 novel about identical twin brothers and Fadette, the mysterious waif with whom they both fall in love. The brothers, Landry and Sylvinet, belong to a highly respected farm family. When young Landry meets Fadette, whose very name suggests that she is a witch, he is captivated by the girl despite her lowly status and disreputable family. Sylvinet soon follows suit. Fadette’s relationship with the twins defies the patriarchal norms of French society as well as the expectations of the village, resulting in a tale of love, courage, and clever strategy winning out over superstition and prejudice.
Often regarded as a simple country tale, Sand’s novel is layered with meaning, including subtle nods to the burgeoning desire for political and sexual equality in nineteenth-century France. This thoughtful critical translation by Gretchen van Slyke brings the complexity of the original story to life. Her introduction explores the autobiographical and political dimensions of the novel, and her translation preserves the rustic charm and archaic flavor of Sand’s language.
An invaluable contribution to French literary studies and nineteenth-century literature studies, this new edition ensures that La Petite Fadette will be read by generations to come.