Between Science and Sorcery: Reimagining Human and Animal Relationality in George Sand’s "La Petite Fadette"

In La Petite Fadette, one of George Sand’s romans champêtres, the relationship that Fadette shares with the natural world is rooted in ancestral, embodied knowledge as well as close attention and observation. These relationships demonstrate connection and reciprocity which defies the common ideology of the time that positioned humans as superior to the nonhuman world. The present project argues that throughout the novel, Fadette is able to pass along her unique worldview to Landry, which changes his relationships to the nonhuman worlds. On the other hand, Sylvinet fails to take in Fadette’s teachings, which ultimately harms the nonhuman world around him and contributes to his inability to find companionship. This essay demonstrates how the relationships between the human characters and the animal world significantly shape one’s understanding of the novel and give a fuller picture of Sand’s social and political aims.

Leah Powers
University of Colorado Boulder