The Devil's Pool
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The Devil's Pool

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  1,074 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The Devil’s Pool is one of a group of pastoral novels inspired by the countryside of Nohant in Berry, where George Sand grew up. These novels are simple stories of country life, in which Sand records local customs and manners, depicting a timeless idyll, unaffected by the outside world and the political events of the time.With his wife dead and three young children to rais...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Hesperus Press (first published 1846)
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A short ordinary romance story about romanticized versions of the French peasantry. The plot is boring, but the descriptions of rural life and peasant customs are charming. This is a romanticized look at the peasant, and one which differs from the stark grimness of her own musings on Dürer's engravings in the introduction.
Strikes a slightly odd note between fairytale and a record of the poetic side of rural life. I didn't feel that any of the characters were really given a chance to come alive. There's a lot of expositional dialogue: "'Germaine ... you really must make up your mind about finding a new wife. You've been a widower for two years since you lost my daughter, and your son is seven. You're coming up to thirty, my lad, and you know that once you've passed that age, round these parts, a man is considered...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
A quick little read.

The book is divided into three parts: Introduction from the author; a story that is somewhat of a parable or fairy tale; appendices that provide information about rural life.

The introduction is a commentary on painting of a ploughman, in which a devil dances waiting for the ploughman's death. Using this, Sand complains that too much of literature is religious, and that it should be about love.

The story is a love story as can be expected and the outcome very predictable. I sus...more
My first foray into the works of George Sand was disappointing. Perhaps something is lost in translation.


The story begins by praising the lifestyle and virtues of the peasant class, which leads into the love story of Germain and Marie, meant, I suppose to illustrate the beauty and purity of their bucolic lives. "Little Marie" is menaced at every turn by dangerous male sexuality until she is safely married to one of those threats, Germain himself, who seems at times to be on th...more
By the 1840s, George Sand's novel-writing career had progressed beyond her decade-long "anti-matriomonial" period, and she began to write (among many other projects) some more upbeat and happy love stories about the peasants of her native Berry region in central France. La Mare au Diable or The Devil's Pool is probably the best known of her popular trio of "pastoral novels" that includes La Petite Fadette and Francois le Champi.Again, Sand shows her respect for the working peasants of her area,...more
"Ces gens-là parlent trop français pour nous, et, depuis Rabelais et Montaigne, les progès de la langue nous ont fait perdre bien des vieilles richesses. Il en est ainsi de tous les progrès, il faut en prendre son parti. Mais c'est encore un plaisir d'entendre ces idiotismes pittoresques régner sur le vieux terroir du centre de la France; d'autant plus que c'est la véritable expression du caractère moqueusement tranquille et plaisamment disert des gens qui s'en servent."
(George Sand, "Les Noces...more
This read was for the 2011 French Female Writers Throughout the Ages reading challenge, 19th century novel.

This novel is one of the French classics you are meant to study in school so I am not quite sure how it happened that I had to wait for Céline's reading challenge before I got around to reading it!

La Mare au Diable can be acquired in pretty much any French bookstore from your tiny local one to the big Fnac and should not cost you over two Euros. Quite a nice change from the other books I ha...more
Pete daPixie
A short but very readable tale set in the French Berry region amongst the agricultural peasantry of the eighteenth century. A more gentle and almost poetic portrayal of country life than say Hardy's 'Tess'. George Sand writes with a light easy flow, yet her story telling in 'The Devil's Pool' has hints of something dark lurking on the next page.
When her world was rushing forward, out from the countryside into the industrial cities, Sand reflects on the rural world where she spent her childhood....more
Philip Lane
A rather thin book for a rather thin story. I am intrigued as to why this extended short story is well regarded. I can only assume that there is an element of folk history that is appealing. There is an extensive description of the customs surrounding a French country wedding which are quite appealing. The actual plot is slight and based on the traditional boy meets girl story. I kept expecting some sort of spooky twist as the title refers to a pool that the lovers end up camping beside and is s...more
S.D. Johnson
A light-hearted novella addressing some serious issues. Initially I was skeptical reading the first part and found Sand's introductory chapter to be at turns romanticizing poverty and condescending to it. After reading the whole thing though I believe she had a sincere interest in humanity. The story is romantic, sometimes witty, and sometimes it seems a disguised pamphlet for socialism or women's rights, but it is only in that it is provocative, because she is never didactic.
Güzel bir öykü idi. Kendimi köyde hissettim. Farklı bir zamana daldım.
Recommended by the man who mends my bicycle. He's a fine fellow.
With a title like “The Devil’s Pool,” I have to admit I was expecting a story that was a little, well, creepier. Especially when one summary stated, in substance, that Germain is seen as an old guy at nearly thirty, respectable, who would never! make a move on a 16 year old farm girl he is escorting to her place as a shepherdess.

Ah, well. That is what I get when I get caught up in expectations. George Sand was such a boundary pusher in her personal life, I thought maybe she would reveal this lec...more
C.C. Thomas
I suspect this book is a classic in only one sense of the word--it's oldness. Goodness knows, there is no other reason to read it.

The first part of the book is a preaching by the author against popular culture and the public's need to celebrate it. Not much has seemed to change since 1846, huh? Instead, Sand states, we should celebrate the life of a simple man.

The second part of the book is the story of a simple man. Germain is a hard-working widower with three children. At first glance, he see...more
I'd not read any Sand bfore and I must admit I didn't care for this one at all. I think growing up in the countryside has given me an in-built hatred for anything that pictures "idyllic peasants". If I'm going to read novels about the countryside I want them to be about people filled with hate for their society, not paragon's of virtue. The problem with this book was that everyone was just too happy and perfect. I felt sorry for the main character Marie, even though she was pure good and empty-h...more
Les personnages sont mièvres et superficiels. Le style est académique. Les dialogues sont tout à fait improbable. L'auteur est condescendant. L'intrigue est indigente.
Comment cette œuvre peut-elle avoir une place dans la littérature française qui soit plus qu'une apostille dans une encyclopédie est pour moi un mystère.
Très décevant....
My first George Sand! Considering the title and the author's scandalous reputation, I was surprised to find this pastoral story to be sweet and idyllic. It begins with a preface by the author which was dense enough that I had to read some sentences more than once to get the gist of them. The theme of the preface was death, so I expected a heavy story. Instead I found a cheerful and humorous (and short) romance. I found the writing beautiful, so kudos to the translator. I'm assuming it's beautifu...more
Slugged through a paper on this one. It was SO challenging to glean anything interesting and analytical from the mind-numbingly simple plot. Which is surprising because George Sand was pretty saucy and had a lot of affairs. You'd think she would write something a little more exciting, but this was like the most predictable of rom-coms. I guess we were supposed to root for Germain and la Petite Marie to get together (which was so obvious and drawn out that the climactic scene had no effect on me)...more
Years ago I saw a movie about Sand's relationship with Chopin (the unfortunately titled Impromptu, with Judy Davis as Sand) and I have been curious to read something by her since then. You'll be able to guess the whole plot from the set up: a country widower with three children sets out with a young neighbor girl on a short journey to a nearby villiage to meet a potential new bride, but falls in love instead with his travelling companion. It is a short, but pleasant read, with nice detail about...more
so dull! slightly offensive (the ignorant peasant! if only they weren't so ignorant and oppressed, they would be able to appreciate the beauty of their lives. we're educated though so we can appreciate it for them) -- all of this idyllic country life, the strong farmer who's stayed youthful despite his years of hard work and personal tragedy, the beautiful young girl with every imaginable virtue, true love, unsympathetic villains with no complexity or ambiguity... there's just not much going on....more
Et dire que j'ai lu ça au collège sans broncher, il y a une trentaine d'années je dirai... bon alors depuis le terrain s'est quelque peu modifié et ce qui m'a plu à l'époque n'est guère de mise à l'heure actuelle. La mare au diable est une gentille bluette mignonnette sur une idylle entre une jeune bergère pauvre de 16 ans et un veuf paysan aussi, plus riche et plus âgé. Une autre époque...

Alors c'est très bien écrit, c'est une belle illustration sociologique des moeurs populaires de l'époque,...more
Germain is told by his father-in-law that he needs to remarry. His father-in-law believes he has the perfect woman for Germaine in a neighboring town. He is asked to escort Mary to a shepherding job in a neighboring village. Germaine's small son follows his father and ends up going along. Along the way, Mary's kind concern for his son convinces Germaine that she is the perfect girl for him.
Most of the story was well written until the author digresses on how marriages are performed in this small...more
La Mare au Diable met en scène un jeune veuf, Germain, qui vit seul avec ses trois enfants. Son beau-père le poussant à se remarier pour le bien des enfants, Germain accepte de rendre visite à une veuve d’une région voisine qui recherche un nouvel époux. Pour faire le voyage, il accompagne Marie, une jeune fille qui a trouvé une place dans une ferme de la même région. Et lorsqu’un orage éclate, réfugiés dans une forêt, Marie et Germain discutent, se confient et se rapprochent l’un de l’autre.
Mark Stephenson
Read in a translation entitled 'The Devil's Pool'. Very touching love story that reminded me in a way of Eliot's Adam Bede (which of course came later) - glorifying rural life and lore and the simplicity and honesty of an extended peasant family in a close-knit community. According to my bio of George Eliot, she devoured many of Sands' novels at an early age so there can be little coincidence in the above noticed similarities. This is my first exposure to Sand but will not be the last!
A fine story, although you know exactly what will happen. I honestly think Sand wrote this as an excuse to record the rural customs of the time and place, and as that goes, I think she was successful. Sand wrote a lot of novels, and it puzzles me why she isn't more read. Apparently George Eliot was a fan at the time. Anyway, as a sort of pastoral, this wasn't bad.
Esteban Gordon
"No, henceforth, our business is not with death, but with life." Sand's fit response to the "melancholy" paintings of Holbein and to this short work in her introduction. This is not the most exciting, spooky (Devil's Pool!), or political work by Sand, yet her descriptions of the long, lost wedding customs of Brittany are "spellbinding."
An interesting depiction of rural life in early France, with glimpses of very old pagan traditions. Because it is a book about the simplicity of life, of human nature, and of humans' interaction and interpretations of nature, there is a timelessness to the careful details recorded by Sand, taken from her own village.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ok but where is the plot ? It's lost in all that talk about little people and the language. A plus for the mystery of the place that changed everything.
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Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin, later Baroness (French:baronne) Dudevant (1 July 1804 – 8 June 1876), best known by her pseudonym George Sand (French pronunciation: [ʒɔʁʒ sɑ̃d]), was a French novelist. She is considered by some a feminist although she refused to join this movement. She is regarded as the first French female novelist to gain a major reputation.

Sand's reputation came into question whe...more
More about George Sand...
La Petite Fadette Indiana Consuelo Mauprat Story of My Life: The Autobiography of George Sand (Suny Series, Women Writers in Translation)

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“The maid told him that a girl and a child had come looking for him, but since she didn't know them, she hadn't cared to ask them in, and had told them to go on to Mers.
"Why didn't you let them in?" asked Germain angrily. "People must be very suspicious in this part of the world, if they won't open the front door to a neighbor."
"Well, naturally!" replied the maid. "In a house as rich as this, you have to keep a close watch on things. While the master's away I'm responsible for everything, and I can't just open the door to anyone at all."
"That's a mean way to live," said Germain; "I'd rather be poor than live in fear like that. Good-bye to you, miss, and good-bye to this horrible country of yours!”
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