The Master Pipers by George Sand
George Sand was the most prolific and famous nineteenth-century woman writer in France, and her energies and wide-ranging passions infuse her many novels. The Master Pipers (1852) is a love story set in the contrasting landscapes of the Berry and Bourbonnais regions in central France. Sand's exploration of the developing relationships of two sets of lovers underlines her belief that both partners in a marriage should consider themselves equal. The novel also gives a vivid picture of local customs, speech, and dances, and Sand investigates the nature of music, particularly through the predicament of Joseph, a talented child whose very gift renders him incapable of communicating with others until he discovers the musical instruments that will allow him to speak. Written in the aftermath of the failed revolution of 1848, the novel's political and social message, though underplayed, is clear: only by combining what is best in French peasant stock with a code of non-violence will there be any possibility of the profound social change for which Sand yearned. This book is intended for students of French Literature from A-level up; students (of all levels) of folklore, music, women's studies.