— George Sand French novelist and memoirist; pseudonym of Lucile Aurore Dupin 1804 - 1876
On Frédéric Chopin, in Oeuvres autobiographiques, edited by Georges Lubin, Vol. 2; Histoire de ma vie, p. 446. I [Jeffrey Kallberg] have modified somewhat the English translation printed in George Sand, Story of My Life: The Autobiography of George Sand, group translation ed. Thelma Jurgrau (Albany, 1991), p. 1109. The chapter on Chopin dates from August or September 1854.
Context: His creation was spontaneous, miraculous. He found it without searching for it, without foreseeing it. It came to his piano suddenly, complete, sublime, or it sang in his head during a walk, and he would hasten to hear it again by, tossing it off on his instrument. But then would begin the most heartbreaking labor I have ever witnessed. It was a series of efforts, indecision, and impatience to recapture certain details of the theme he had heard: what had come to him all of a piece, he now over-analyzed in his desire to write it down, and his regret at not finding it again "neat," as he said, would throw him into a kind of despair. He would shut himself up in his room for days at a time, weeping, pacing, breaking his pens, repeating and changing a single measure a hundred times, writing it and effacing it with equal frequency, and beginning again the next day with a meticulous and desperate perseverance. He would spend six weeks on one page, only to end up writing it just as he had traced it in his first outpouring.