Photo courtesy of Paule Paris
Click for information about the Janis Glasgow Memorial Prize
Click for her article Mouny-Robin: nouvelle fantastique de George Sand (1841)
A Tribute to Janis Glasgow (August 24, 1934 - May 2, 2001)
George Sand Studies mourns the death of Janis Glasgow, a pioneer in Sand studies. Janis began her dissertation, Psychological Realism in George Sand's Early Novels and Short Stories: 1831-1835, in the early 1960s, when Sand's works were far more difficult to obtain than they are today, before Women's Studies programs began to flourish, and even before Georges Lubin's monumental edition of the Correspondance had started to appear (vol. I, 1964). Both she and her UCLA mentor, Neil Oxenhandler, deserve our gratitude; neither could have known then what Sand studies would become in North America.
Janis went on to publish a courageous and groundbreaking book on Sand and Balzac (who would have dared equate them at the time?), Une Esthétique de comparaison: Balzac et George Sand: La Femme abandonnée et Metella (Nizet,1978), as well as articles in George Sand Studies, Amis de George Sand, and many volumes of conference proceedings. (See the MLA International Bibliography for the detailed listing.) Over a period of twenty years, from 1976 to 1996, Janis attended all twelve international George Sand conferences, giving a paper at each. More importantly — and characteristic of her generous actions on behalf of others — in February of 1981, she herself organized the Fourth International Sand Conference at her home institution, San Diego State University, a conference she dedicated to Georges Lubin, "in gratitude for his guidance and friendship."The three glorious, sunny days included an exhibition from Gargilesse, organized and presided over by Christiane Smeets-Sand; a Chopin concert; a theatrical performance of Aldo le Rimeur; a dance production, Her Name was George; as well as some thirty scholarly papers. In 1985, Janis published George Sand: Collected Essays (Whitson), providing a record of most of the presentations and one of the images donated by artist Françoise Gilot, creator of the conference poster.
That volume was not the only one Janis edited for other Sand scholars. Her efforts to share Sand's work as broadly as possible also resulted in her introduction to "Metella,"in the volume of Nouvelles edited by Eve Sourian (des femmes, 1986); the now often studied Gabriel (des femmes, 1988); and, with art historian Henriette Bessis, Questions d'art et de littérature (des femmes, 1991).
If generosity characterized many of Janis Glasgow's scholarly activities — and perhaps explains in part her attraction to the great-hearted writer of Nohant — it also typified her personal life, as so many GSA members remarked on learning of her death. She was a generous mentor to many younger scholars and a gracious host to numerous Sandistes who visited her at her Pacific Beach condominium (where they met the regal feline Topaze until the beloved cat's death). Janis valued her friendships and maintained them faithfully through a vast correspondence (perhaps not twenty-six volumes worth, but still…). And how many of us have been on the receiving end of Janis's widespread sharing of conference photos, for example? Such loyalty was not limited to friends. Janis cared for her elderly parents, with exceptional devotion, even when her own health had deteriorated.
Despite a life-long chronic illness that was seldom spoken of, Janis let nothing stand in the way of her love of life. Those of us privileged to know her have many happy memories: of her joy at listening to gypsy violin music in Debrecen, her laughter with friends caught in a downpour in Tours, her love of art (Janis was also a water colorist), her love of travel, and, most of all, her love of people.
To honor her memory, the George Sand Association has established the Janis Glasgow Memorial Prize to recognize the best doctoral dissertation in full or in part on Sand, in English or French, for the years 2001, 2002, or 2003, a prize to be awarded during the 2004 Sixteenth International George Sand Conference which will celebrate the bicentennial of Sand's birth.
Annabelle Rea Occidental College