Cyrano de Bergerac

Rostand, Edmond (1868–1918), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Rostand’s Cyrano is a fiction invoking the real Cyrano de Bergerac, a seventeenth century French playwright, poet, and duellist, who was an early creator of science-fiction fantasy, in particular a comic history of a journey to the Moon. From the scanty details of the real Cyrano’s life documented by his friend Henri Le Bret, Rostand created a larger-than-life comic hero, whose wit, courage, spirit and ability partially overcome his physical defect, an embarrassingly large nose. Rostand cleverly and meticulously evokes the historical period in which his hero lived. The play is written in rhyming verse, as is this translation, stylistically supporting some of the play’s best wit and verbal effects. The plot centres around Cyrano’s unrequited and unrecognised love for Roxanne; his indomitable courage in the face of disappointment and failure; and the many ways in which he defends himself and attacks his enemies while never losing his sense of humour, his delight in words, and his panache. There are moments of rare beauty and pathos in the verse, and the overall effect certainly justifies the immense enthusiasm that greeted its first performances, and the many revivals of the play since, especially in film adaptation.

Author Details

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Kline, A. S.

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