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Cyrano de Bergerac


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A: Edmond Rostand Pf: 1897, Paris Pb: 1898 Tr: 1898 G: Romantic com. in 5 acts; French verse S: Paris and Arras, 1640 C: 42 m, 15 f, extrasCyrano de Bergerac excels in both swordsmanship and wit, but suffers from having a very large nose. He is in love with his cousin Roxane, and so is disappointed when she confesses to him her love for the young and handsome Christian de Neuvillette. Since Christian's intelligence does not match his looks, Cyrano agrees to help him in his wooing. He writes a beautiful letter in Christian's name, and Cyrano prompts Christian from the shadows, while he speaks to Roxane on her balcony. To Cyrano's dismay, this is so successful that Christian is invited up to join Roxane, and they marry at once. The Comte de Guiche, who wanted Roxane for himself, orders his men, including Cyrano and Christian, into battle. While defending Arras against a Spanish siege, Cyrano continues to send to Roxane love letters supposedly from Christian. Christian knows that Roxane in fact loves not him but the writer of the letters and seeks his death in battle. Roxane retires to a convent to mourn her lost love. Mortally wounded by enemies, Cyrano visits her convent, and when he reads ‘Christian's’ last letter aloud to her, she at last recognizes the truth, but the dying Cyrano does not betray his secret.

A: Edmond Rostand Pf: 1897, Paris Pb: 1898 Tr: 1898 G: Romantic com. in 5 acts; French verse S: Paris and Arras, 1640 C: 42 m, 15 f, extras

One of the most popular plays of 19th-century France, Cyrano de Bergerac offers a counterblast to the tradition of the drawing-room comedy and to the harsh realism of the naturalist theatre by returning to a heroic past of derring-do and uncomplicated love. In addition to neo-Romantic nostalgia, the central role, based on a historical figure, combines action with intellect and impetuousness with sensitivity. It has been performed in film versions by Gérard Depardieu and Steve Martin.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights) — Theatre.


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Authors

Edmond Rostand (1868—1918) French dramatist and poet


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