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     Volume 1 Issue 19 | December 17, 2006 |


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Classic Corner

Cyrano de Bergerac

Edmond Rostand

Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (March 6, 1619 July 28, 1655) was a French Dramatist and duellist born in Paris, who is now best remembered for the many works of fiction which have been woven around his life story, most notably the play by Edmond Rostand which bears his name. In those fictional works he is featured with an overly large nose.

In 1897, the French poet Edmond Rostand published a play, Cyrano de Bergerac , on the subject of Cyrano's life. This play, by far Rostand's most successful work, concentrates on Cyrano's love for the beautiful Roxane, whom he is obliged to woo on behalf of a more conventionally handsome, but less articulate, friend, Christian de Neuvillette, with whom she already is in love.

The play has been translated and performed many times. It has been the subject of several films, including a 1950 film starring Jose Ferrer (for which he won an Academy Award), a 1990 French-language version starring Gerard Depardieu, and a 1987 comedic Hollywood version, Roxane, starring Steve Martin.

A fictionalized version of Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the main characters in Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld novels.

Cyrano was a free thinker and a pupil of Pierre Gassendi, a Canon of the Catholic Church who tried to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity. Cyrano's insistence on reason was rare in his time, and and he would have been very much at home in the Enlightenment that came a century after his death. His free thinking, of course, did not fit well in a period in which the Church and the State were supreme, and when even the laws of art were based on the rules of Aristotle.

He died in Sannois in 1655, at the age of 36.
Cyrano: All my laurels you have riven away... and my roses; yet in spite of you there is one crown I bear away with me. And tonight, when I enter before God, my salute shall sweep away all the stars from the blue threshold! One thing without stain, unspotted from the world in spite of doom mine own
[he raises his hand high] and that is... my white plume.




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