Cyrano de Bergerac
|Cyrano de Bergerac|
Cyrano de Bergerac
6 March 1619|
|Died||28 July 1655
Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French dramatist and duelist. In fictional works about his life he is featured with an overly large nose, which people would travel from miles around to see. Portraits suggest that he did have a big nose, though not nearly as large as described in works about him. Cyrano's work furnished models and ideas for subsequent writers.
Life and works 
He was the son of Abel de Cyrano, lord of Mauvières and Bergerac, and Espérance Bellanger. He received his first education from a country priest, and had for a fellow pupil his friend and future biographer, Henri Lebret. He then proceeded to Paris, and the heart of the Latin Quarter, to the college de Dormans-Beauvais, where he had as master Jean Grangier, whom he afterwards ridiculed in his comedy Le Pédant joué (The Pedant Tricked) of 1654. At the age of nineteen, he entered a corps of the guards, serving in the campaigns of 1639 and 1640.
Ishbel Addyman claims that he was not a Gascogne aristocrat, but a descendant of Sardinian fishmonger, that the Bergerac appellation stemmed from a small estate near Paris where he was born, and not in Gascogne, that he suffered tertiary syphilis, and that around 1640 he became the lover of Charles Coypeau d'Assoucy, a writer and musician, until around 1653, when they became engaged in a bitter rivalry. This led to Bergerac sending d'Assoucy death threats that compelled him to leave Paris. The quarrel extended to a series of satirical texts by both men. Bergerac wrote Contre Soucidas (an anagram of his enemy's name) and Contre un ingrat ("Against an Ingrate"), while D’Assoucy counterattacked with Le Combat de Cyrano de Bergerac avec le singe de Brioché, au bout du Pont-Neuf.
The model for the Roxane character of the Rostand play was Bergerac's cousin, who lived with his sister, Catherine de Cyrano, at the Convent of the Daughter of the Cross. Аccording to Addyman she may have had an affair with Cyrano. As in the play, Bergerac did fight at the siege of Arras (1640), a battle of the Thirty Years' War between French and Spanish forces in France (though this was not the more famous final Battle of Arras, fought fourteen years later). One of his confreres in the battle was the Baron Christian of Neuvillette, who married Cyrano's cousin. However, the plotline of the play, Cyrano de Bergerac, involving Roxane and Christian is entirely fictional.
Cyrano de Bergerac's works L'Autre Monde: ou les États et Empires de la Lune (Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon) (published posthumously, 1657) and Les États et Empires du Soleil (The States and Empires of the Sun) (1662) are classics of early modern science fiction. In the former, Cyrano travels to the moon using rockets powered by firecrackers and meets the inhabitants. The moon-men have four legs, musical voices, and firearms that shoot game and cook it.
His mixture of science and romance in the last two works furnished a model for many subsequent writers, among them Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe and probably Voltaire. Corneille and Molière freely borrowed ideas from Le Pédant joué.
He was injured by a falling wooden beam in 1654 while entering the house of his patron, the Duc D'Arpajon. Whether it was a deliberate attempt on his life or merely an accident is unknown. It is also inconclusive as to whether or not his death was a result of the injury, or an unspecified disease. He died over a year later on July 28, 1655, aged 36, at the house of his cousin, Pierre De Cyrano, in Sannois. He was buried in a church in Sannois. However, according to Addyman, he was merely a victim of a street mugging and later died from effects of tertiary syphilis in an asylum, in which he was confined by his own brother Abel de Cyrano.
|French literary history|
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.
The play has been adapted for cinema several times, most recently in 1990 with Gerard Depardieu in the title role. That 1990 version's dialogue is in French with subtitles written by Anthony Burgess in rhymed couplets, mirroring the form of the dialogue in the original play. The most famous film version in English is the 1950 film, with José Ferrer in the title role, a performance for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. In 1959, Hiroshi Inagaki wrote and directed a Japanese version, Aru kengo no shogai (Life of an Expert Swordsman or Samurai Saga), setting the story in 17th century Shogunate Japan and starring Toshiro Mifune as the Cyrano character "Heihachiro Komaki" and Yoko Tsukasa as the Roxanne character "Lady Ochii". Ferrer reprised the role in the 1960 French film Cyrano et d'Artagnan, directed by Abel Gance, opposite Jean-Pierre Cassel as D'Artagnan. Much later, Cassel made a cameo appearance as Cyrano de Bergerac in The Return of the Musketeers: the character was depicted as fifty-something and attempting to travel to the Moon with the aid of a balloon.
Other works 
"The Adventures of Cyrano De Bergerac", by Louis Gallet, was published in English by Jarrolds Publishers (London) in 1900. This is a swashbuckling tale of adventure and romance bearing no resemblance to Rostand's play, other than the outstanding physical characteristics of the De Bergerac character.
Other film interpretations of Rostand include the romantic comedies Roxanne and The Truth About Cats & Dogs, respectively starring Steve Martin and Janeane Garofalo in the Cyrano-like roles. Cyrano Fernández (2007) is a retelling from Venezuela, set in contemporary times, in which Cyrano is disfigured but lacks the large nose.
Geraldine McCaughrean rewrote the play as a novel entitled Cyrano, which was longlisted for the Carnegie Award in 2007. In 1905, the Dutch composer Johan Wagenaar composed an overture, Cyrano de Bergerac, which was a musical depiction of the character. In 1936, Franco Alfano composed his opera, Cyrano de Bergerac, to a libretto based on the play. Eino Tamberg composed another opera titled Cyrano de Bergerac in 1974, to a libretto by Jaan Kross, based on Rostand's play. David Bintley, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, created a ballet of the story in 2007. Most recently, David DiChiera rewrote the play as another opera entitled Cyrano, which was produced first by Michigan Opera Theater and then by the Opera Company of Philadelphia (February 2008).
The character of Cyrano also inspired a song, "Cyrano," by Italian performer Francesco Guccini about the hypocrisy, servitude to conventions, and superficialities of modern show business and political society. Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the main characters in Philip José Farmer's Riverworld novels.
A couple of characters in modern works are based on Cyrano, although not named as such. Robert Heinlein's Glory Road features a cameo appearance by such a figure. The Swordmaster in Alain Ayrole's and Jean-Luc Masbou's French comic book De cape et de crocs portrays a colorful gentleman living on the Moon, at ease either with a sword or with a sonnet, and using both to silence those foolish enough to mock his prominent nose. Umberto Eco’s The Island of the Day Before, set in the 1640s, features a swashbuckling Cyrano-like character named Saint-Savin, who dictates the shy protagonist’s love letters. The game Baldur's Gate II features a gnome named Cyrando who helps Garrick (a none too skilled bard and a party member in the previous game) woo a lady named Irlana. The story (which is observed by the characters but cannot be influenced) ends with Irlana marrying Cyrando, and Garrick running off with a bridesmaid.
"Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk" is a character with a Pinocchio-like nose, whose moniker is a play on the name "Cyrano de Bergerac". Sir Nose is an antagonist within P-Funk mythology, and first appears on the album Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome by Parliament.
The Scottish novelist A. L. Kennedy featured a newly-revived Cyrano in her novel So I am glad (1995). The heroine finds him entering her life where she is under stress as a radio 'voice'. We are left unsure whether Cyrano has returned to live with her as her lover for a time or is a figment of her imagination. In any case, she is engaged by the vitality of his character, his revisiting the events of his life and his unorthodoxy and adventures in modern Glasgow.
In 1998, James L. Carcioppolo wrote and published The Lost Sonnets of Cyrano de Bergerac. The book fictionalizes a dying Cyrano writing a sequence of sonnets in an attempt to come to terms with his conflicted life. It portrays a Cyrano very close to the historical personage without diminishing his love for freedom and individuality.
In the Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea episode "Cyrano", Cyrano de Borbotrak is a poet who is waiting for Roxane and flies to the moon and the sun.
See also 
- Asteroid 3582 Cyrano, named after de Bergerac.
- Cyrano (Damrosch), a four-act opera with music by Walter Damrosch and libretto by William J. Henderson
- Cyrano (opera), an opera in three acts by David DiChiera to a libretto by Bernard Uzan
- Cyrano de Bergerac (Alfano), a four-act opera with music by Franco Alfano and libretto by Henri Caïn
- Cyrano de Bergerac (film)
- Cyrano de Bergerac (play)
- Roxanne (film)
- Addyman, Ishbel (2008). Cyrano: The Life and Legend of Cyrano De Bergerac, Simon & Schuster
- Chronologie, Voyage dans la lune, Garnier-Flammarion 1970, p7
- Voyage dans la lune, Chronology, p.7,Garnier-Flammarion,1970
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinien". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Addyman, Ishbel, Cyrano: The Life and Legend of Cyrano de Bergerac, (Simon & Schuster, 2008), ISBN 0743286197
- Afterword to Cyrano de Bergerac’s The Other World - by Don Webb
- "Tamberg, Eino". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 25 (Second ed.). London. 2001.
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Cyrano de Bergerac|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cyrano de Bergerac|
- Brief biography at Kirjasto (Pegasos)
- Le Vrai Cyrano de Bergerac (French)- Biography
- Cyrano(s) de Bergerac (French) - Information on fictional portrayals compared to the real person
- The Other World: Society and Government of the Moon—annotated English language edition