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Paperback Cyrano de Bergerac : A Heroic Comedy in Five Acts Book

ISBN: 1604240741

ISBN13: 9781604240740

Cyrano de Bergerac : A Heroic Comedy in Five Acts

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This French play written entirely in verse is based on the life of Cyrano de Bergerac. Cyrano is known for being a poet, musician and a soldier with skill at dueling. He is in love with Roxane, but his self-doubt, stemming form his overly large nose, has him afraid to declare his love. Roxane tells Cyrano she loves Christian and begs him to protect him. Both men are in love with Roxane and Cyrano agrees to help Christian with love letters for her...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Sharon from Baltimore

The item was received in good time and was as described. I am very satisfied with this purchase

Unexpected and enjoyable quick read

Paris, France during the mid-1600s housed the play about deception and inner beauty. Cyrano has fallen in love with his cousin Roxane but feels he is too ugly to win her affection. Cyrano must overcome self-doubt and shame resulting from his awkward appearance, his rather large nose. Overcoming his appearance is the only way for Cyrano to reveal to Roxane that he wrote the letters she had fallen in love with, Roxane was deceived and made to believe that the handsome Christian to be the author. Roxane loves Christian for his soul, the soul she is in love with belongs to Cyrano. Roxane realizes her heart belongs to the disfigured Cyrano, but is too late for Cyrano had been mortally wounded. Overall it was pleasant to read but some of the characters were underdeveloped and hard to visualize. Cyrano's wit and unforeseen love triangle kept my interest throughout the play.

The only translation that captures the poetry of Rostand's original

As time goes on, I am more and more impressed by Anthony Burgess's translation. Most readers and performers are probably more familiar with the translation of Cyrano by Brian Hooker. Hooker's translation has much to recommend it but it fails to capture the poetic power, whimsy or grace of Rostand's play. I feel the Burgess translation better represents Cyrano to a modern reader. One previous reviewer suggested that there was something almost absurd about Cyrano as he is portrayed by Rostand. Burgess himself had qualms about translating the play into rhyme. But this convention is powerful because it suggests that the men and women of Cyrano's dramatic world (even the lackwits) were impressed by cleverness, grace and beauty. It is set out in the play that Roxanne is one of the literary precieuse. The type of cleverness that Cyrano portrays in rhyme would appeal to her. At the same time, Cyrano is not a fop but a man of action whose mind is not stilled even by combat. This translation also shows that Christian's "military wit" was something Cyrano could appreciate for its poetic appropriateness as well as for its courage. I think in some ways Cyrano's chivalry and heroism, as well as the more unrealistic elements of the play, are actually made more vivid and convincing by the use of rhyme. Burgess transports us to Rostand's imagined world of poetry and chivalry directly. . . and does not relent for a moment in portraying it. I think the real Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac would have appreciated the flair of it all. This version was also used as the basis for a musical starring Chritopher Plummer. The musical, unlike this translation, adapts the play freely at points.

A Fun and Approachable Classic

My introduction to Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" came, unsurprisingly, in an English class--a testament to the work's literary value, if nothing else. However, unlike many of the 'classics' that I had to slug through in such classes, I was thouroughly engaged by "Cyrano." While it is hardly one of the best known plays I've come across, it is certainly well worth the read. It contains a lively and entertaining plot, both comical and tragic, is the story of a French nobleman, soldier, and playwrite who is secretly in love with the beautiful Roxanne, whom he fears will never return his affection because of his self-perceived uglyness. In an attempt to vicariously woo Roxanne, Cyrano helps his handsome but inarticulate rival by providing him with beautifully worded love letters. However, both Cyrano and Christain, his rival-cum-protegee, are sent to war, disrupting the romance. During the hostilities, Christian realizes that Roxanne truly loves Cyrano, and urges him to reveal the secret. However, Christian is killed before they are able to return from battle, and Cyrano, unwilling to reveal his true role in respect of his fallen friend, is forced to live as merely a friend, comforting Roxanne over the lover she believes she lost. It is only later as Cyrano himself dies that Roxanne discovers the truth, forcing her to experience the loss of the love of her life for a second time. Rostand's characterization throughout the novel, particularly of the title character, is exqusite. Cyrano is a very complex character, fueled by intense emotion, pride, and fierce independence, and the reader is treated to a brilliant portrayal of both his virtues and the downfalls to which he is subject. All around, "Cyrano" is a engaging story, well-told, and I highly recomend it to all audiences.

Translation captures poetry and wit of Rostand's hero.

Most readers and performers are probably more familiar with the translation of Cyrano by Brian Hooker. Hooker's translation has much to recommend it but it fails to capture the poetic power, whimsy or grace of Rostand's play. I feel the Burgess translation better represents Cyrano to a modern reader. One previous reviewer suggested that there was something almost absurd about Cyrano as he is portrayed by Rostand. Burgess himself had qualms about translating the play into rhyme. But this convention is powerful because it suggests that the men and women of Cyrano's dramatic world (even the lackwits) were impressed by cleverness, grace and beauty. It is set out in the play that Roxanne is one of the literary precieuse. The type of cleverness that Cyrano portrays in rhyme would appeal to her. At the same time, Cyrano is not a fop but a man of action whose mind is not stilled even by combat. Also this translation shows that Christian's "military wit" was something Cyrano could appreciate for its poetic appropriateness as well as for its courage. I think in some ways Cyrano's chivalry and heroism, as well as the more unrealistic elements of the play, are actually made more vivid and convincing by the use of rhyme. Burgess transports us to Rostand's imagined world of poetry and chivalry directly. . . and does not relent for a moment in portraying it. I think the real Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac would have appreciated the flair of it all. And if you don't buy that?-- Well, the fight scenes are STILL cool. Happy reading.
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