Cyrano de Bergerac: A Heroic Comedy in Five Acts (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 6 Mar 2012
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About the Author
Edmond Rostand (1868-1918) was born in Marseilles, France, in 1868, the son of a distinguished and cultured family. The young Rostand was educated first in Marseilles, then in Paris, where he earned a degree in law. It was a profession, however, that he was never to practice. He made his literary debut in 1890 with a volume of lyric verse, and his first important play, The Romancers, was produced by the Comedie Francaise in 1894. In 1897, Cyrano de Bergerac won critical acclaim and spectacular popular success, and Rostand further solidified his position as the foremost of modern French romantic dramatists with L'Aiglon in 1900 and Chantecler in 1910.
Eteel Lawson was educated in France and holds two Masters' degrees, in International Relations and Economics. The author of a children's book and a collection of short stories, she worked for the United Nations in Paris and now lives on the French Riviera.
Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Vassar College, Cynthia B. Kerr earned a Ph.D. in French and Humanities from Stanford University. Specializing in performance studies and Early Modern France, she has published three books, including Corneille a l'affiche: vingt ans de creations theatrales, 1980-2000. She is the author of more than eighty articles and book reviews published in journals in Europe and the United States. She regularly writes for Choice, the publication of the American Library Association.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The French soldier Cyrano de Bergerac is renounced for his wit, writing skills, bravery with a sword, and his panache. He is also cursed with the largest nose ever to darken a human face, and with an unrequited love for his beautiful cousin Roxanne. Roxanne is in love with the handsome, brave but rather dull Baron Christian de Neuvil, and will beg Cyrano to watch over him. Encouraged by Cyrano, Christian will take up the wooing of Roxanne, in which cause Cyrano will play many roles. He will also watch over Christian in the face of many threats, even death...
This Classics Illustrated edition includes the essentials of a long and moving story, including doing justice to several comedic moments and to the famous dual wooing scene. Kyle Baker's almost whimsical art crucially captures the changing emotions of the characters. "Cyrano de Bergerac" is very highly recommended as an entertaining graphic novel treatment of a great story.
I have given the play five stars although it has many defects, one of the most glaring being in the title character, a superman yet also a conceited man except for his looks, here he is glaringly deficient and he knows it yet he allows no one to state it other than himself. In the play he lives up to his conceit but I found it to be so bad I could not like the man himself and I did not care that he thought himself unlovely, incapable of a woman's love because of his looks, a monstrous nose that was large enough to be considered a deformity. Today there is plastic surgery, it is hard to think of a time when it was not available and so I find it hard to put myself in his place and understand all his complaints. Fortunately I grew up before such surgery became commonplace and the remnants of my memory help me almost reach understanding, a slight diminution of Cyrano's great grief would place it in my purview. The worst defect I found was in Cyrano's inability to say anything to Roxanne, and especially after the death of Christian. He is supposed to be smart, yet here he shows only stupidity. Still, it is the author's perogative to bend a character's abilities to suit the needs of the story, it does make for a great play.
This play is absolutely fantastic. I have never read this particular translation before today when I received it in the mail but I must say that I was quite impressed. I admit that I am used to seeing "panache'" rather than "white plume" but it's something I could get used to.
Cyrano is a man with a HUGE nose and the skill of wit and steel to back up any one who may dare attack his precious nose. The truth is that for all of his ferocity, he is really quite self-conscious and can never believe that anyone could ever love him. Thus the tragedy of our hero is that he is his own worst enemy. A poet, a warrior, a scientist, a hopeless romantic and though he would do anything for his secret beloved Roxanne, he leads a solitary lonely existence even as he faces death.
I know there are those who might say that this is not so. Was not Roxanne there when he died? Yes, but did he allow himself to be comforted and be held as he breathed out his last? No. He had to get up and look death right in the eyes as it were for one last battle. Facing his old enemies as he put it.
Cyrano de Bergerac is an absolutely amazing play with so much soul, so much wit, so much humanity, in short, so much NOSE that one would lose out NOT to read it. I feel I would be diminished had I never come across this play.
Now, the Christmas present in this particular edition! It comes with a FREE DVD version by the Chamberlain Brothers of Jose Ferrer's Oscar winning 1950 performance of Cyrano de Bergerac. I could not believe my eyes when I opened the package today! I believe there are some of this available from individual sellers. If the price is right, I would recommend it. If you are only interested in the Signet Classics play, Amazon has that to. Lowell Blair is the translator of this edition that I'm reviewing.
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