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Cyrano De Bergerac

play, roxane and rostands

CYRANO DE BERGERAC, se-rrn6 cic barzh'rak, by Edmond Rostand, was first acted in Paris 28 Dec. 1897. The hero, always the cen tral figure and usually the speaker, was a man of mark in his day (1620-55) as a gasconnading soldier, intrepid and indefatigable duellist, a facile poet, talented musician and writer of vivacious fancy. Report attributes to him an abnormally large nose, disfigured by sabre cuts. This nose is a mainspring of the action in Ros tand's play. Cyrano twice talks of it at length. He loves his cousin, the precieuse Roxane. He feels that his deformity must render any suit of his hopeless if not impertinent, and makes it the task of his romantic self-abnegation to secure for Roxane the fulfilment of her love for Chretien de Neuville and to defeat the evil designs on her of Count de Guiche and his com placent follower, M. de Valert. Roxane, the willing dupe of her affection, receives vows and verses inspired by Cyrano as Chretien's, attrib utes the valor and magnanimity of one to the other, and discovers her error only years later as a widow at the bedside of the assassinated Cyrano, who is dying, as he has lived, in her service, and has her kiss can unstained soldier's plume> as his late reward. The time of the

action is 1640 and after; the scene at Paris and near Arras; the form Alexandrine verse of singular suppleness and polish, with lyrics at tributed to Cyrano and reproducing admirably the temper of his time. It was Rostand's fourth play, his first notable success. Thanks in large part to the genius of the actor Coquelin the performance became a triumph historical in the annals of the Comedic Francaise. There had been no such enthusiasm there since the famous Night of Hernani (1830). The play was speedily translated into many tongues and acted in many lands with success, notably in America. Among many editions may be noted that with an introduction by Cohn, A. (New York 1899). There is a translation by Dole, Helen P. (New York 1899). Consult James, H.

(in Cornhill Magazine, Vol. LX XXIV, p.477 Q. For the historical background see Platow, Personen von Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac in der Geschichte and in der Dichtung' (Berlin 1902) ; and for analysis of the character of Cyrano, Schmidt, Erich, (2d series, Berlin 1901).