Book Review: Cyrano de Bergerac (Rostand)


Have I read this before: A looooooong time ago, yes. I can’t even remember when.

Review: Ah, Cyrano. Gotta love him. This play has always seemed like Voltaire meets Beckett as far as its style and wit go.

Also, did you know there was a real Cyrano? He was a French playwright and duelist (apparently those things went hand in hand quite frequently in 1600s France) who did in fact have a big nose, but not nearly as big as fictional Cyrano’s. Real Cyrano did in fact fight in the Thirty Years’ War and there was a Christian fighting alongside him (who did marry Cyrano’s cousin), though the details of that relationship don’t resemble those in Rostand’s play.

Edit: hahaha, oh my god, I really want to read Real Cyrano’s play, L’Autre Monde: ou les États et Empires de la Lune (Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon). According to Wiki, “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.” That sounds FANTASTIC.

(Edit 2: Okay, yeah, this was more of a review of Real Cyrano than the play. But the play is good. Read it.)

Favorite part: Christian’s complete lack of wit is pretty great.

(This is after Cyrano had been feeding eloquent lines to Christian, who spoke them up to Roxane from down below her window. Eventually, Christian thinks he can speak for himself and tells Cyrano to beat it.)

Roxane:
Is that you, Christian? Let us stay
Here, in the twilight.
They are gone.
The air
Is fragrant.
We shall be alone. Sit down

There—so…
Now tell me things.

Christian:
I love you.

Roxane:
Speak to me about love…

Christian:
I love you.

Roxane:
Now
Be eloquent! …

Christian:
I love—

Roxane:
You have your theme—
Improvise!
Rhapsodize!

Christian:
I love you so!

Roxane:
Of course.
And then? …

Christian:
And then…oh, I should be
So happy if you loved me too! Roxane,
Say that you love me too!

Roxane:
I ask for cream
You give me milk and water. Tell me first
A little, how you love me.

Christian:
Very much.

(This goes on for like another two pages, it’s great.)

Rating: 7/10

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