Cyrano de Bergerac

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Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. There was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, and the play is a fictionalisation following the broad outlines of his life.

The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of twelve syllables per line, very close to the classical alexandrine form, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura. It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene.

The play has been translated and performed many times, and is responsible for introducing the word "panache" into the English language. Cyrano (the character) is in fact famed for his panache, and he himself makes reference to "my panache" in the play. The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess.

Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a cadet (nobleman serving as a soldier) in the French Army, is a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. In addition to being a remarkable duelist, he is a gifted, joyful poet and is also a musician. However, he has an extremely large nose, which causes him to doubt himself. This doubt prevents him from expressing his love for his distant cousin, the beautiful and intellectual Roxane, as he believes that his ugliness would prevent him the "dream of being loved by even an ugly woman."
 

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