Cyrano de Bergerac

Rostand, Edmund.  Cyrano de Bergerac. trans. Brian Hooker. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

It has all of the strengths and weaknesses of drama. It begins with action and maintains that pace.  On the other hand, it’s not entirely clear what’s going on in the first twenty pages. The story itself is charming and simple.  I’m surprised there aren’t as many movies from this book.  (Not surprisingly, the TV show “Wishbone” did a really good job on this book.)

Much like Rob Roy or The Phantom of the Opera, the idea of this book is better than the actual book.

Cyrano is a likeable guy.  Imagine Porthos from The Three Musketeers but slightly more balanced.  True, everything about Cyrano is over the top.  Indeed, he is credited with introducing “panache” into the English language.

The climax of the battle scene at the end of Act IV is about as good a battle scene you will get in all of literature.

Key moments:

* Cyrano rejects the Cardinal’s patronage.

* Christian’s word-play on nose as Cyrano tells his story is truly funny.

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