Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinien


Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinien
born March 6, 1619, Paris, France
died July 28, 1655, Paris

French satirist and dramatist.

He was a soldier until 1641 and studied under the philosopher Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655). He wrote plays as well as fantastical works combining science-fantasy and political satire that inspired such later writers as Jonathan Swift. He became the basis of many romantic legends, including Edmond Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac (1897), in which he is portrayed as a gallant and brilliant but shy and ugly lover, with a remarkably large nose (which in fact he had).

Cyrano de Bergerac, engraving after a painting

H. Roger-Viollet

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▪ French author

born March 6, 1619, Paris
died July 28, 1655, Paris
 French satirist and dramatist whose works combining political satire and science-fantasy inspired a number of later writers. He has been the basis of many romantic but unhistorical legends, of which the best known is Edmond Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac (1897), in which he is portrayed as a gallant and brilliant but shy and ugly lover, possessed (as in fact he was) of a remarkably large nose.

 As a young man, Cyrano joined the company of guards and was wounded at the Siege of Arras in 1640. But he gave up his military career in the following year to study under the philosopher and mathematician Pierre Gassendi. Under the influence of Gassendi's scientific theories and libertine philosophy, Cyrano wrote his two best known works, Histoire comique des états et empires de la lune and Histoire comique des états et empires du soleil (Eng. trans. A Voyage to the moon: with some account of the Solar World, 1754). These stories of imaginary journeys to the Moon and Sun, published posthumously in 1656 and 1662, satirize 17th-century religious and astronomical beliefs, which saw man and the world as the centre of creation.

      Cyrano's use of science helped to popularize new theories; but his principal aim was to ridicule authority, particularly in religion, and to encourage freethinking materialism. He “predicted” a number of later discoveries such as the phonograph and the atomic structure of matter; but they were merely offshoots from an inquiring and poetic mind, not attempts to demonstrate theories in practical terms.

      Cyrano's plays include a tragedy, La Mort d'Agrippine (published 1654, “The Death of Agrippine”), which was suspected of blasphemy, and a comedy, Le Pédant joué (published 1654; “The Pedant Imitated”). As long as classicism was the established taste, Le Pédant joué, a colossal piece of fooling, was despised; but its liveliness appeals to modern readers as it did to Molière, who based two scenes of Les Fourberies de Scapin on it. La Mort d'Agrippine is intellectually impressive because of its daring ideas, and the direct and impassioned character of the tragic dialogue makes it interesting theatrically.

      As a political writer, Cyrano was the author of a violent pamphlet against the men of the Fronde, in which he defended Mazarin in the name of political realism as exemplified in the tradition of Machiavelli. Cyrano's Lettres show him as a master of baroque prose, marked by bold and original metaphors. His contemporaries regarded them as absurdly farfetched, but they came to be esteemed in the 20th century as examples of the baroque style.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cyrano de Bergerac,Savinien de — Cy·ra·no de Ber·ge·rac (sîr ə nō də bûrʹzhə răk , bĕrʹ ), Savinien de. 1619 1655. French satirist and duelist whose works include the spirited drama The Pedant Imitated (1654). He is the subject of Edmond Rostand s play Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) …   Universalium

  • Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinien — ► (1619 55) Literato francés. Es considerado el precursor de la ilustración. Sus novelas Historia cómica de los estados e imperios de la Luna (1657) e Historia cómica de los estados e imperios del Sol (1662) combinan ingredientes de los libros de …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinien — (1619 1655)    writer    Born in Paris, Cyrano de Bergerac as he is known, whose many duels and other escapades gained him a reputation as a romantic hero, became a soldier but had to give up that career because of a battle wound. He was perhaps… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Cyrano de Bergerac — Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac [saviˈnjɛ̃ siʀaˈno dəbɛʀʒəˈʀak], eigentlich Hector Savinien de Cyrano (* 6. März 1619 in Paris; † 28. Juli 1655 in Paris) war ein französischer Schriftsteller …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Cyrano de Bergerac — For other uses, see Cyrano de Bergerac (disambiguation). Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac Born 6 March 1619(1619 03 06) Sannois, France …   Wikipedia

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  • Savinien de cyrano de bergerac — Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cyrano de Bergerac. Cyrano de Bergerac …   Wikipédia en Français


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