Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac


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Related to Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac: Cyrano Hercule Savinien de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinien

(sävēnyăN` sēränō` də bĕrzhəräk`), 1619–55, French novelist. Satirizing the customs and beliefs of his time, he wrote two fantastic romances about visits to the moon and sun—L' Autre Monde; ou, Les Estats et empires de la lune (1657) and Les Estats et empires du soleil (1662); these usually appear together, as in the translation by Richard Aldington, Voyages to the Moon and the Sun (new ed. 1962). Cyrano's swaggering personality, evinced by the many duels he fought over insults to his unusually large nose, was romanticized by Edmond Rostand in the verse drama Cyrano de Bergerac (1897).

Bibliography

See study by E. Harth (1970).

Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinien

 

Born Mar. 6, 1619, in Paris; died July 28, 1655, in Sannois. French writer and freethinker.

Cyrano de Bergerac studied in a Jesuit school and served as a soldier in the royal guard. He was influenced by the ideas of G. F. Bruno, T. Campanella, and P. Gassendi. In 1654 he published a collection of works (Les oeuvres diverses), including Lettres, the comedy Le Pédant joué, and the tragedy La Mort d’Agrippine, which was banned. These works demonstrated the talent of Cyrano de Bergerac as a satirist and expressed the atheistic and materialist ideas of a freethinker.

Cyrano de Bergerac’s main work is the philosophical novel L’Histoire comique desétats et empires de la lune, published in 1657. The publisher toned down much of the text and only in the 20th century was the novel reproduced according to a previously unknown manuscript. Telling about life on the moon, Cyrano de Bergerac reveals his conception of the universe and man. He ridicules the Ptolemaic system, rejects the immortality of the soul, and mocks faith in miracles. He recognizes only matter as eternal. His last, unfinished, work, L’Histoire comique desétats et empires du soleil, published in 1662, is less important, at least in the form in which it has come down to us. Cyrano de Bergerac is the subject of E. Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac (1898).

WORKS

Les Oeuvres libertines, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1921.
In Russian translation:
Inoi svet, ili Gosudarstva i imperii Luny. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 365–68.
Mongrédien, G. Cyrano de Bergerac. Paris, 1964.
Alcover M. La Pensée philosophique et scientifique de Cyrano de Bergerac. Geneva, 1970. (Contains references.)

T. G. KHAMISOVA