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6 March 1619
28 July 1655
Novelist, playwright, duelist
6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655
Cyrano de Bergerac was a French novelist, playwright, epistolarian, and duelist. A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first half of the 17th century. Today, he is best known as the inspiration for Edmond Rostand's most noted drama, Cyrano de Bergerac (1897), which, although it includes elements of his life, also contains invention and myth.
Cyrano was the son of Abel de Cyrano, lord of Mauvières and Bergerac, and Espérance Bellanger. He received his first education from a country priest. 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.
“A Voyage to the Moon: with some account of the Solar World”, “Histoire comique des états et empires de la lune”, “Histoire comique des états et empires du soleil”, “La Mort d’Agrippine”, “Le Pédant joué”
Cyrano de Bergerac's works L'Autre Monde: ou les États et Empires de la Lune ("Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon", published posthumously, 1657) and Les États et Empires du Soleil (The States and Empires of the Sun, 1662) are classics of early modern science fiction. 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.
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.
Cyrano de Bergerac died on July 28, 1655, aged 36, at the house of his cousin, Pierre De Cyrano, in Sannois. His unique past allowed him to make unique contributions to French art. His mixture of science and romance in the last two works furnished a model for many subsequent writers, among them Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe and probably Voltaire.
“All our souls are written in our eyes.”
“A kiss is a secret which takes the lips for the ear.”
“A great nose may be an index of a great soul”