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Cyrano de Bergerac: Translated by Anthony Burgess Paperback – October 27, 1992

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Translated by Anthony Burgess.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854591177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854591173
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,710,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jack E. Holt, III on September 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
As time goes on, I am more and more impressed by Anthony Burgess's translation.

Most readers and performers are probably more familiar with the translation of Cyrano by Brian Hooker. Hooker's translation has much to recommend it but it fails to capture the poetic power, whimsy or grace of Rostand's play. I feel the Burgess translation better represents Cyrano to a modern reader.

One previous reviewer suggested that there was something almost absurd about Cyrano as he is portrayed by Rostand. Burgess himself had qualms about translating the play into rhyme. But this convention is powerful because it suggests that the men and women of Cyrano's dramatic world (even the lackwits) were impressed by cleverness, grace and beauty. It is set out in the play that Roxanne is one of the literary precieuse. The type of cleverness that Cyrano portrays in rhyme would appeal to her.

At the same time, Cyrano is not a fop but a man of action whose mind is not stilled even by combat. This translation also shows that Christian's "military wit" was something Cyrano could appreciate for its poetic appropriateness as well as for its courage. I think in some ways Cyrano's chivalry and heroism, as well as the more unrealistic elements of the play, are actually made more vivid and convincing by the use of rhyme.

Burgess transports us to Rostand's imagined world of poetry and chivalry directly. . . and does not relent for a moment in portraying it. I think the real Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac would have appreciated the flair of it all.

This version was also used as the basis for a musical starring Chritopher Plummer. The musical, unlike this translation, adapts the play freely at points.
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Cyrano de Bergerac: Translated by Anthony Burgess
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