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1 April 2018: Edmond Rostand

 

The 1st of April is more commonly associated with ‘April Fools Day’. However, on this day 150 years ago the neo-romantic French poet and dramatist Edmond Rostand was born. In this post we celebrate the popular author and his works, of which we have several. 

 

Stylistically, Rostand’s romantic plays contrasted with the popular genre of naturalism that was dominating the theatre of the late nineteenth century. His best known work is his play Cyrano de Bergerac, which is a fictionalized account of Cyrano’s life. The entire play is written in verse which is very close to the classical alexandrine form. Cyrano de Bergerac is also responsible from bringing the word ‘Panache’ into the English language. There have been numerous translations of this work into different languages due to its sheer popularity.
 
 
We have several copies of Cyrano de Bergerac in the original French, with several in beautiful French bindings. Click here to view the listing for a decorative, limited edition copy of the play from 1935. We also have a two volume set where one volume is Cyrano and the other volume is his play Chantecler. The two works are bound in a lovely quarter morocco binding with gilt stamped rose details to the spines.

 

  Chantecler is another verse play by Rostand. All of the characters in the play are animals from a farmyard, including the protagonist a ‘chanticleer’ or rooster. The play satirizes modernism from Rostand’s romanticist perspective and centres on idealism and spiritual sincerity. In addition to the previously mentioned set we  have a beautiful vellum bound copy of this work, in the original French. Click here for the listing.  
We have many more of Rostand’s plays such as his La Samaritaine, a Biblical drama adapted from the gospel story of the woman of Samaria. Click here for the listing.  
 
 Another play by Rostand which centres on real people from history is his L’Aiglon. This play is based on the life of Napoleon II, son of Emperor Napoleon I and his second wife, Empress Marie Louise. In the original production Sarah Bernhardt played the titular role, as Rostand had specifically written the play for her. The play also later became the basis for an opera of the same name by Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert. Click here for our listing

 

 

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