Cyrano de Bergerac: Poet, Philosopher and Swordsman

Mildred Allen Butler offers a profile of a renowned swordsman, student of philosophy, literary critic, social satirist and story-teller; Cyrano de Bergerac expressed his views of life in his ingenious account of expeditions to the Empires of the Sun and Moon.

Many who have read the play, or enjoyed the stage production or motion picture: Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, do not know that it is based on fact and that Cyrano was a man of significance in seventeenth-century France. All the incidents in the play can be found in Cyrano’s life except one - the romance.

The real Cyrano, after his first youthful follies, was a student of philosophy, a critic of ancient and contemporary thinkers, a writer of poems and plays, and the author of a book including fanciful descriptions of voyages to the moon and to the sun, entitled l'Autre Monde or Les Étâts et empires du soleil et de la lune. This last, his most important work, would seem to make him out to be a seventeenth-century science-fiction writer; but his ‘Other World’, though highly imaginary, is really devoted to philosophy and satire.

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