The Man Who Was Cyrano
Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac was first performed in Paris in 1897 and has never been off the stage since. But although his play is world-famous, Rostand himself is a shadowy figure to most of us. This biography attempts to give a clearer picture of the man who put many of his own characteristics and ideals into his hero Cyrano.
This is the first full-length biography of Edmond Rostand in English. It relates the poet’s life to his work, showing how Rostand expressed his own character and ideals in his heroes, especially Cyrano. The book throws new light on the origins of Rostand’s most famous play, and introduces readers to his other plays, such as Chantecler, thought by many to be his masterpiece. Written for the non-specialist, but with much to offer to specialists too, it portrays Rostand as a sensitive, modest man, who found his sudden fame hard to bear. In spite of periods of depression, however, he continued to write, hoping to continue to inspire the
French public with his own idealistic attitude to life through his plays and poetry.
Sue Lloyd is a recognised authority on Edmond Rostand and his work. See below for reviews of this book.
Originally published in the USA (UP, Bloomington, Indiana, 2003), this edition was published in 2007 by the Genge Press, 45 Quay St., Minehead, TA24 5UL, England, firstname.lastname@example.org .
ISBN 978-0-9549043-1-9 Paperback edition 376 +xii pages, including notes, appendix of translations and editions, bibliography and index.
“This, the first full biography in English of Edmond Rostand, is a well researched and a compelling narrative….Rostand’s life is in many respects a barometer of that turbulent and heady era [1870 – 1918]. Its cultural and historical resonances are conveyed with commendable lightness of touch throughout … As we weave our way through the literary, theatrical and political lives that overlapped with Rostand’s, we also gain illuminating insights into his closest friendships. A particularly rich and lively account is given of his long association with Sarah Bernhardt. …
Good biographies tend to raise more questions than they can answer, and this one certainly does that. Overall, its range and detail are impressive, and it leaves us with the image of a talented yet troubled figure who expressed with unique delicacy something of the spirit of his age. This should become an important reference work for English-speaking scholars.”
Professor Timothy Unwin, University of Bristol in Nineteenth-century French Studies, vol. 33
“I loved this book. It was informative, easy to read, and written in a clever way, revealing his life as though it were set on a stage. Sue Lloyd sheds some well-deserved light on a great poet that has gone too long without the recognition owed to him.”
Sarah C. Wolff
“I enjoyed it even more the second time around … You seem to have captured an era in French history…”
“Une belle synthèse achevée par la liste des traductions en anglais et une bibliographie de sept pages…"
Guy Boquet in Revue d'Histoire du théàtre, 2003
“Unlike his creation [Cyrano de Bergerac], who took on instantly, and has retained, some of the properties of myth, the dramatist, though famous in his day, has long been a shadowy figure. Sue Lloyd’s intriguing narrative, told in an easy, conversational, untheoretical voice, brings him back to life.”
Derek Mahon, Irish poet who translated Cyrano de Bergerac for the National Theatre, London's production in April 2004
“This first full-length biography in English provides a readable, reliable and affectionate narrative of his life and career… The colourful literary life of turn-of-the-century Paris is well portrayed, autobiographical references are continually highlighted in the works, and there are some nice passages encapsulating the qualities and limitations of Rostand’s writing. … Extracts are provided in French and English, translated as wittily as one would expect from this author, whose main previous publication has been as editor… of Roget’s Thesaurus.”
Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol. 41, no. 1
“Like Edmond Rostand, we too live in dark and cynical times. We too need the moral and spiritual tonic that his work provided to so many millions during his tragically brief life.
That is why I so admire the similarly single-minded, one-woman mission of literary scholar Sue Lloyd: to keep alive Edmond Rostand's literary and spiritual legacy with articles, her Genge Press website and -- most of all -- this magisterial biography of the playwright and poet. Befitting her subject and his hero Cyrano, Ms. Lloyd's book exudes panache.
"The Man Who Was Cyrano" is the first English language biography of Edmond Rostand. It is a volume of meticulous historical detective work, breathtaking in scope, brilliantly compiled, and beautifully written. I am in awe over the stunning amount of detailed research that Ms. Lloyd has systematically marshaled, organized, and presented in just 360 compelling pages.
Striding across these pages are the colorful giants of nineteenth-century arts: legendary actors like Sarah Bernhardt and Constant Coquelin, plus noted literary and musical figures such as Musset, Cocteau, Chabrier, Gautier, Hugo, Faure, Le Bargy, Proust, and many, many more. More than a biography, the book colorfully captures a half-century of glorious flourishing in the arts.
Most of all, Ms. Lloyd's passion for Rostand, his work, and his mission pours forth from every page. She tells us that she is on her own mission: to resurrect for contemporary readers the soul of this extraordinary man, whose greatness of spirit equalled that of any of his literary creations.
"The Man Who Was Cyrano" is the perfect title for this seminal biography of the last of the nineteenth-century Romantics. I am thrilled to have discovered this soaring chronicle of his life. Inspired by Sue Lloyd, a photo of Edmond Rostand now hangs above my own writing desk -- a reminder to me to soldier on at the keyboard whenever my own spirit begins to flag. “
Robert Bidinotto, author of the Dylan Hunter series of detective novels
“I have just finished reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it… you have inspired me to move on to reading Chantecler."
"You really bring the Parisian literary and theatrical scene to life… and make Rostand a real human being”… “plenty in it for the specialist and also very readable for people like me who are interested but not so knowledgeable.”