Monday, January 17, 2022

Letters & Longing: Retellings of Cyrano de Bergerac | Book Riot

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In 1897, Edmond Rostand revealed a play referred to as Cyrano de Bergerac, a meticulously researched work concerning the life of Hercule Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (1619–1655) offered in 12-syllable rhyming couplets. Cyrano the particular person’s life was brief — he died at age 36 in what was probably a botched assassination — however fascinating. While the story of his romance is totally fictional, he was often called a libertine, and a few indicators level to him having had a gay relationship with Charles Coypeau d’Assoucy, the burlesque poet. When the connection — no matter variety it might have been — soured, the 2 resorted to the time-honored technique of excoriating one another by way of satirical texts. Cyrano additionally wrote two items of early trendy science fiction, together with a bit by which he went to the moon utilizing firecrackers — probably the primary instance we have now of area journey by way of rocket. These posthumously revealed works influenced Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe, and Molière, to call a number of.

All of that mentioned, it’s now the fictional relationship with the gorgeous Roxane for which Cyrano the creator, libertine, and poet is finest identified. The romance hinges on what known as the Cyrano trope, which is when a nerdy particular person helps a bodily enticing however much less emotionally delicate particular person acquire the item of each their affections. The trope is extensively utilized in movie and books, with diversifications and gender-switching all over. In the play (spoiler alert, nevertheless it has been a number of centuries!), Cyrano woos Roxane by way of letters, despatched by the good-looking Christian. Eventually Christian convinces Cyrano to admit his like to Roxane, however earlier than he can accomplish that, Christian is killed in battle. Cyrano decides to hide his half within the relationship to take care of Roxane’s imaginative and prescient of Christian. It is simply when he involves her 15 years later, dying from a blow to the pinnacle, to learn her the final letter from the now-deceased Christian that she realizes the reality.

This week, a brand new adaptation of the story is popping out: Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage within the title function. But there are tons of different retellings of this basic to select from!

Because many of these these are all retellings in some type or one other, I’m not going to summarize the plots in a lot element. Instead, I’ll provide the setting of the retelling together with the principle characters so you will discover the variations together with your favourite setup.

Love within the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

The Setting: Victorian London and its environs

The Cyrano: Beatrix Hathaway, soon-to-be spinster and lover of the outside over the London Season.

The Christian: Prudence Mercer, expensive buddy of Beatrix and a vivacious flirt. She is the meant of…

The Roxane: Captain Christopher Phelan, whose soul has been darkened by battle and is not the identical man he was when he left London.

Flawless cover

Flawless by Lara Chapman

The Setting: A late 2000s American highschool

The Cyrano: Sara Burke, good and fairly aside from her nostril — which she hates.

The Christian: Kristen, Sarah’s finest buddy and a flawless magnificence, who’s determined to catch the attention of…

The Roxane: Rock Conway, the brand new man on the town and utter dreamboat.

We Are the Perfect Girl cover

We Are the Perfect Girl by Ariel Kaplan

The Setting: Late 2010s America

The Cyrano: Aphra Brown, daring, sensible, and outgoing.

The Christian: Bethany, Aphra’s achingly stunning finest buddy. Both of them have a crush on…

The Roxane: Greg D’Agostino, proverbial “ten” and fluent in 5 languages; six in the event you rely smoldering gazes.

M or F? cover

M or F? by Lisa Papademetriou and Chris Tebbetts

The Setting: Early 2000s, on the web

The Cyrano: Marcus, the homosexual finest buddy of…

The Christian: Frannie, who has a crush on…

The Roxane: Jeffrey, whose choice concerning the gender of his romantic companions is but to be decided.

Crossed Lines cover

Crossed Lines by Jennifer Delamere

The Setting: 1881 London, particularly the Central Telegraph Office

The Cyrano: Mitchell Harris, soulful creator whose facility with a pen has helped him regardless of the deformity attributable to a childhood accident.

The Christian: Christopher, Mitchell’s expensive buddy and fellow colleague on the telegraph workplace, who has fallen in love with…

The Roxane: Emma Sutton, an orphan making her means by the world in her job on the CTO. She loves her backyard but additionally longs for a household and love. Will it ever arrive?

Say Yes to the Marquess cover

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

The Setting: Regency England

The Cyrano: Rafe Brandon, infamous prizefighter, decided rake, and…wedding ceremony planner?

The Christian: Piers Brandon, Marquess of Granville, globe-wanderer, wedding-avoider, and brother of Rafe.

The Roxane: Clio Whitmore, who has been engaged to Piers for eight lengthy years. She has inherited a fort of her personal and is able to break her engagement off totally, provided that her fiancé appears to have no real interest in really marrying her.

Felix Ever After cover

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

This one is a bit totally different; I’m together with it right here as a result of it’s a ravishing e-book and has Cyrano/epistolary parts, however will not be a direct retelling.

Felix Love has, satirically, by no means been in love. He balances between desirous to know why love appears really easy for everybody however him and fearing that his a number of identities — Black, queer, transgender — are an excessive amount of for the skin world. When an nameless scholar posts photos of him earlier than his transition, Felix decides to get even.

But the catfish situation he created units him in a quasi-love triangle, and as he navigates it, he begins an all-important journey to self-discovery and realization concerning the one particular person he actually wants to like: himself.

A Tale for the Time Being cover

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

This is one other story with a connection to Cyrano by means of the epistolary format. Trigger warning for suicide.

In Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao Nao’s diary is her solely solace, and he or she has determined that her classmates’ bullying and her loneliness can solely be resolved a technique. But earlier than she goes, she is going to doc the life of her great-grandmother — a Buddhist nun.

On a distant Pacific Island, Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox full of objects. As she kinds by them, untangling their which means, she finds herself pulled into Nao’s story, and likewise into her personal.

The Devourers cover

The Devourers by Indra Das

Again, we’re pulled away from the Cyrano-love triangle however into an epistolary format.

On a ravishing night in Kolkata, professor Alok meets a mysterious stranger with a rare story. In order to listen to the top of the story, Alok agrees to transcribe a set of paperwork — notebooks, parchments, and skins.

On them, a narrative unfolds of a race of beastly folks dominated by instincts and wishes. A seventeenth century Mughal finds himself drawn to an unbiased and defiant lady, their relationship destined to catastrophe. With each chapter, Alok is pulled deeper into the story, and his curiosity within the mysterious stranger turns into darker.


Cyrano is unquestionably not the primary hero to woo the item of his affection by way of letter, or to function the “true love helping a friend win the object of affection” trope. The written phrase, as we’re all conscious, is deeply affecting. What I didn’t anticipate, as a result of my expertise with Cyrano was restricted to motion pictures like Roxanne (1987) and She’s All That (1999), was to search out him a tragic hero who dies together with his love not unrequited, however misidentified. Which signifies that once I see the brand new film, I’m ready to be heartbroken, nevertheless it received’t cease the tears.



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