[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.1655 Cyrano dies on July 28, possibly of injuries sustained when a scrap of wood falls from a building and strikes him on the head (some believe the accident was planned) or from complications of a venereal disease.1657 Cyrano’s Histoire comique des états et empires de la lune (Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon) appears posthumously.In this and a companion volume, Histoire comique des états et empires de la soleil (Comical History of the States and Empires of the Sun), published in 1662, he satirizes contemporary socety and the prevailing belief that Earth is the center of the universe.1858 Cyrano’s works are published for the first time since the seventeenth century.1868 Edmond Rostand is born into a well-off family in Marseille on May 1.1872 De Bergerac’s tragedy Le Mort d’ Agrippine is revived for one performance in Paris.1878 Rostand begins his studies at the lycee of Marseille.1884 The Rostands move to Paris, and Edmond continues his studies at the College Stanislas.Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, and Theodore de Banville are his literary heroes.1887 The Académie de Marseille gives Rostand top honors for his entry in the essay contest “Deux romanciers de Provence: Honoré d‘Urfé et Emile Zola” (“Two Provencal Romantic Writers: Honoré d’ Urfé and Emile Zola”).1888 While on vacation in the Pyrenees, Rostand meets aspiring poet Rosemonde Gerard, goddaughter of the poet Leconte de Lisle, and falls in love.1889 The Eiffel Tower is completed.Rostand’s first play, a four-act, vaudeville-style piece called Le Gant rouge (The Red Glove), written with Gérard’s half-brother, William Lee, premiers without success.1890 Rostand and Gerard marry.Gerard helps Rostand publish his first collection of verse, Les Musardises, to critical praise.1892 The Comédie-Française accepts Rostand’s Les Romanesques (The Romancers), Rostand’s first full-length play.1894 Les Romanesques premiers at the Comédie-Française.An innocent Jewish army officer named Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of leaking French military secrets to Germany, beginning the disastrous Dreyfus Affair, which deeply divides France.1895 Sarah Bernhardt stars in the premiere of La Princesse lointaine (The Faraway Princess), which Rostand wrote with the star in mind, but it closes before finishing its 35-performance contract.Bernhardt introduces Rostand to well-known actor Constant Coquelin, who asks Rostand to write him a part in his next play.The role and the play will be Cyrano de Bergerac.1897 La Samaritaine (The Woman of Samaria), starring Bernhardt, premiers in April, and has a brief yet popular run.President François Grévy is forced to resign upon the revelation that his son-in-law, Daniel Wilson, has been selling membership in theLegion d‘Honneur.The Dreyfus Affair reaches its peak, rocking France, as Mathieu Dreyfus discovers that the army and government are suppressing evidence that would exonerate his brother, Alfred.In the midst of the turmoil Cyrano de Bergerac premieres on December 28, to enormous success.1898 Four days after the premiere of Cyrano, Rostand is created chevalier de la Legion d’ Honneur and President Felix Faure attends a performance.Emile Zola publishes the immensely influential pro-Dreyfus article “J’ accuse,” which results in Zola’s imprisonment.Despite Rostand’s conservative background, he sides quietly with the Dreyfus supporters, who include Marcel Proust and Anatole France.Cyrano premieres simultaneously in Philadelphia and New York.The Paris Metro opens.1899 A comic opera based on Cyrano opens in New York.The Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) orders a retrial for Dreyfus, who receives a presidential pardon.1900 Rostand’s L‘Aiglon (The Eaglet), starring Bernhardt, premiers to moderate success.Rostand’s health is declining, and he withdraws to Cambo-les-bains in the Pyrenees.He does not complete another play for ten years.Coquelin and Bernhardt perform Cyrano in New York.1901 Rostand is elected to the Académie française, but his continuing poor health prevents him from making an acceptance address.He is created officier de la Legion d’ Honneur.Coquelin and Bernhardt perform Cyrano in London.Henri Toulouse- Lautrec, who created a lithograph of Coquelin playing Cyrano, dies.1902 Rostand receives a commission to travel to Hernani, Spain, to participate in festivities marking the centenary of Victor Hugo’s birth.André Gide’s The Immoralist appears.Zola dies.1905 Rostand more or less retires to a residence he has built near Cambo-les-bains with his earnings from Cyrano.He will spend the rest of his life living in this house.1910 Chantecler, an experimental drama based on stories of fabulist Jean de La Fontaine, premiers to disappointing reviews.The next year Rostand finishes most of his final play, Le Dernière Nuit de Don Juan (The Last Night of Don Juan), inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote, but does not release it.1913 Cyrano has its thousandth performance in Paris.Marcel Proust publishes the first part of A la recherche du temps perdu.1914 World War I begins.1915 Rostand visits the trenches.1916 Le Vol de la Marseillaise (The Flight of the Marseillaise), a collection of Rostand’s World War I poetry, appears.1918 Rostand falls victim to the Spanish flu and dies in Paris on December 2, six weeks after the end of World War I.His current partner, Mary Marquet, as well as Gerard and their two sons, Maurice, a novelist and critic, and Jean, a notable scientist and writer, survive him.1922 Le Dernière Nuit de Don Juan premiers.INTRODUCTIONA great deal of lore surrounds the premiere of Cyrano de Bergerac at the Theatre de la Porte-Saint-Martin in Paris on December 28, 1897.That just before the curtain went up, Rostand fell at the feet of leading actor Constant Coquelin and exclaimed: “Forgive me! Oh, forgive me, my friend, for having dragged you into this disastrous adventure!” That he then donned a costume and slipped onstage during the first act, causing surprise and confusion among the actors.That the first act was greeted with bravos, the following ones with standing ovations, and the final scene with forty-two curtain calls, so many that at two o’clock in the morning the exhausted stage manager simply left the curtain open and went home to bed.Much of this lore comes from an interview given by Rostand himself, as well as from an account of opening night by his wife, Rosemonde Gérard.Theater people, especially when they are also interested parties, can be relied upon to dramatize a little; it is indeed their prerogative.Still, by any account, Cyrano de Bergerac was an immense, indeed a phenomenal, success.At twenty-nine—the English critic Sir Max Beerbohm referred to him as “the talented boy-playwright”—Rostand became what we now know as an overnight sensation: Only Victor Hugo, and then only after a long career as a writer and statesman, had known the kind of fame and glory that Rostand achieved in a single night.Paris was in a collective swoon.The most caustic of theater critics—men who were paid to be nasty—hailed Cyrano as “the most beautiful dramatic poem to appear for half a century” (Emile Faguet in Le Journal des débats) and spoke of December 2 8 as “a date that will live in the annals of the theater” (Francisque Sarcey of Le Temps).The 29th started out pretty well, too: On that day the French Minister of Education nominated Rostand for the Legion d‘Honneur, France’s highest honor.Two days later, just in time for the New Year’s honors list, the decree officially naming him a chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur had found its way onto the desk of Felix Faure, president of the Republic, who, having signed it, booked a loge at the Theatre de la Porte-Saint-Martin for himself and his family.More laurels were to follow [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]