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Cyrano

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A gallant solider, a sharp wit, and a man of letters, Cyrano de Bergerac seems like the obvious romantic hero. He has just one noteworthy flaw: an improbably large nose. And after a lifetime of loving the beautiful Roxane from afar, Cyrano must find a way—any way at all—to express his feelings for her.

    
Romantic, funny, and action packed, this adaptation is sure to win a whole new legion of fans for Edmond ...

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Overview

A gallant solider, a sharp wit, and a man of letters, Cyrano de Bergerac seems like the obvious romantic hero. He has just one noteworthy flaw: an improbably large nose. And after a lifetime of loving the beautiful Roxane from afar, Cyrano must find a way—any way at all—to express his feelings for her.

    
Romantic, funny, and action packed, this adaptation is sure to win a whole new legion of fans for Edmond Rostand’s lovable soldier.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 7–10—Geraldine McCaughrean's charming re-imagining (Harcourt, 2006) of Edmond Rostand's 1897 play is perfect for a full-cast audio production. Cyrano, an unattractive and long-nosed Frenchman in the Company of Guards, pines for his beautiful cousin, Roxanne, who is smitten with the handsome but tongue-tied young soldier, Christian de Neuvillette. Cyrano agrees to help Christian compose and deliver romantic speeches and letters to Roxanne, allowing him to express his true feelings for her while hiding behind the solider. When the Company attacks the Spanish city of Arras, Christian is killed in battle. Roxanne, visiting him on the front, witnesses his death. Shetakes refuge at a convent where she enjoys Cyrano's weekly visits. In a bittersweet twist, the truth of Cyrano's love for her is revealed moments before his death. McCaughrean's turns of phrase are simply divine (e.g., Roxanne speaks Christian's name "as if biting into honeycomb"; a heartbroken Cyrano ponders why "the blood from his soul did not stain [Roxanne's] fingertips" when she touches his jacket). Trevor Hill voices Cyrano with impressive sincerity and emotional range. The full cast does a fine job voicing the other characters. McCaughrean's interpretation of Cyrano hews much closer to the original story than Jody Gehrman's thoroughly modern Triple Shot Bettys in Love (Dial, 2009). This classic love story is worth hearing anew.—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
Publishers Weekly
In this eloquent and spirited retelling of Edmond Rostand's classic play, McCaughrean (Peter Pan in Scarlet, reviewed above) recreates Cyrano de Bergerac as a charming and sympathetic hero. In an opening scene in a theatre, Cyrano berates the star of the play, and his rival Comte de Guiche sends an envoy to "do something about [Cyrano]." As in Rostand's play, the envoy hurls insults at Cyrano about his large nose, to which the hero responds by suggesting a catalogue of wittier insults (e.g., "The Insult Unsporting: You must be the only man who can win a race by a nose before the starter has even fired his gun!") McCaughrean, however, threads in information about the real de Bergerac, who was in love with his cousin (in Rostand's play, the two are not related). Cyrano so adores Roxane that he woos her by proxy, letting her believe that his words are those of a soldier in his regiment, Christian, who, though handsome, lacks wit. He keeps up this ruse long after Christian's death; 15 years later, as Cyrano lays dying, Roxane realizes the truth. The omniscient narrator seems to be infected with the hero's cleverness: to demonstrate his regiment's affection for Cyrano, the narrative states, "With his bowsprit of a nose, he was the flagship of their fleet." All the elements of the original are here, freshly presented the pathos of "ugly" Cyrano's unrequited love for beautiful Roxane, the flourish of his penned love letters, and the public posturing that nearly obscured his underlying integrity. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Shari Fesko
The classic play about a homely, poetic swordsman in love with a woman whom he feels is beyond him is brought to vivid life in this adaptation. In magically lyrical verse, McCaughrean breathes new energy into this old story while still keeping its romantic, adventurous authenticity. Cyrano is a character for the ages-a brave and kind person who sacrifices his own needs to do what he believes that his beloved Roxanne desires. He allows his handsome friend and fellow soldier, Christian, to use his words to woo Roxanne, who had already fallen for him from afar. Set against the backdrop of war, it truly is an enduring romance, and although the ending is far from happily-ever-after, teens are sure to get swept up in this epic tale. McCaughrean paints a vivid picture of long-ago France from the plumes (called panaches in those days) coming from gentlemen's hats to the delightful smells emanating from a local bakery. Her attention to detail makes this book a possible tie-in for both high school history and English classes. The complexity of the language might make it a better choice for upper middle school and high school readers, but the book is highly recommended for school and public library collections alike.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-McCaughrean retells the classic tale in accessible language that is both entertaining and tender. Cyrano de Bergerac has panache, a fact that is evidenced both by the ever-present white plume in his hat and by his swagger. He is a man of action, a soldier, a man of letters, and a hopeless romantic. The one flaw is his enormous nose. Cyrano is hopelessly in love with his cousin Roxane; however, her heart belongs to another. Through intrigue and subterfuge, he is able to express his feelings toward her by words and letters. The story has something for everyone-action, adventure, and romance. The dynamically drawn characters jump off the page. Staying true to Edmond Rostand's original tale, McCaughrean introduces a new generation to the swashbuckling hero. This is an easy read and should be considered as a first purchase.-Sharon Morrison, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Having revisited everyone from Gilgamesh to Hercules to Noah and even Peter Pan, McCaughrean turns her considerable talent to another fascinating figure: Cyrano de Bergerac. Although many teens may recognize the image of the 17th-century Frenchman with the protruding proboscis as Cyrano, they've probably never met the hero of one of literature's greatest love stories, unless they've had to read Edmond Rostand's play in a literature class. More than a translation, yet closely following the original text, this retelling captures all the nuances of Cyrano's biting wit, bravado and, of course, unrequited love. Here, readers will find Roxane's beauty and sensitivity; Christian's boyish charm and na‹vet‚; and the Comte de Guiche's smarmy lust and vengeance. While Rostand's play was written in rhyming verse, McCaughrean's exquisite prose gives readers a more in-depth look at the characters' thoughts and feelings, making Cyrano's panache more accessible to today's teens and even adults. (Fiction. 13+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936223152
  • Publisher: Full Cast Audio
  • Publication date: 9/30/2010
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 5.41 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

GERALDINE MCCAUGHREAN is the author of the sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and has written more than 130 books and plays for adults and children. She has won numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal and three Whitbread Awards. She lives in Berkshire, England.

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Read an Excerpt

Cyrano


By McCaughrean, Geraldine

Harcourt Children's Books

Copyright © 2006 McCaughrean, Geraldine
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0152058052

A Night at the Teatre
89 Te curtain goes up. Silence falls. A painted moon wavers on a painted backdrop. The audience shivers with delight. For what could be better than an evening at a Paris theatre? Who more famous than the evening's glittering star? Enter the magnificent Montfleury, stage right!
 The mighty Montfleury had not spoken more than three lines when a voice even louder than his own came booming out of the auditorium:
 "What? Has this thing appeared again tonight?" The audience parted like the Red Sea, and there he stood: Cyrano had come after all. "Montfleury, I thought I forbade you ever to set foot on stage again! You are the greatest ham since the Gadarene Swine. Be so good as to cart your streaky bacon off the stage and be gone!"
 Uproar. Half the audience began to moan and groan, not wanting to be robbed of the play they had come to see. The rest were just as happy to watch Cyrano rant against Bad Acting. Montfleury might be grossly huge and Cyrano as lean as a greyhound, but as celebrities went, Cyrano de Bergerac was by far the larger--larger than Life, in fact. Montfleury flung his arms about and tried to begin again, but it was hopeless.
 "Call yourself an actor? The trees of Birnam Wood were less wooden in Macbeth! Will you leave the stage of your own accord or must I cut you up into logs and burn you?"
 The actor'slines gurgled back down his throat like water down a drain. He could see the white panache on Cyrano's hat looming through the smoke of the footlights, and his two fat little legs told him to run.
 The audience took sides:
 "Get on with the play!"
 "You tell him, Cyrano!"
 "Stand your ground, Montfleury!"
 "Teach him a lesson, Cyrano!"
 But the other actors were protesting on their own behalf. "Who's going to pay us if we pack up and go home?" they wanted to know. They had no objection to Montfleury-the-Ham getting hamstrung, but they could not afford to lose an evening's pay. With a flourish worthy of royalty, Cyrano tossed back his cloak, reached across his body . . .
 "He's going for his sword!"
 . . . and drew out a bulging purse. He tossed it onto the stage where it burst gloriously open, spilling golden coins across the boards and fetching an acrobatic display from the actors as they dived to gather it up. Applause and peals of laughter burst from the gallery: The play might be lost, but the gesture was too impossibly grand to resist. What a divine fool that Cyrano was! What a colossus of style!
 Quel panache!
 On the sill of a nearby opera box, however, the fingers of a black-gloved hand drummed irritably. "The Gascon is making a nuisance of himself," said the Comte de Guiche, through a yawn of exquisite boredom. "Do something about him." One of his retinue slipped out of the opera box and downstairs to the auditorium.
 Cyrano had started to list, in verse, all the reasons for drowning bad actors in big buckets. But he had no sooner started than he was interrupted by a jeering, sneering heckler.
 "What's this, then? Is Sir-run-nose poking his nose in again where it don't belong?"
 The crowd gave a gasp. So! The evening's excitements were not over after all! A foppish young viscount lounged against the edge of the stage, flicking pieces of orange peel around the floor with the tip of his elegant sword, and smirking. "And such an ugly nose, too," he tittered.
 A spot of colour touched Cyrano's cheek and he glanced up fleetingly at the gallery. Five hundred pairs of eyes swung to see what he would do next.
 After a long silence, even the fop cocked a puzzled eyebrow. "Well? What are you waiting for? Aren't you going to cross swords with me? I insulted your big fat nose."
 "You did? When?"
 The fop was wrong-footed. "I--"
 "You call that an insult?" Cyrano declaimed. "Tch-tch-tch. I have trodden in worse insults than that on the pavement. My God, man! If you're going to insult me, at least do it with a little style! A little panache! Good Lord! There are as many schools of insult as there are tribes of Israel, and is that the best you can come up with? I see I must teach you the Art of the Insult!" At last the sword came out--a noise like a snake uncoiling. The onlookers shivered with delicious horror and drew back as far as possible, boys thrust behind their mothers, wives peeping over their husbands' shoulders. Once more Cyrano's grey-brown eyes flickered toward the upper gallery of the theatre and he raised the hilt of his sword to his lips in salute to someone seated there. He did not remove his hat: Perhaps he knew that, from up there, its brim concealed his huge beak of a nose.
 Then his blade flashed. Fast as the spoke of a carriage wheel it moved. Its reach was as long as a moonbeam. In his hand, it was summer lightning. His voice was calm and very slightly taunting. Such a silence had fallen that his words were audible from the front stalls to the upper gallery.
 "One! There is the Insult Theatrical. Let me give you an example: O brave New World that has such noses in it!
 "Two! There is the Insult Geographical: Just walking round you is like rounding Cape Horn!
 "Three! The Insult Inquisitive: Does it not cause you to tilt over, monsieur, or do you wear counterweights in your boots?"
 The crowd roared with laughter, while the fop roared with frustration, his lunges and parries hitting nothing but the empty air as Cyrano stepped deftly round him.
 "Four! There is the Insult Punning: Where does Cyrano come to an end? Nobody nose!
 "Five! The Insult Explanatory: Don't tell me! You grew it that big to keep your feet from getting sunburnt!
 "Six! The Insult Medical: When you have a cold, monsieur, Belgium floods!
 "Seven! The Insult Biblical: It wasn't Ararat where Noah ran aground, you know!"
 By this time, the gallant had forgotten about sarcastic remarks or showing off or even fencing. He had simply begun to run, lifting his heels higher than his kneecaps as Cyrano carved him clear of the floor.
 "You might have attempted Eight! The Insult Exaggeration: Have a care! When you sneeze, whole fleets sink in the Spanish Main!
 "Or Nine! The Insult Unsporting: You must be the only man who can win a race by a nose before the starter has even fired his gun!
 "Or Ten! The Insult Sentimental: Aaah! How kind of you, monsieur, to provide a perch for so many ickle squiwwels and birdies! "And now--to make an end--the Insult Well-Intentioned: If you ever lose your scabbard, at least you will always have somewhere to sheath your . . ." One small flick of his wrist, and Cyrano whipped the foil from his opponent's hand and sent it skidding among the floor rushes. ". . . sword. But no! You aspired to none of these! The words you offered me were about as witty as a dead rat, as clever as a used handkerchief, as original as Thursday!" He leaned forward, as if to dislodge a fly from a cake, and the viscount cowered down, eyes shut, trying to shield the whole of his body with two thin arms. "So, by your leave, I think I shall not put myself to the trouble of actually fighting you, monsieur." He added coldly: "The real shame rests with whoever sent you."
 Then Cyrano plunged his sword back into its sheath, leaving the fop gibbering and half-naked amid the rags of his shredded clothing. As the man scrambled and tripped his way out onto the street, he could scarcely believe his luck at getting away alive and unscathed. He wiped his face with relief--and found that the tip of his nose was dripping blood delicately onto his lacy shirt. He had been too scared even to feel the nick.
 Turning to acknowledge the cheers, Cyrano's grey-brown eyes glanced upward once more and rested for a fleeting moment on the face in the gallery. His beautiful young cousin reproached him with a shake of her head, but even she could not help smiling at his spectacular, idiotic coup de théâtre. Then, in the swish of a silken gown, she was gone, and it was as if one of the great multitiered chandeliers had blown out in the draught.
 "Well! Have you made enough enemies for one night?" said Cyrano's friend le Bret. "One: Montfleury. Two: the owner of the theatre. Three: that little viscount you shredded. Four . . ."
 "In that case, my cup runneth over with happiness!" said Cyrano ferociously. "Everywhere I go, arrogant little jackanapes jump out of the woodwork hoping to get famous by beating Cyrano de Bergerac in a duel. It is tedious in the extreme."
 "You idiot, Cyrano. You'll never get rich if you
go about chopping up members of the nobility! And talking of money . . . that was a year's pay you threw on stage. What are you going to live on now?"
 "I'll manage," said Cyrano with a shrug. "Sometimes one single moment is worth a year's pay! Some nights the heart strains at its tethers, doesn't it, and wants to break free and float upward toward the moon . . ."
Geraldine McCaughrean 2006

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.


Continues...

Excerpted from Cyrano by McCaughrean, Geraldine Copyright © 2006 by McCaughrean, Geraldine. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2010

    Beautiful

    This is a love story. Not a sappy teen romance, but a moving rendition of a life-long, unselfish, adoration. Cyrano, a deeply chivalrous romantic, sweeps the reader away. McCaughrean's rendition is poetic prose. Read with a box of tissues near by.

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