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Cyrano De Bergerac
French novelist, dramatist, scientist and duelist
Cyrano de Bergerac
Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac
Savinien de Cyrano (1619-03-06)6 March 1619[note 1] Paris, France
28 July 1655(1655-07-28) (aged 36) Sannois, France
A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first half of the seventeenth century. Today he is best known as the inspiration for Edmond Rostand's most noted drama Cyrano de Bergerac, which, although it includes elements of his life, also contains invention and myth.
Since the 1970s, there has been a resurgence in the study of Cyrano, demonstrated in the abundance of theses, essays, articles and biographies published in France and elsewhere in recent decades.
Cyrano's short life is poorly documented. Certain significant chapters of his life are only known from the Preface to the Histoire Comique par Monsieur de Cyrano Bergerac, Contenant les Estats & Empires de la Lune (Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon) published in 1657, nearly two years after his death. Without Henri Le Bret, who wrote the biographical information, his country childhood, his military engagement, the injuries it caused, his prowess as a swordsman, the circumstances of his death and his supposed final conversion would remain unknown.
Since 1862 when Auguste Jal revealed that the "Lord of Bergerac" was Parisian and not Gascon, research in parish registries and notarial records by a small number of researchers, in particular Madeleine Alcover of Rice University, has allowed the public to know more about his genealogy, his family, his home in Paris and those of some of his friends, but has revealed no new documents that support or refute the essentials of Le Bret's account or fill the gaps in his narrative.[note 2]
Savinien II de Cyrano was the son of Abel I de Cyrano, lord of Mauvières, (156?-1648), counsel (avocat) of the Parliament of Paris,[note 3] and of Espérance Bellanger (1586-164?), "daughter of deceased nobleman Estienne Bellanger, Counsellor of the King and Treasurer of his Finances".
Savinien I de Cirano, fish merchant
His paternal grandfather, Savinien I de Cyrano (15-1590), was probably born into a notable family from Sens[note 4] in Burgundy. Documents describe him in turn as a "merchant and burgher of Paris" (« marchand et bourgeois de Paris » 20 May 1555), "(sea-)fish merchant to the King" (« vendeur de poisson de mer pour le Roy ») in several other documents in following years, and finally "Royal counsellor" (« conseiller du Roi, maison et couronne de France » 7 April 1573). In Paris, on 9April 1551, he married Anne Le Maire, daughter of Estienne Le Maire and Perrette Cardon, who died in 1616. They are known to have had four children: Abel (the writer's father), Samuel (15-1646), Pierre (15-1626) and Anne (15-1652).
Of his maternal grandfather, Estienne Bellanger, "Financial Controller of the Parisian general revenue" (« contrôleur des finances en la recette générale de Paris »), and of his background, we know almost nothing. We know more about his wife, Catherine Millet, whose father, Guillaume II Millet, Lord of Caves, was secretary of the King's finances, and whose grandfather, Guillaume I Millet (149?-1563), qualified in medicine in 1518, was doctor to three kings in succession (Francis I, Henry II and Francis II). He married Catherine Valeton, daughter of a property tax collector from Nantes, Audebert Valeton, who, accused of involvement in the Affair of the Placards, was "burned alive on wood taken from his house" [note 5] on 21 January 1535 at the crossroads of la Croix du Trahoir (the intersection of the Rue de l'Arbre-Sec and the Rue Saint-Honoré), in front of the Pavillon des singes, where Molière lived almost a century later.
Espérance Bellanger and Abel I de Cyrano were married on 3September 1612 at the church of St-Gervais-et-St-Protais. She was at least twenty-six years old;[note 6] he was about forty-five.[note 7] Their marriage contract,[note 8] signed the previous 12July at the office of Master Denis Feydeau, counsellor, secretary and king's notary, second cousin of the bride, was only published in the year 2000 by Madeleine Alcover, who minutely traces the fate of the witnesses (and more particularly their links with pious milieus) and notes that many of them "had entered the worlds of high finance, the noblesse de robe, of the aristocracy (including the Court) and even the noblesse d'épée".
His father's library
In 1911 Jean Lemoine made known the inventory of Abel de Cyrano's worldly goods. His library, relatively poorly stocked (126 volumes), testifies to his schooling as a jurist and to an open curiosity: a taste for languages and ancient literature, the great humanists of the Renaissance (Erasmus, Rabelais, Juan Luis Vivès), knowledge of Italian, interest in the sciences. On the religious side, one notices the presence of two Bibles, of an Italian New Testament and the Prayers of St. Basil in Greek, but no pious works. There is no object of that kind (engraving, painting, statue, crucifix) amongst the other inventoried items, but in contrast "twelve small paintings of portraits of gods and goddesses" and "four wax figures: one of Venus and Cupid, another of a woman pulling a thorn, one of a flageolet player and one of an ashamed nude woman".[note 9] Finally, one notes the presence of several books by well-known Protestants: the Discours politiques et militaires ("Political and Military Discourse") of François de la Noue, two volumes of George Buchanan, the Dialectique of Pierre de La Ramée, the Alphabet de plusieurs sortes de lettres ("Alphabet of different kinds of letters") by master calligrapher Pierre Hamon and La Vérité de la religion chrétienne ("The Truth of the Christian Religion") by Philippe Duplessis-Mornay, whose presence confirms that Abel spent his younger years in Huguenot surroundings.
Espérance and Abel I had at least six children:
Denis, baptised at the church of Saint-Eustache on 31 March 1614 by Anne Le Maire, his grandmother, and Denis Feydeau, financier. He studied Theology at the Sorbonne and died in the 1640s;
Antoine, baptized at Saint-Eustache on 11 February 1616 by his paternal aunt, Anne Cyrano, and a godfather who is not named in the baptismal register discovered by Auguste Jal, but who might have been the financier Antoine Feydeau (1573-1628), younger brother of Denis. Died at a young age;
Honoré, baptized at Saint-Eustache on 3July 1617 by Honoré Barentin, trésorier des parties casuelles, and an unnamed godmother. Died at a young age;
Savinien II (1619-1655),
Abel II, born around 1624,[note 10] who took the title "Lord of Mauvières" after the death of his father in 1648;
Catherine, whose date of birth is not known and who died in the early years of the following century, having become a nun at the convent of the Filles de la Croix (de Paris) ("Daughters of the Cross (Paris)") in the Rue de Charonne in 1641, under the name Sister Catherine de Sainte-Hyacinthe.
Childhood and adolescence
Baptism and godparents
The historian Auguste Jal discovered the baptism of the (then) supposed Gascon in the 1860s:
Finally, after long exertion, I knew that Abel Cyrano had left the neighbourhood of Saint-Eustache for that of Saint-Sauveur, and that Espérance Bellanger had given birth in this new dwelling to a boy whose baptismal record is as follows: "The sixth of March one thousand six hundred and nineteen, Savinien, son of Abel de Cyrano, squire, Lord of Mauvières, and of the lady Espérance Bellenger (sic), the godfather, nobleman Antoine Fanny, King's Counsellor and Auditor in his Court of Finances, of this parish, the godmother the lady Marie Fédeau (sic), wife of nobleman Master Louis Perrot, Counsellor and Secretary to the King, Household and Crown of France, of the parish of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois". This son of Abel de Cyrano who was not given the name of his godfather, Antoine, because he had a brother of that name, born in 1616, but was named Savinien in memory of his grandfather, who could doubt that this was the Savinien Cyrano who was born, according to the biographers, at the chateau of Bergerac in or around 1620?
Thus Espérance Bellanger was thirty-three years old, Abel de Cyrano around fifty-two.
The surname Fanny appears nowhere in the very complete study of La Chambre des comptes de Paris ("Court of Finances of Paris") published by Count H. Coustant d'Yanville in 1875 (or for that matter in any other French document of the 17th century). In 1898, Viscount Oscar de Poli suggested that it must have been a transcription error and proposed reading it as Lamy. An Antoine Lamy had actually been accepted as an auditor of finances on 2September 1602, a year before Pierre de Maupeou, Espérance Bellanger's cousin and son-in-law of Denis Feydeau who was a witness to the marriage of Savinien's parents in 1612. His wife, Catherine Vigor, associate of Vincent de Paul, would become President of the Confrérie de la Charité de Gentilly ("Charitable Fellowship of Gentilly") where the couple set up a mission in 1634. She could well be the godmother of Catherine de Cyrano.
Marie Feydeau, cosponsor with Antoine Lamy, was the sister of Denis and Antoine Feydeau and the wife of Louis (or Loys) Perrot (15-1625), who, apart from his titles of "King's Counsellor and Secretary", also had that of "King's Interpreter of Foreign Languages".
Mauvières and Bergerac
The Vallée de Chevreuse in 1701. You can make out Sous-Forêt and Mauvières just to the west of Chevreuse, on the banks of the Yvette River.
In 1622, Abel de Cyrano left Paris with his family and went to settle on his lands at Mauvières and Bergerac in the Vallée de Chevreuse, which had come to him in part after the death of his mother in 1616.
His possessions, situated on the banks of the Yvette River in the parish of Saint-Forget, had been purchased by Savinien I de Cyrano forty years earlier from Thomas de Fortboys, who had bought them himself in 1576 from Lord Dauphin de Bergerac (or Bergerat), whose ancestors had possessed them for more than a century.[note 11]
When Savinien I de Cyrano acquired it, the domain of Mauvières consisted of "a habitable mansion...with a lower room, a cellar beneath, kitchen, pantry, an upper chamber, granaries, stables, barn, portal, all roofed with tiles, with courtyard, walled dovecote; mill, enclosed plot, garden and fishpond, the right of middle and low justice...".
The estate of Bergerac, which adjoined Mauvières, "comprised a house with portal, courtyard, barn, hovel and garden, being an acre or thereabouts, plus forty-six and a half acres, of which thirty-six and a half were farmland and ten woodland, with the rights of middle and low justice".
Abraham Bosse (1602-1676), Le Maître d'école.
It was in this rustic setting that the child grew up and in the neighbouring parish he learnt to read and write. His friend Le Bret recalls:
The education that we had together with a good country priest who took in boarders, made us friends from our most tender youth, and I remember the aversion he had from that time for one who seemed to him a shadow of Sidias,[note 12] because, in the thoughts which that man could somewhat grasp, he believed him incapable of teaching him anything; so that he paid so little attention to his lessons and his corrections that his father, who was a fine old gentleman, fairly unconcerned for his children's education and overly credulous of this one's complaints, removed him [from the school] a little too suddenly and, without considering if his son would be better off elsewhere, he sent him to that city [Paris] where he left him, until the age of nineteen years, to his own devices.[note 13]
It is unknown at what age Savinien arrived in Paris.[note 14] He may have been accommodated by his uncle Samuel de Cyrano in a large family residence in the Rue des Prouvaires, where his parents had lived up until 1618. In this theory, it was there that he was introduced to his cousin Pierre,[note 15] with whom, according to Le Bret, he would build a lasting friendship.[note 16]
Jacques Gomboust, Plan de Paris 1652 (detail). Upper Rue Saint-Jacques and the collège de Lisieux.
He continued his secondary studies at an academy which remains unknown. It has long been maintained that he attended the Collège de Beauvais where the action of the comedy Le pédant joué takes place[note 17] and whose principal, Jean Grangier would inspire the character of Granger, the pedant of Le pédant joué, but his presence in June 1641 as a student of rhetoric at the Collège de Lisieux[note 18] (see below), has encouraged more recent historians to revise that opinion.[note 19]
In 1636, his father sold Mauvières and Bergerac to Antoine Balestrier, Lord of Arbalestre, and returned to Paris to live with his family in "a modest dwelling at the top of the great Rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques close to the Crossing" (parish of Saint-Jacques and Saint-Philippe), a short distance from the Collège de Lisieux. But there is no certainty that Savinien went to live with them.
A slippery slope
Le Bret continues his story:
That age when nature is most easily corrupted, and that great liberty he had to only do that which seemed good to him, brought him to a dangerous weakness (penchant), which I dare say I stopped...
Historians and biographers do not agree on this penchant which threatened to corrupt Cyrano's nature. As an example of the romantic imagination of some biographers, Frédéric Lachèvre wrote:
Against an embittered and discontented father, Cyrano promptly forgot the way to his father's house. Soon he was counted among the gluttons and hearty drinkers of the best inns, with them he gave himself up to jokes of questionable taste, usually following prolonged libations...He also picked up the deplorable habit of gambling. This kind of life could not continue indefinitely, especially since Abel de Cyrano had become completely deaf to his son's repeated requests for funds.
Forty years later, two editors added to the realism and local colour:
Since nothing binds Cyrano to the humble lodgings of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques to which the uncertainties of fate condemned his family, he gives himself over entirely to Paris, to its streets and, according to the words of one of his close friends, "to its excrescences" (à ses verrues).[note 20] He drinks, diligently frequents the Rue Glatigny, called Val d'amour, because of the women who sell pleasure there,[note 21] gambles, roams the sleeping city to frighten the bourgeois or forge signs, provokes the watch, gets into debt and links himself with that literary Bohemia which centered around Tristan L'Hermite and Saint-Amant and cultivated the memory of Théophile and his impious lyricism.
D'Assoucy around 1630
In his voluminous biography of Charles Coypeau d'Assoucy, Jean-Luc Hennig suggests that the poet-musician had begun around 1636 (at thirty-one) a homosexual relationship with Cyrano, then seventeen. In support of this hypothesis, he notes that both had families from Sens, a lawyer father and religious brothers and sisters, that the elder only liked youths and in regard to the women of Montpellier who accused him in 1656 of neglecting them, he wrote that "all of that has no more foundation than their fanciful imagination, already concerned, which had taught them the long-time habits [that he] had had with C[hapelle], late D[e] B[ergerac] and late C."[note 22]
Cyrano's homosexuality was first explicitly hypothesized by Jacques Prévot in 1978.[note 23]
Life and works
He was the son of Abel de Cyrano, lord of Mauvières and Bergerac, and Espérance Bellanger. He received his first education from a country priest, and had for a fellow pupil his friend and future biographer Henri Lebret. He then proceeded to Paris, and the heart of the Latin Quarter, to the college de Dormans-Beauvais, where he had as master Jean Grangier, whom he afterwards ridiculed in his comedy Le Pédant joué (The Pedant Tricked) of 1654. At the age of nineteen, he entered a corps of the guards, serving in the campaigns of 1639 and 1640. As a minor nobleman and officer he was notorious for his dueling and boasting. His unique past allowed him to make unique contributions to French art.
One author, Ishbel Addyman, varies from other biographers and claims that he was not a Gascon aristocrat, but a descendant of a Sardinian fishmonger and that the Bergerac appellation stemmed from a small estate near Paris where he was born, and not in Gascony, and that he may have suffered tertiary syphilis. She also claims that he may likely have been homosexual and around 1640 became the lover of Charles Coypeau d'Assoucy, a writer and musician, until around 1653, when they became engaged in a bitter rivalry. This led to Bergerac sending d'Assoucy death threats that compelled him to leave Paris. The quarrel extended to a series of satirical texts by both men. Bergerac wrote Contre Soucidas (an anagram of his enemy's name) and Contre un ingrat (Against an ingrate), while D'Assoucy counterattacked with Le Combat de Cyrano de Bergerac avec le singe de Brioché, au bout du Pont-Neuf (The battle of Cyrano de Bergerac with the monkey of Brioché, at the end of the Pont-Neuf). He also associated with Théophile de Viau, the French poet and libertine.
He is said to have left the military and returned to Paris to pursue literature, producing tragedies cast in the orthodox classical mode.
The model for the Roxane character of the Rostand play was Bergerac's cousin, who lived with his sister, Catherine de Bergerac, at the Convent of the Daughter of the Cross. As in the play, Bergerac did fight at the Siege of Arras (1640) a battle of the Thirty Years' War between French and Spanish forces in France (though this was not the more famous final Battle of Arras, fought fourteen years later). One of his confrères in the battle was the Baron Christian of Neuvillette, who married Cyrano's cousin. However, the plotline of Rostand's play, Cyrano de Bergerac, involving Roxane and Christian is entirely fictional.
Cyrano de Bergerac's works L'Autre Monde: ou les États et Empires de la Lune ("Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon", published posthumously, 1657) and Les États et Empires du Soleil (The States and Empires of the Sun, 1662) are classics of early modern science fiction. In the former, Cyrano travels to the Moon using rockets powered by firecrackers (it may be the earliest description of a space flight by use of a vessel that has rockets attached) and meets the inhabitants. The Moon-men have four legs, firearms that shoot game and cook it, and talking earrings used to educate children.
The play suggests that he was injured by a falling wooden beam in 1654 while entering the house of his patron, the Duc D'Arpajon. However the academic and editor of Cyrano's works, Madeleine Alcover, uncovered a contemporary text which suggests an attack on the Duke's carriage in which a member of his household was injured. It is as yet inconclusive as to whether or not his death was a result of the injury, or an unspecified disease. He died over a year later on July 28, 1655, aged 36, at the house of his cousin, Pierre De Cyrano, in Sannois. He was buried in a church in Sannois. However, there is strong evidence to support the theory that his death was a result of a botched assassination attempt as well as further damage to his health caused by a period of confinement in a private asylum, orchestrated by his enemies, who succeeded in enlisting the help of his own brother Abel de Cyrano.
Actor Benoît-Constant Coquelin as Cyrano de Bergerac.
In 1897, the French poetEdmond Rostand published a play, Cyrano de Bergerac, on the subject of Cyrano's life. This play, which became Rostand's most successful work, revolves around Cyrano's love for the beautiful Roxane, whom he is obliged to woo on behalf of a more conventionally handsome but less articulate friend, Christian de Neuvillette.
The Adventures of Cyrano De Bergerac, by Louis Gallet, was published in English by Jarrolds Publishers (London) in 1900. It bears no resemblance to Rostand's play apart from the characteristics of the de Bergerac character.
John Shirley published a story about Cyrano called "Cyrano and the Two Plumes" in a French anthology; it was reprinted at The Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. 
The novel by Adam Browne, Pyrotechnicon: Being a TRUE ACCOUNT of Cyrano de Bergerac's FURTHER ADVENTURES among the STATES and EMPIRES of the STARS, by HIMSELF (Dec'd), was a sequel to Cyrano's science fiction, published by Keith Stevenson, 2014.
The Lost Sonnets of Cyrano de Bergerac: A Poetic Fiction by James L. Carcioppolo. Published in English by Lost Sonnet Publishing (Benicia, California) in 1998. Fiction poetry with the premise that Cyrano wrote a sequence of 57 sonnets during the last year of his life. Heavily annotated.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1658). Satyrical Characters, and handsome Descriptions in letters, written to severall Persons of Quality, by Monsieur De Cyrano Bergerac. Translated from the French by a Person of Honour. London: Henry Herringman.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1659). ?, or, The government of the world in the moon : a comical history / written by that famous wit and caveleer of France, Monsieur Cyrano Bergerac ; and done into English by Tho. St Serf, Gent. Translated by Sir Thomas St. Serf (Sir Thomas Sydserff). London: printed by J. Cottrel, and are to be sold by Hum. Robinson.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1687). The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Worlds of the Sun and Moon. Written in French by Cyrano Bergerac. And newly Englished by A. Lowell, A.M. Translated by Archibald Lovell. London: Henry Rhodes.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1889). A Voyage to the Moon. Translated by Archibald Lovell, Edited by Curtis Hidden Page. New York: Doubleday and McClure Co. Retrieved 2015.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1753). A voyage to the moon : with some account of the solar world. A comical romance. Done from the French of M. Cyrano de Bergerac. By Mr. Derrick. Translated by Samuel Derrick. London: Printed for P. Vaillant, R. Griffiths, and G. Woodfall.
Cyrano de Bergerac; Friendly, Jonathon (1756). The agreement. A satyrical and facetious dream. To which is annexed, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, &c. London: [s.n.] (The dream is a translation of D'un songe, first published in Lettres diverses.)
Cyrano de Bergerac (1923). Voyages to the moon and the sun. Translated by Richard Aldington. London/New York: Routledge & Sons Ltd/E.P. Dutton & Co.
L'Autre monde: I. Les Estats et Empires de la Lune (texte intégral, publié pour la première fois, d'après les manuscrits de Paris et de Munich, avec les variantes de l'imprimé de 1657). -- II. Les Estats et Empires du Soleil (d'après l'édition originale de 1662)
The Other World: I. The States and Empires of the Moon (full text published for the first time following the Paris and Munich manuscripts including variations from the 1657 edition). -- II. The States and Empires of the Sun (following the original edition of 1662)
Le Pédant joué, comédie, texte du Ms. de la Bibl. nat., avec les variantes de l'imprimé de 1654. -- La Mort d'Agrippine, tragédie. -- Les Lettres, texte du Ms. de la Bibl. nat. avec les var. de 1654. -- Les Mazarinades: Le Ministre d'Etat flambé; Le Gazettier des-interessé, etc. -- Les Entretiens pointus. -- Appendice: Le Sermon du curé de Colignac, etc...
The Pedant tricked, comedy, text from Mss. in the National Library with variations from the edition of 1654. -- The Death of Agrippina, tragedy. -- The Letters, text from Mss. in the National Library with variations from 1654 edition. -- The Mazarinades: The Minister of State roasted; The disinterested Gazetteer, etc. -- The sharp interviews. -- Appendix: The sermon of the curate of Colignac, etc...
Cyrano de Bergerac (1962). Histoire comique des État et empire de la Lune et du Soleil [Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and the Sun] (in French). Edited by Claude Mettra and Jean Suyeux. Paris: Jean-Jacques Pauvert et Club des Libraires de France.
Includes an afterword, a dictionary of characters, chronological tables and notes. Illustrated with engravings taken from scientific works of the time.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1977). L'Autre Monde ou les Estats et Empires de la lune [The Other World or the States and Empires of the Moon]. Société des textes français modernes (in French). Edited by Madeleine Alcover. Paris: Honoré Champion.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1982). La Mort d'Agrippine [The Death of Agrippina]. Textes Littéraires (in French). 44. Exeter: University of Exeter. ISBN0-85989-182-8.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1998). L'Autre monde : Les États et empires de la Lune. Les États et empires du Soleil [The Other World: The States and Empires of the Moon. The States and Empires of the Sun.]. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade: Libertins du XVIIe siècle (in French). I. Edited by Jacques Prévot. Paris: Gallimard.
Includes an introduction, chronology and bibliography
Cyrano de Bergerac (1999). Lettres satiriques et amoureuses, précédées de Lettres diverses (in French). Edited and annotated by Jean-Charles Darmon et Alain Mothu. Paris: Desjonquères.
Cyrano de Bergerac (2001). OEuvres complètes : L'Autre Monde ou les États et Empires de la lune. Les États et empires du soleil. Fragment de physique [Complete Works: The Other World or the States and Empires of the Moon. The States and Empires of the Sun. Fragment of Physics] (in French). I. Edited and annotated by Madeleine Alcover. Paris: Honoré Champion. ISBN9782745314529.
Cyrano de Bergerac (2004). Les États et Empires de la Lune et du Soleil (avec le Fragment de physique) [The States and Empires of the Moon and the Sun (with the Fragment of Physics)]. Champion Classiques: Littératures (in French). Edited and annotated by Madeleine Alcover. Paris: Honoré Champion.
Cyrano de Bergerac (2001). OEuvres complètes : Lettres. Entretiens pointus. Mazarinades. Les États et empires de la lune. Les États et empires du soleil. Fragment de physique (in French). II. Edited and annotated by Luciano Erba (Lettres, Entretiens pointus) and Hubert Carrier (Mazarinades). Paris: Honoré Champion. ISBN9782745304292.
Cyrano de Bergerac (2001). OEuvres complètes : Théâtre [Complete Works: Theatre] (in French). III. Edited and annotated by André Blanc. Paris: Honoré Champion. ISBN9782745304193.
Cyrano de Bergerac (2003). Les États et Empires du Soleil [The States and Empires of the Sun]. GF (in French). Edited by Bérengère Parmentier. Paris: Flammarion.
Introduction, chronology, notes, documentation, bibliography and lexicon by Bérengère Parmentier.
^ abThough often cited as his date of birth, the 6th of March is actually the date of his baptism. At the time, it was usual for a baptism to take place within 3 days of birth and in Paris, with easy access to a priest, it would have been possible that it happened on the same day. However, the actual date remains unknown.
^Consider what Madeleine Alcover has written in the « Biographie » de Cyrano de Bergerac: "It was necessary to renounce a kind of writing where the author presents to the readers as 'facts' purely subjective assertions; that kind of writing, known in Narratology as characteristic of the infallible and omniscient narrator, is totally misplaced in a biography. The readers must always be able to distinguish the content of a document from the interpretation that is made of it; the lack of documentation from a hypothesis (more or less well founded...)"
^« En 1587, il était étudiant à Bourges. Ayant fréquenté une jeune fille, Jehanne Palleau, son père le tirera d'une fâcheuse affaire en faisant signer devant notaire une attestation par laquelle celle-ci ne demande pas à Abel de la reconnaître... »
^Saint Savinian is the name of the first archbishop of Sens.
^L'inventaire des biens d'Abel I de Cyrano dressé après son décès, en 1648, révélera une nette évolution sur le plan de la religiosité, puisqu'on trouvera, dans son logement, « un tableau peint sur bois, garni de sa bordure, où est représentée la Nativité de Notre-Seigneur, un autre tableau carré peint sur toile, où est représentée la Charité [...] un tableau peint sur bois où est représenté un Baptême de Notre-Seigneur, et un autre tableau, aussi peint sur bois, où est représenté (sic) Notre-Seigneur et Saint Jean en leur enfance, et la Vierge les tenant [...] deux tableaux représentant le sacrifice d'Abraham, un autre rond sur bois, où est représenté le Jugement de Sainte Suzanne [...], deux petits tableaux de broderie représentant deux Saint-Esprit en coeur, et un tableau sur bois où est représenté Saint François [...], trois petites écuelles de faïence avec deux autres petits tableaux où sont représentés Notre-Seigneur et la Vierge ».
^In two documents from January and February 1649 concerning the succession of Abel I de Cyrano, Abel II is said to be "of the age of emancipation, progressing under the authority of the said Savinien de Cyrano, his brother and guardian" (« émancipé d'âge, procédant sous l'autorité de Savinien dudit Cyrano, son frère et curateur »).
^In a much disputed study (L'ancestralité bergeracoise de Savinien II de Cyrano de Bergerac : prouvée par la Tour Cyrano, les jurades, les chroniques bergeracoises et par Cyrano lui-même, Lembras, 1968) an erudite citizen of Bergerac, Martial Humbert Augeard, wrote that the origin of the de Bergerac family was a certain Ramond de la Rivière de la Martigne who, having been bestowed with the estate of Mauvières in recompense for his action against the English in the retaking of Bergerac by Duke Louis I d'Anjou, brother of Charles V, in 1377, gave the name Bergerac to the meadows adjacent to Mauvières to the west, up until that time known as the Pré joli ("Pretty Meadow") or Pré Sous-Foretz ("Woodland Meadow"). In the 18th century, the estate of Bergerac returned to its old name of Sous-Forets.
^Name of a pedant character in Première journée, fragment of a comic story by Théophile de Viau.
^L'éducation que nous avions eue ensemble chez un bon prêtre de la campagne qui tenait de petits pensionnaires nous avait faits amis dès notre plus tendre jeunesse, et je me souviens de l'aversion qu'il avait dès ce temps-là pour ce qui lui paraissait l'ombre d'un Sidias [Note : Nom d'un personnage de pédant dans Première journée, fragment d'histoire comique de Théophile de Viau.], parce que, dans la pensée que cet homme en tenait un peu [Note : Comprendre : qu'il était tant soit peu pédant.], il le croyait incapable de lui enseigner quelque chose ; de sorte qu'il faisait si peu d'état de ses leçons et de ses corrections, que son père, qui était un bon vieux gentilhomme assez indifférent pour l'éducation de ses enfants et trop crédule aux plaintes de celui-ci, l'en retira un peu trop brusquement, et, sans s'informer si son fils serait mieux autre part, il l'envoya en cette ville [Paris], où il le laissa jusqu'à dix-neuf ans sur sa bonne foi [Note : « On dit Laisser un homme sur sa foi, pour dire l'abandonner à sa conduite. »].
^In his introduction to Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano de Sannois, Turnhout, Hervé Bargy asserts, without offering any proof, that he was twelve years old.
^"...Monsieur de Cyrano, his cousin, from whom he had received great signs of friendship, from whose knowledgeable conversation on present and past history, he took such immense pleasure..." »
^This was seen for the first time in the second edition of Menagiana: "The poor works of Cyrano de Bergerac! He had studied at the collège de Beauvais in the time of Principal Granger. It is said that he was still studying rhetoric when he wrote his Pédant joué about the principal. There are a few passable parts in that piece, but all the rest falls flat." (« Les pauvres ouvrages que ceux de Cyrano de Bergerac ! Il avait étudié au collège de Beauvais du temps du principal Granger. On dit qu'il était encore en rhétorique quand il fit son Pédant joué sur ce principal. Il y a quelque peu d'endroits passables en cette pièce, mais tout le reste est bien plat. »)
^Charles Sorel, who perhaps also studied there, made vitriolic portrait of it in his Francion.
^"I think that Cyrano could have been a student at Lisieux even before his entry into the Army, and that the comedy that his composed against the collège de Beauvais could be explained by the fact that Sorel had already made fun of the collège de Lisieux." (« Je pense que Cyrano aurait pu être étudiant à Lisieux avant même son départ à l'armée, et que la comédie qu'il a composée contre le collège de Beauvais pourrait s'expliquer par le fait que Sorel avait déjà ridiculisé le collège de Lisieux.»)
^It seems that the author here means Charles Sorel, whose biographer, Émile Roy, wrote in 1891 that he knew Paris particularly well and "described it all, even the 'excrescences'". But the expression is an invention of the 19th century and appears nowhere in the works of Sorel.
^The Rue de Glatigny was found on the site of the current forecourt of Notre-Dame. In the Middle Ages, it had been one of the streets that an ordinance of Saint Louis designated as the only ones where "women of dissolute life" had the right to "keep their brothels". But it seems, reading Henri Sauval, that in Cyrano's time it had not had, for the past two centuries, that designation or reputation.
^« tout cela est sans autre fondement que leur chimérique imagination, déjà préoccupée, qui leur avait appris les longues habitudes [qu'il] avait eues avec C[hapelle], feu D[e] B[ergerac] et feu C. »
^"Cyrano homosexual? Why not? Didn't they have plenty of others among the libertines?" (« Cyrano homosexuel ? Pourquoi pas ? N'y en eut-il pas bien d'autres parmi les libertins ? ») Around the same time, Madeleine Alcover wrote: "To that valorisation of the penis owing to an essentially masculine ideology, is added another which I believe comes from a homosexuality if not realised, at least latent." (« À cette valorisation du pénis due à une idéologie essentiellement masculine, s'en ajoute une autre que je crois venir d'une homosexualité sinon réalisée, du moins latente. »)
^ abChronologie, Voyage dans la lune, Garnier-Flammarion 1970, p. 7
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