Wired! Philippines How I Found Cyrano
on Cyberspace

by MC <mac_upd@yahoo.com>

IT WAS one of those humdrum experiences in the school halls waiting for my professor in stylistics when I heard my classmates buzzing about Cyrano de Bergerac. It was shown in a cable channel the night before and I missed it. I thought it was one of those flicks along the genre of Kevin Costner's The Postman. Whatever, I suddenly had the earnest desire to know who the Cyrano they were talking about is.

  The bell rang and when our class began, I was caught in surprise when our professor popped out a quiz and it was about--who else?-- Cyrano de Bergerac. Uh-oh. I sure am missing a lot because of this Cyrano.

That same afternoon, I looked through the video shop at the mall in search of the man. No trace of Cyrano, but there's King George and Hamlet and Jerry Maguire. Just where is this dude?

Like a bulb lighting up my head, I figured where else could I get firsthand information about this mysterious person but through the Web. I remembered meeting Othello there and I'm confident that there could be useful bits of information about Cyrano.

I went to an Internet café and took my chance. Please, let there be Cyrano, I told myself.

Amazingly, there were 3,540 unclassified web pages of Cyrano de Bergerac. I scanned through literary sites and there were about 4,939 more. I didn't know the information superhighway can devote this much to Cyrano de Bergerac.

There was a comprehensive site devoted Cyrano found at http://cyrano.kensai.com/index4.htm. The other sites contained the full text of the play, a Cyrano basic resource, and a French text. There was even a site about a Cyrano restaurant. Even a Cyrano merchandise were sold online.

True enough, life with Internet has tremendous possibilities. Like what it did to Cyrano.

A nose that can launch a ship at the peninsula

I immediately hooked up into the site claiming to be comprehensive. And I can't disagree. It categorized all the Cyrano information according to history, background, summary, excerpt, Cyrano movies, other links, letters from Cyrano lovers (which seems to be under construction), discussion area and the 1898 critique of the play.

  I learned that Cyrano de Bergerac is actually a five-act verse drama by Edmond Rostandt. It's about a man with a terrible nose but whose greatest plume was his wit. It was set in 1640 when France was at war with Spain. 

A poet, swordsman, musician and philosopher, Cyrano is a romantic character which is a departure from the conventions at that time.

The play's about Cyrano's love for Roxane, a girl in love with a good-looking soldier named Christian. Cyrano, whose adornments are in his soul, figured that since Roxane is least likely to fall for him, decided instead to help Christian win Roxane. He painstakingly wrote poetry for Roxane and made her believe that it came from Christian.

The search engine offers a review of the play, as well. I think this is most helpful to understand the character of Cyrano better -- the depth that goes with his poetic wit. There is also a study guide for students of literature that would justify why a large nose is indeed a mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous and liberal man.

My heart hides behind phrases

I think the excerpt found at the site has quoted Cyrano well. It offers an instant glimpse to what can be gleaned from the play, as well as quotes that reveal and inspire.

Cyrano has put life and meaning to ordinary words in a manner that pierces the soul. His face value extends beyond his large nose and the mysticism of his soulful character unfolds through the lines he utter.

In a similar fashion, Edmond Rostandt has meaningfully translated Roxane's acceptance of Cyrano's affectionate poetic lines through Christian:

    Words revealed your heart.
    Now the image of you which
    filled my eyes first
    see better now.

As I go through the web page, the more I felt glued to Cyrano. I have yet to check http://www.hyperlink.com/weaver/95/25_9/east/sufi/cyrano.htm to know more about the mysticism of this man who describes his nose is such varieties (pedantic, rustic, familiar etc.) but has redeemed his soul through his brilliant poetry.

On Christian's death, "My heart mourns for me and does not know."

When Roxane's lover, Christian, died in a battle, Cyrano was left mourning. Perhaps he knew that his poetry for Roxane may no longer live as well. 

These and more can be gleaned from the site, including little trivia about the play. Things like Cyrano's birthday on Mar. 6, 1619, a 1987 Broadway play on Cyrano or a 1913 libretto where Cyrano is a baritone, Roxane, a soprano and Christian, a tenor. Plus, smiley faces on the man :/7) , :7)

I cannot stay!
My moonbeam comes to carry me away.
  • Cyrano on his death

Out of the thousand web pages devoted to Cyrano, I am amazed at how much information I got in one click. I think literature is never the same again with Internet. It has managed to organize pieces of information into a functioning body of knowledge, easy access and no sweat.

I met Cyrano at the information superhighway and the journey was well worth it. I am glad to know that there were many Cyrano devotees on line. I can't wait to check the Internet Classic Archives. Search engines -- seems like we can't live without them. They seem to have become the white plume of my generation. I wonder what's in store for me in a J.D. Salinger site.

 


Articles in WIRED! Philippines are copyrighted by the authors.
WIRED! Philippines is a monthly online magazine published and hosted by KabayanCentral.com
Copyright 1998 KabayanCentral.com. All rights reserved.