A Life of Edmond Rostand, Creator of "Cyrano de Bergerac", by Sue Lloyd

Published in 2007 by the Genge Press, 45 Quay St., Minehead, TA24 5UL, England,

ISBN 978-0-9549043-1-9

Paperback edition 376 +xii pages, including notes, appendix of translations and editions, bibliography and index.

Price £15.00 (£18.50 including UK postage); 20 Euros (p&p 10 Euros); US$ 20 (p&p 17$). You can pay by bank transfer, cheque or via Paypal.


First published in March 2003  (Bloomington, USA).

UK edition published by Genge Press in 2007.


Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac was first performed in Paris in 1897 and has never been off the stage since. But although his play is world-famous, Rostand himself is a shadowy figure to most of us. This biography attempts to give a clearer picture of the man who put many of his own characteristics and ideals into his hero Cyrano.


Since publishing this biography, Sue Lloyd has contributed programme notes to the National Theatre London’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac in spring 2004. She has also given talks on the play and its author on this occasion and at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2009. In May 2006, she was invited to contribute two articles to the programme for the Royal Opera House London’s production of Franco Alfano’s opera, Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Placido Domingo. In 2010 she took part in a Colloque at Rostand’s former home, Villa Arnaga, to celebrate the centenary of Chantecler. See Chantecler. In 2018 she was invited back to Cambo to take part in a conference celebrating the centenary of Rostand's death.

See also Sue's article about Edmond Rostand in the Literary Encyclopedia,





This is the first full-length biography of Edmond Rostand in English. It relates the poet’s life to his work, showing how Rostand expressed his own character and ideals in his heroes, especially Cyrano. The book throws new light on the origins of Rostand’s most famous play, and introduces readers to his other plays, such as Chantecler, thought by many to be his masterpiece. Written for the non-specialist, but with much to offer to specialists too, it portrays Rostand as a sensitive, modest man, who found his sudden fame hard to bear. In spite of periods of depression, however, he continued to write, hoping to continue to inspire the French public with his own idealistic attitude to life through his plays and poetry.







Until now, little has been available in English about Edmond Rostand and his work. The author, Sue Lloyd, hopes to inspire non-French speakers with her own enthusiasm for Rostand and his plays. She is best-known for her major new editions of Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Longman, 1982; Penguin, 1984), but has also contributed to various dictionaries, and given talks about words on the BBC World Service. She has also worked in schools in East Africa as school librarian and teacher of French and English. Sue now lives in Somerset, England, where she has set up the Genge Press to spread the word about Edmond Rostand and his work.









"The greatest biographical experience I've ever had."


"Sue Lloyd's biography of Edmond Rostand is simply incredible. After reading the French playwright's best-known work 'Cyrano de Bergera' last December, and then in early 2017 some of his other plays ('Chantecler', 'The Eaglet', and 'The Princess Far Away'), I've found a new favorite writer. Rostand's grand view of life's possibilities, his passionate defense of idealism, pride, and integrity, his poetic wit, and dramatic imagination — all this exuded in his art is more than enough, but meeting the man by way of Lloyd's passionate and precise research was the greatest biographical experience I've ever had.

 "Organized into five acts, 'The Man Who Was Cyrano' traces Edmond's childhood and adolescence, rising dramatic aspirations, climactic artistic achievements, and his final years. She brilliantly brings the artist's eccentricities and passions to life with the help of first-hand letters and work notes, anecdotes and accounts from friends, families, and colleagues, a trove of historic documents, and her own detective work."


Jon Glatfelter on his (highly recommended) literary site in the USA:, March 2017



“I loved this book. It was informative, easy to read, and written in a clever way, revealing his life as though it were set on a stage. Sue Lloyd sheds some well-deserved light on a great poet that has gone too long without the recognition owed to him.” Sara C.Wolff, review.


“You really bring the Parisian literary and theatrical scene to life… and make Rostand a real human being”… “plenty in it for the specialist and also very readable for people like me who are interested but not so knowledgeable.” D.A., London


“I enjoyed it even more the second time around … You seem to have captured an era in French history…” H.G., Fife


“I have just finished reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it… you have inspired me to move on to reading Chantecler. L.W. Suffolk





Forum for Modern Language Studies, Jan. 2005; vol 41, no. 1, p 114


“This first full-length biography in English provides a readable, reliable and affectionate narrative of his life and career… The colourful literary life of turn-of-the-century Paris is well portrayed, autobiographical references are continually highlighted in the works, and there are some nice passages encapsulating the qualities and limitations of Rostand’s writing. … Extracts are provided in French and English, translated as wittily as one would expect from this author, whose main previous publication has been as editor… of Roget’s Thesaurus.”



Nineteenth-Century French Studies 33, Nos. 1 &2, Fall-Winter 2004-5


“This, the first full biography in English of Edmond Rostand, is a well researched and a compelling narrative….Rostand’s life is in many respects a barometer of that turbulent and heady era [1870 – 1918]. Its cultural and historical resonances are conveyed with commendable lightness of touch throughout … As we weave our way through the literary, theatrical and political lives that overlapped with Rostand’s, we also gain illuminating insights into his closest friendships. A particularly rich and lively account is given of his long association with Sarah Bernhardt. …

Good biographies tend to raise more questions than they can answer, and this one certainly does that. Overall, its range and detail are impressive, and it leaves us with the image of a talented yet troubled figure who expressed with unique delicacy something of the spirit of his age. This should become an important reference work for English-speaking scholars.”

Professor Timothy Unwin, University of Bristol, UK



Oscholars Review , July 2003 (Online journal concerned with Oscar Wilde and his world)


“Unlike his creation [Cyrano de Bergerac], who took on instantly, and has retained, some of the properties of myth, the dramatist, though famous in his day, has long been a shadowy figure. Sue Lloyd’s intriguing narrative, told in an easy, conversational, untheoretical voice, brings him back to life.”

Derek Mahon, poet and translator of Cyrano de Bergerac for the National Theatre London’s production, April – June 2004.



Revue d’Histoire du Théâtre, 2003 pp 387-90


“Une belle synthèse achevée par la liste des traductions en anglais et une bibliographie de sept pages… » Guy Boquet