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WELCOME TO OUR NEW WEB SITE
the play by French poet-dramatist Edmond Rostand, is famous all over the world. Edmond Rostand was born in Marseilles, France, on 1st April 1868 and died in Paris on 2nd December 1918. Genge Press has set up this web site in 2018 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Edmond Rostand’s death and the 150th anniversary of his birth
ABOUT SUE LLOYD
Sue Lloyd (Susan M.Lloyd, née Emmerson) gained her honours degree in French at Bristol University in 1964 and then trained and worked as a teacher, in this country and in East Africa. She gained a master's degree at the University of East Anglia for her M Phil thesis: “Edmond Rostand’s Success: Cyrano de Bergerac” before editing major new editions of Roget’s Thesaurus for Longman and Penguin Books (1982, 1984). While continuing to work as an editor and lexicographer, Sue continued her research into Edmond Rostand and his work. The result was her biography of Rostand: The Man who was Cyrano, a Life of Edmond Rostand, Creator of "Cyrano de Bergerac", published in the USA in 2003 and in the UK in 2007.
As the British authority on Edmond Rostand and his work, Sue has contributed talks and/or programme notes to UK productions of Cyrano de Bergerac at the National Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, as well as programme notes for the Royal Opera House’s production of Franco Alfano’s opera Cyrano de Bergerac. Her essays on Edmond Rostand himself, his play Chantecler, and Cyrano de Bergerac, are available to universities and colleges worldwide on the online Literary Encyclopedia, www.litencyc.com. Sue was honoured to be invited to take part in the conference at the Rostand museum, Villa Arnaga, at Cambo-les-bains, on the occasion of Chantecler’s centenary in 2010. In September 2018 she took part in the conference at Arnaga to celebrate Rostand's double anniversary: 150 years since his birth and 100 years since his death from the Spanish flu in December 2018.
SCROLL DOWN FURTHER TO READ ABOUT OUR TRANSLATIONS OF ROSTAND'S PLAYS
and for the latest Rostand news
as well as our Poem of the Month from Rostand's writings
Genge Press was set up in 2003 by Sue Lloyd to publish books about Edmond Rostand and his work, and also translations of his plays. Each book has a page of its own on this web site. The links are at the bottom of this page, so please scroll all the way down.
Don't miss our new feature, Poem of the Month! See below.
To see our other titles, including local history, please check out our earlier site, www.gengepress.co.uk. That web site also has a much more comprehensive bibliography of works by and about Edmond Rostand, and also a bibliography of plays by our own British poet dramatist, Christopher Fry.
Great-grand-mother Mary Ann Genge
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All Genge Press titles may be purchased from Genge Press. If you live in the UK or wish to pay in pounds sterling, please send us your name and address, along with a cheque, payable to “Sue Lloyd”, for the correct amount, including postage. We also accept all major currencies via the secure PayPal server.
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POEM OF THE MONTH
POEM OF THE MONTH: APRIL
Je me trouve indigne de ma gloire.
Pourquoi m'a-t-on choisi pour chasser la nuit noire?
Oui, dès que j'ai rendu les cieux incandescents,
L'orgueil, qui m'enlevait, tombe. Je redescends.
Comment! Moi si petit, j'ai fait l'aurore immense?
Et, l'ayant faite, il faut que je la recommence?
Mais je ne pourrai pas! Je ne vais pas pouvoir!
Je ne pourrai jamais! Je suis au désespoir!
Ce souffle que j'attends quand je gratte le sable
Reviendra-t-il? Je sens dépendre l'avenir
De ce je ne sais quoi qui peut ne pas venir!
Comprends-tu maintenant l'angoisse qui me ronge?
Ah! Le cygne est certain, lorsque son cou s'allonge,
De trouver, sous les eaux, des herbes; l'aigle est sûr
De tomber sur sa proie en tombant de l'azur;
Toi, de trouver des nids de fourmis dans la terre;
Mais moi, dont le métier me demeure un mystère
Et qui du lendemain connais toujours la peur,
Suis-je sûr de trouver ma chanson dans ma cœur?
Chantecler , Act Two, scene 3
Chantecler has just, as he believes, caused the sun to rise over his valley by crowing with all his might. But now he despairs that he will ever be able to repeat this achievement. The cock is speaking to the Golden Pheasant, with whom he is in love, hoping she can console him. But Chantecler's anguish is also that of the poet himself. Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac succeeded in inspiring audiences with his own idealism, but can he keep on inspiring them? He does not even know where his inspiration comes from.
Rostand is expressing in these lines the anguish of all creative artists who can never be sure that inspiration will continue to flow.
Le Décor : au promontoire d’un coteau
Bouquet de houx. Jardin qui n’est plus cultivé.
Lieu triste quand, la nuit, l’ortie et l’épervière
Tremblent sur le sentier frayé par la bouvière …
Mais ce qu’on voit de là, quand le jour est levé,
C’est le Vallon. C’est le Vallon par un grand V,
Qui n’est pas en Tyrol, qui n’est pas en Bavière,
Qu’on ne trouve qu’en France avec cette rivière
Et ce je ne sais quoi de noble et d’achevé.
Calme horizon, bornant les vœux, mais pas le songe !
Fins peupliers. Belle colline qui s’allonge
Comme une bête ayant un village au garrot.
Le ciel est de chez nous. Et lorsque illuminée
Fumera dans un coin quelque humble cheminée,
On croira voir fumer la pipe de Corot.
This is the poem which introduces Act Two of Rostand's play, 'Chantecler'. Each of the four acts of 'Chantecler' is preceded by verses setting the scene.
Here is a typical French rural scene, as Rostand stresses. Almost certainly he has his own home in mind: Arnaga was built on a promontory overlooking the River Neve, in the French Basque country. 'Chantecler' has many such delightful visions of the French countryside so loved by Rostand.
Glossary: 'L’épervière': hawkweed, a common yellow wayside flower; 'la bouvière': a female ox-herd. 'Au garrot' means 'on its withers', i.e. between the animal's neck and shoulder. Rostand is comparing the hillside to an animal's flanks: the village is just where the steep hillside begins to flatten out and elongate. The French painter Camille Corot (1796-1875) was famous for his landscapes of rural France, and was usually pictured with his pipe.
Our Poem for February unaccountably disappeared from this site! So here it is again:
1st February 2020. It is the first day of our separation from the European Union, against the wishes of almost half the British people. Something nostalgic seems suitable, so here is Cyrano addressing his fellow Gascony Cadets, in an attempt to distract them from the pains of hunger, as they lay siege to Arras.
"Approche, Bertrandou le fifre, ancient berger;
Du double étui de cuir tire l'un de tes fifres,
Souffle, et joue à ce tas de goinfres et de pifres
Ces vieux airs du pays, au doux rythme obsesseur,
Dont chaque note est comme une petite sœur,
Écoutez, les Gascons … Ce n'est plus, sous ses doigts,
Le fifre aigu des camps, c'est la flûte des bois!
Ce n'est plus le sifflet de combat, sous ses lèvres,
C'est le lent galoubet de nos meneurs de chèvres!
Écoutez … C'est le val, la lande, la forêt,
Le petit pâtre brun sous son rouge béret,
C'est la verte douceur des soirs sur la Dordogne,
Écoutez, les Gascons: c'est toute la Gascogne!
"Cyrano de Bergerac", Act Four, scene 3
"tas de goinfres et de pifres": greedy gourmands (tongue-in-cheek: they were starving)
"galoubet": a simple flute that was once widely played in Languedoc and Provence
An apology: due to the continuing indisposition of my webmaster, I am still unable to properly format these poems on the site.
All Genge Press titles may be purchased via booksellers or direct from Genge Press. We send our books all over the world and accept all major currencies via the secure PayPal server. A personal cheque is acceptable if you live in the UK. You can also pay by bank transfer. Just send your request and your address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you without delay.
To enjoy this site fully please view on your desktop/Laptop
To keep up-to-date with the latest news from France, see Thomas Sertillanges's
web site: www.cyranodebergerac.fr.
See also www.edmond-rostand.com, Philippe Bulinge's information about the performances in France of Rostand's work.
ALERT: TWO NEW PRODUCTIONS OF "Cyrano de Bergerac" to see in the UK this winter of 2019!
Already playing to enthusiastic reviews at the Bristol Old Vic is Peter Oswald's version in verse, starring Tristan Sturrock as Cyrano, directed by Tom Morris. This production runs from 12th October to 16th November, and I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself on 14th November.
In London, the Playhouse Theatre is offering their production, directed by Jamie Lloyd and starring James McAvoy as Cyrano, from 3rd December (previews) until 29th February 2020.
I was at the premiere on 7th December, and the whole (mainly young where I was sitting) audience rose and cheered or clapped at the end. I do urge you to see this amazing production, which, though in modern language (with copious swearing), really brings alive Rostand's play for today's audiences. I felt the whole cast, as well as the director, really loved the play and wanted to share it with everyone. The lively verse translation by Martin Crimp, with much added material and some rap, really worked well. Do see it if you can!
Earlier news: 2018: The web site for the Museum of Musical History, www.MOMH.org.uk, marked the centenary of Edmond Rostand’s death on 2nd December 1918, by devoting its ‘Image of the Month’ page in December to his connections with music. The page is illustrated and features my essay on the numerous pieces of music inspired by Rostand and his works.
The page is still available on the MOMH web site.
GENGE PRESS PUBLICATIONS UPDATE
Our translations, " The Last Night of Don Juan" and
"The Woman of Samaria", are now available on Kindle,
presently priced at £2.64 and £2.80 respectively
2018 COLLOQUE AT VILLA ARNAGA, Cambo-les-bains, France
The Colloque took place in September at Arnaga, Rostand’s villa, now a museum in his memory. Over twenty Rostand researchers from universities all over France (and beyond) lectured on aspects of Edmond Rostand’s work. My own contribution, «Amour sacré et amour profane dans le théâtre de Rostand », explored this topic in relation to "La Samaritaine" and "La Dernière Nuit de Don Juan".
UPDATE ON THE COLLOQUE AT ARNAGA IN 2018: the lectures delivered are about to be published, so watch this space!
AUX ÉLÈVES DU COLLÈGE STANISLAUS, le 3 mars, 1898
Invited back to his old school to address the students, after the triumph of Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand spoke to them in verse.
The verses quoted below are four out of twenty-one verses. They conclude with the final two verses.
The whole poem can be found in Rostand’s Le Cantique de l’aile (Paris: Fasquelle, 1922).
Monsieur de Bergerac est mort ; je le regrette.
Ceux qui l’imiteraient seraient origineaux.
C’est la grâce aujourd’hui, qu’à tous je vous souhaite.
Voilà mon conseil de poète:
Soyez de petits Cyranos.
S’il fait nuit, battez-vous à tâtons contre l’ombre,
Criez éperdument, lorsque c’est mal : C’est mal !
Soyez pour la beauté, soyez contre le nombre !
Rappelez vers la plage sombre
Le flot chantant de l’Idéal !
Et c’est pourquoi je vous demande de panache !
Cambrez-vous. Poitrinez ! Marchez. Marquez le pas.
Tout ce que vous pensez, soyez fiers qu’on le sache,
Et retroussez votre moustache,
Même si vous n’en avez pas !
Ne connaissez jamais la peur d’être risibles ;
On peut faire sonner le talon des aïeux
Même sur des trottoirs modernes et paisibles.
Et les éperons invisibles
Sont ceux-là qui tintent le mieux !
Lines spoken to the students of the Collège Stanislas, March 1898
Monsieur de Bergerac is dead, I’m sorry to say.
Those who imitate him would be original.
It is a quality I wish for you all today.
Here is my advice for you as a poet:
Be little Cyranos.
If it is night, fight your way bit by bit out of the dark;
When something is wrong, shout out: “This is wrong!”
Stand up for beauty, stand out against the crowd!
Call back to the gloomy shore
The swelling song of Idealism!
This is why I ask you for panache!
Put your shoulders back and stick out your chest.
March and keep in step.
Be proud for people to know your thoughts.
Twirl your moustache, even if you haven’t got one!
Never be afraid of seeming ridiculous.
Even in our modern peaceful streets,
You can make the heels of your ancestors resound.
And it is invisible spurs that ring out the loudest.
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© 2018 . The Genge Press. All Rights Reserved