By Robert Fuller, Dramaturg
An important part of understanding a play – and the message behind it – is understanding the playwright. As you read this brief biography of Edmond Rostand, and prepare to watch Cyrano De Bergerac, try and guess which events in Edmond Rostand’s life had an impact on him while writing his masterpiece.
Edmond Eugene Alexis Rostand was born April 1, 1868 in Marseille, France. His father was a skilled and wealthy journalist. Edmond received a law degree in Paris, but his true passion was playwriting.
His plays were known for being cheerful and inspiring, despite most of them ending in tragedy. They were also greatly inspired by literature from the middle ages. At the age of 26, he wrote his first successful play, The Romancers. Finally, in 1897, he wrote Cyrano De Bergerac: A Comedy in Five Acts, which was widely considered his crowning achievement. His fame quickly became worldwide, and he is to this day one of the most widely known playwrights of his time.
In 1902 he was the youngest man to be welcomed into the French Academy, a famous institution that advised the writing and vocabulary of the French language. While he did enjoy a very successful career in Paris, his poor health eventually forced him to move to the French countryside, where he lived until his death in 1918.