Boston, New York, London: Lamson, Wolffe and Company, 1898. First Edition. Hardcover. First English Edition, inscribed in an elegant hand by the translator on front fly leaf: “Compliments of / Howard Thayer Kingsbury / November, 1898.” Small 8vo: 241,pp. Publisher's original red cloth lettered and decorated in silver to spine and upper board, with frontispiece portrait (tissue guard still present) of the actor Richard Mansfield in costume. A Near Fine or better, spine slightly faded (though silver remains bright) and darkened page edges. Very scarce, particularly in this condition. Near Fine+. Item #BB0526
Cyrano de Bergerac was first published in France by Charpentier et Fasquelle in 1898 (following its stage production at the Porte Saint-Martin Theater in Paris on December 28, 1897), and first translated into English by Kingsbury for Lamson, Wolffe the same year. Mansfield was the first actor to play Cyrano in the United States in an English translation. The play is based loosely on the life of Savien de Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655), Rostand’s favorite writer. "Yet the character as portrayed by Rostand – with his excessively-enlarged nose, his almost super-human duelling skills and his ability to improvise eloquent poetic speeches – is far from an exact portrait of the real-life Cyrano of the seventeenth century. . . . Possessed of a keen intellect with an insatiable appetite for reading and for learning, he constantly experiments with, when he is not challenging outright, the established social, scientific, political and religious ideas of his day. This questioning, satirising and ridiculing of contemporary authorities, along with an open-mindedness to new concepts that remains strikingly modern, has earned Cyrano a firm place amongst the libertin writers of seventeenth-century France." (Literary Encyclopedia) Note: With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.