Google Doodle Celebrates French Poet and Playwrite

Google Doodle is celebrating Edmond Rostand, a French poet and playwright, who is best known for writing the play Cyrano de Bergerac.

Today Google said: “Today’s artwork celebrates Rostand’s literary brilliance,” according to the Google Doodle, which says: “More than a century later, his endearing tales continue to be performed and resonate with hopeless romantics all over the world.”

Who was Edmond Rostand?

Rostand was born in France, Marseille in 1868 to a wealthy and cultured family. He attended Collège Stanislas in Paris, where he studied literature, history and philosophy at the time his father was an economist and poet.

At 20 years old, he completed his first play, a one-act comedy called Le Gant Rouge. And it was performed at Cluny Theatre in 1888.

But it wasn’t until 1894 that the playwright first achieved success in playwriting, with his play, Les Romanesques, which was a parody of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In the play Les Romanesques two families fake a feud to convince their children to fall in love.

Later the play became popular so it was adapted into The Fantasticks, which became the world’s longest-running musical.

Rostand is best known for Cyrano de Bergerac, a play about a chivalrous swordsman with an oversized nose. The play is a fictionalisation following the broad outlines of his life and the drama’s sentimental hero – beset by a love triangle – came to represent the French spirit.

Till today it remains one of the most popular plays in France, and continues to be adapted into modern versions across globally.

And on this day in 1901, Rostand became the youngest writer ever to be elected to the Académie française, the principal French council that relates to matters pertaining to the French language.

He was married to Rosemonde-Étienette Gérard, also a poet and playwright who published Les Pipeaux, and they had two sons, Jean and Maurice.

He later died in 1918 during a Spanish flu pandemic, at the age of 50 and while he was still writing plays.

Below is a list of his works:

  • Le Gant Rouge, 1888 (The Red Glove)
  • Les Musardises, 1890
  • Les Deux Pierrots, ou Le Souper blanc (The Two Pierrots, or The White Supper), 1891
  • Les Romanesques, 1894 (basis for the 1960 off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks)
  • La Princesse Lointaine (The Princess Far-Away), 1895
  • La Samaritaine (The Woman of Samaria), 1897
  • Cyrano de Bergerac, 1897
  • L’Aiglon: A Play in Six Acts. 1900
  • Chantecler: A Play in Four Acts, 1910
  • La Dernière Nuit de Don Juan (The Last Night of Don Juan, in Poetic Drama), 1921
  • Le Cantique de L’Aile, 1922
  • Le Vol de la Marseillaise, 1922