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Brobdingnagian Proboscis Day

Brobdingnagian Proboscis Day

🗓️ December 28

🌐 Everywhere


On this day in 1897 “Cyrano de Bergerac”, a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, premiered at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin. This play became a notable piece of pop culture to influence many media later on.

Cyrano de Bergerac and the Brobdingnagian Proboscis!

Let’s talk about Cyrano de Bergerac, the man with a nose for words and a pen for tales?
This fine fellow, born on March 6, 1619, in Paris, France, is a literary figure known for his wit, charm, and, of course, his proboscis.
It’s time to unravel the tale of this legendary figure who straddled the line between reality and fiction, leaving his mark on both literature and theater in ways that continue to captivate audiences to this day.
So, buckle up and let’s embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind Cyrano’s brobdingnagian proboscis, the fine line between reality and fiction, and how science fiction had a place in his literary repertoire longer than most of us even know.

The Play: A Nose for Drama

The stage was where the fictional Cyrano’s larger-than-life persona, the one that most of us remember today, truly came alive. The play “Cyrano de Bergerac,” written by Edmond Rostand, first graced the stage in 1897, and it has been enchanting audiences ever since.
The play tells the story of Cyrano, a brilliant wordsmith with a nose that could rival a rhinoceros.
Despite his physical appearance, Cyrano is a masterful poet and swordsman who is hopelessly in love with his cousin, Roxane. (Insert a catchy banjo tune here)
However, he is too self-conscious about his prodigious proboscis to express his true feelings, so he helps another man, the handsome but dim-witted Christian, woo Roxane with his poetic prowess.
The play is filled with swashbuckling duels, witty banter, and unrequited love that tugs at the heartstrings.
It  has been lauded for its poetic language, memorable characters, and heartfelt emotions.
Cyrano’s tale has left its mark on pop culture in more ways than one. Its themes of self-acceptance, courage, and the power of words continue to captivate audiences and inspire new generations of writers and artists.


But why was the play written in the first place, you may wonder? Well, Rostand was inspired by the real Cyrano de Bergerac, whose reputation as a gifted writer and duelist intrigued him.
Rostand crafted the character of Cyrano as a larger-than-life figure with exaggerated traits, including his nose, to create a theatrical masterpiece that captivated audiences.
The play is rife with tropes like mistaken identities, sword fights, and poetic declarations of love that have since become iconic in popular media.
In fact, Cyrano’s character has influenced countless adaptations in literature, film, and theater, including the famous film “Roxanne” starring Steve Martin.

The Real Cyrano de Bergerac – A Man of Many Talents

So here’s the twist – while Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person who lived in 17th century France, the character in Rostand’s play is a fictionalized version of him.
Born in Paris in 1619, Cyrano grew up in tumultuous times, with political and religious conflicts shaping the world around him. Cyrano’s life was not without challenges. He faced financial difficulties, health issues, and the tragic loss of loved ones, but he persevered with his writing and wit.
He was known for his sharp wit, quick tongue, and unapologetic honesty, which often got him into trouble but also earned him admiration from those who appreciated his intellect and talent.
As a writer, Cyrano penned several works, including “The Other World: Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon,” and “The States and Empires of the Sun,” both of which are considered early examples of science fiction.
Yes, you heard that right – science fiction!
Cyrano was ahead of his time, penning stories with elements of science fiction that transported readers to fantastical worlds and imagined futuristic technologies.
These imaginative tales featured journeys to other planets, encounters with extraterrestrial life, and fantastical inventions, showcasing Cyrano’s forward-thinking and creative mind.

Illustration from “The Other World: Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon”

Fact vs. Fiction: The Nose Knows

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room, or should I say the “nose” in the room? Was Cyrano’s nose really that Brobdingnagian?
While both were known for their quick wit and their way with words, the fictional Cyrano was portrayed with a nose that was, shall we say, of epic proportions.
Historical accounts suggest that while Cyrano did have a prominent nose, it may have been exaggerated in Rostand’s play for comedic effect. In fact, it was described as “slightly curved” and not a physical deformity.
However, the exaggerated nose in the play has become one of the most iconic features of Cyrano de Bergerac’s character.
It has been depicted in various adaptations of the play in theater, film, and other media, often used as a symbol of inner strength and beauty that transcends physical appearance.
It’s a testament to the power of literature and theater to create enduring myths and legends that capture our imagination and leave a lasting impact.
Also, rumors say that every time the theater play is performed well enough, Cyrano’s nose grows a tiny little bit bigger.

The Real vs. Fictional Cyrano: Separating Fact from Fiction

Similarly, while Cyrano was indeed a skilled writer and duelist, the romantic plotline of his unrequited love for his cousin Roxane, as portrayed in Rostand’s play, may have been a fabrication.
Rostand was not writing a biography of Cyrano’s life, but rather creating a fictional character based on historical facts and legends.
There is no concrete evidence to suggest that Cyrano had a romantic relationship with Roxane or that he wrote love letters on behalf of another man, as depicted in the play.
These elements were likely fictionalized by Rostand to create a compelling storyline for his play.
Despite these fictionalized elements, Rostand’s play captured the essence of Cyrano’s spirit and his literary talents, showcasing his wit, eloquence, and courage in the face of adversity.

For proboscis monkeys a huge nose is peak beauty standards

Proboscis: Nature’s Quirky Creation and Cyrano’s Iconic Feature

Nature has its fair share of intriguing proboscises, but none quite as famous as Cyrano’s.
A proboscis is a long, flexible appendage found in many animals, such as elephants, anteaters, and butterflies, that serves various functions such as feeding, sensing, communication and sometimes even defense.
If you find “proboscis” hard to pronounce, then just call it a “snout”, though it doesn’t sound as eloquent.
Cyrano’s famously large nose, although exaggerated in the literary works, has become synonymous with his character, adding a unique flair to his persona.

The Origin of “Brobdingnagian” – A Word Worth Its Weight in Gold

Speaking of exaggeration, let’s talk about the word “brobdingnagian.” Where did this whimsical word come from?
The origin and etymology of the word “brobdingnagian,” which is often used to describe Cyrano’s nose, is an interesting tale in itself.
Speaking of Brobdingnagian, where does that word come from? Brobdingnagian is a term that originated from Jonathan Swift’s satirical novel “Gulliver’s Travels,” which described a land called Brobdingnag where everything was enormous.
And so, “Brobdingnagian” came to mean something of colossal proportions. Over time, this word has found its way into various contexts, including descriptions of objects, ideas, and, yes, even noses!
It’s a fitting term to describe Cyrano’s legendary proboscis, as it adds an extra layer of fantastical exaggeration to the character.

Chin up, Nose up!

Cyrano’s story reminds us to embrace our unique quirks and imperfections, and to not let them hinder our pursuit of love and happiness.
So, let’s look beyond physical appearances and embrace the beauty within. And remember, whether you have a button nose or a Cyrano-esque proboscis, you are unique and special just the way you are!

In fact, Cyrano’s nose has become a symbol of uniqueness and individuality, reminding us that our differences can be a source of strength and pride. After all, as Cyrano himself famously said, “My panache.”
So, let’s embrace our quirks and imperfections, just like Cyrano did, and celebrate the beauty of being true to ourselves.
And as Cyrano himself once said, “One must live as one thinks, otherwise one ends up thinking as others live.”
And to end on a quote from the play, “A large nose is the mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous, and liberal man.” So, let’s celebrate our differences, embrace the magic of literature, and keep our sense of humor intact!

In Conclusion

So, as we reflect on the tale of Cyrano de Bergerac, let’s appreciate the interplay between reality and fiction, and how literature has the power to shape our perceptions of the world
Whether in his true historical form or in Rostand’s fictional portrayal, Cyrano de Bergerac serves as a reminder of the power of words, the complexities of human emotions, and the enduring allure of storytelling.
And as we celebrate Brobdingnagian Proboscis Day, let’s remember that true beauty lies within, and our differences are what make us truly remarkable.
So, be proud of your quirks, embrace your individuality, and let your panache shine bright, just like Cyrano!

“I have a different idea of elegance. I don’t dress like a fop, it’s true, but my moral grooming is impeccable.”
Edmond Rostand – “Cyrano”

I will prove that there are infinite worlds in an infinite world.
Imagine the universe as a great animal, and the stars as worlds like other animals inside it.
These stars serve in turn as worlds for other organisms, such as ourselves, horses and elephants.
We in our turn are worlds for even smaller organisms such as cankers, lice, worms and mites.
And they are earths for other, imperceptible beings.
(Cyrano de Bergerac)

The insufferable arrogance of human beings
to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit,
as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set afire
merely to ripen men’s apples and head their cabbages.
(Cyrano de Bergerac)

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