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Cyrano De Bergerac
Translated by Edwin Morgan
Categories: French, Scottish, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Nov 1996)
You and the Muse are total strangers, but
If you did happen tae meet, she's stoap yer strut.
She'd scunner, fatso, at yer wobblin fruit,
And kick yer backside wi her classic boot!
Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, an 'heroic comedy' of love and honour, has enjoyed various revivals in the cinema and on the stage, and undergoes yet another metamorphosis in this brilliant translation by Edwin Morgan. Made for the Communicado Theatre Company's production at the 1992 Edinburgh festival, it was a triumphant success with public and critics alike: it won a Fringe First award and also a special prize from the Hamada foundation, administered by the Scotsman. Morgan's Glasgow-based Scots version, with its verve and energy, reinvigorates rostand's classic with a sharp immediacy of both humour and pathos. There is a virtuousity of language that pleases the ear, but it is never allowed to override the emotional charge this famour story delivers.
Awards won by Edwin Morgan Winner, 2000 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry
Praise for Edwin Morgan 'distinctly and excitingly nonconformist [...] they stunningly convey the poet's love for Glasgow. The traditional structure is interjected with Scottish language and anecdotes, making it a thought-provoking read.'
'A broad celebration of one of the most lively and creative writers of his time'
Mike Ferguson, Stride Magazine
'For readers new to Morgan, it forms a perfect introduction, showcasing his fearless experimentation... For those who already know Morgan's work, this selection is a welcome romp of rediscovery. It offers a reminder that he masters every form - from sonnets to strict rhyme schemes with free rhythm to the disintegrating word curtains of some of his early concrete poems - and gilds them all with the humour and humanity that infuse his own effervescent voice.... He never shrinks from the darkness but the shimmering beauty of his words somehow makes it more bearable.'
Fiona Rintoul, The Herald
'Thank God, thank whatever all-seeing quick-witted deity you like, we have Edwin Morgan to show us how to live, and keep living..."pleasure" is nowhere strong enough to convey the joyous energy of his work.'
'Edwin Morgan's translation of twent-five poems into Scots, now reissued after almost half a century, finesses one difficulty by substituting another. Wi Haill Voice gives Mayakovsky a shout from the streets without making him a Dickensian exercised in dialect - Scots provides the necessary sense of estrangement.'
William Logan, The New Criterion
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