Today,Cyrano de Bergerac is generally only remembered as a lovelorn eccentric with a big nose.Edmund Rostand's famous play inspired by the life of Cyrano is a worldwide box-office smash but the man behind the legend is more or less forgotten. The real Cyrano was sharper, funnier and, ironically, more modern than the romantic hero he inspired. A death-defying soldier-poet in the age of the musketeers, Cyrano's duelling skills were unparalleled, and his wit was every bit as keen as his sword's edge. He employed his sharp ...

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