The following will appear in my forthcoming book HOW THE FRENCH INVENTED LOVE (HarperCollins, 2012). It is based on the last scene of "Cyrano de Bergerac" by Edmond Rostand.
As Cyrano is dying from a head wound inflicted by one of his enemies, he credits Roxane for his unique love experience: “Thanks to you, a dress has passed through my life.” And she, her eyes finally opened, realizes: “I loved only one person and have lost him two times.”
"Cyrano de Bergerac" may be too sentimental and melodramatic, yet it continues to enchant spectators world-wide. One laughs, one cries, and, despite two onstage deaths, one comes away uplifted. At heart, we are all romantics. In the best tradition of noble heroes, Cyrano holds onto his love for Roxane without destroying her feelings for the handsome Christian. And in the end, the recognition scene satisfies everyone. It doesn’t matter that Cyrano never becomes Roxane’s lover; what matters is that he has never stopped adoring her and that she, at last, can love him too.
Causes Marilyn Yalom Supports
Planned Parenthood, Glide Foundation The Global Fund for Women, Amnesty International, Friends Outside