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Cyrano de Bergerac’s novel, L’Autre Monde ou les états et empires de la lune, is one of the most frequently referenced examples of early science fiction. It is also practically unknown to the general public, and no English version has existed on the Internet. Until now. The history of the novel itself is tragic. It was already being talked about five years before Cyrano’s d Cyrano de Bergerac’s novel, L’Autre Monde ou les états et empires de la lune, is one of the most frequently referenced examples of early science fiction. It is also practically unknown to the general public, and no English version has existed on the Internet. Until now. The history of the novel itself is tragic. It was already being talked about five years before Cyrano’s death in 1655. In Cyrano’s last days he was cared for by a long-time friend, Henry Le Bret. Though a friend, Le Bret was also a pious curate, and he could not bring himself to publish L’Autre Monde as Cyrano had written it. Instead, Le Bret expurgated everything he found politically and philosophically incorrect — what we would find most interesting — and retitled the novel as a “comic story.” L’Autre Monde is the title Cyrano preferred. Fortunately, two original manuscripts survived: a German translation of the one in Munich was published in Dresden in 1910; a French edition of the Paris manuscript followed in 1921. Sadly, Cyrano’s sequel, Les États et empires du soleil, did not survive intact. As a libertin (free-thinker), Cyrano was among the first and foremost of the 17th-century modernes: a vocal partisan of intellectual freedom at a time when all but the boldest found it safer to use many words to say little, and an exponent of progress in a conservative age. He takes on almost everything: the church, pedants, law, the army, family life, sexuality and Aristotelian philosophers. His ideas place his novel in the genre of utopias and dystopias along with Rabelais’ abbey of Thélème in Gargantua, Montaigne’s essay “On Cannibals,” Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia, and many others. The novel can be read in many different ways, but Cyrano’s inventions and imaginary travels alone qualify the story as an early classic of science fiction. Cyrano was to have many philosophical friends in the century to come. Among the most illustrious: Fontenelle (Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds), Montesquieu (Persian Letters), Voltaire (Candide, “Micromégas”), Diderot (Encyclopedia), not to mention Swift and his Gulliver’s Travels. Misfortune denied Cyrano to his later contemporaries and successors. At least today he shows us that the current of liberal thought that stretches from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment was very much alive even in the age of Louis XIV’s absolute monarchy.


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Cyrano de Bergerac’s novel, L’Autre Monde ou les états et empires de la lune, is one of the most frequently referenced examples of early science fiction. It is also practically unknown to the general public, and no English version has existed on the Internet. Until now. The history of the novel itself is tragic. It was already being talked about five years before Cyrano’s d Cyrano de Bergerac’s novel, L’Autre Monde ou les états et empires de la lune, is one of the most frequently referenced examples of early science fiction. It is also practically unknown to the general public, and no English version has existed on the Internet. Until now. The history of the novel itself is tragic. It was already being talked about five years before Cyrano’s death in 1655. In Cyrano’s last days he was cared for by a long-time friend, Henry Le Bret. Though a friend, Le Bret was also a pious curate, and he could not bring himself to publish L’Autre Monde as Cyrano had written it. Instead, Le Bret expurgated everything he found politically and philosophically incorrect — what we would find most interesting — and retitled the novel as a “comic story.” L’Autre Monde is the title Cyrano preferred. Fortunately, two original manuscripts survived: a German translation of the one in Munich was published in Dresden in 1910; a French edition of the Paris manuscript followed in 1921. Sadly, Cyrano’s sequel, Les États et empires du soleil, did not survive intact. As a libertin (free-thinker), Cyrano was among the first and foremost of the 17th-century modernes: a vocal partisan of intellectual freedom at a time when all but the boldest found it safer to use many words to say little, and an exponent of progress in a conservative age. He takes on almost everything: the church, pedants, law, the army, family life, sexuality and Aristotelian philosophers. His ideas place his novel in the genre of utopias and dystopias along with Rabelais’ abbey of Thélème in Gargantua, Montaigne’s essay “On Cannibals,” Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia, and many others. The novel can be read in many different ways, but Cyrano’s inventions and imaginary travels alone qualify the story as an early classic of science fiction. Cyrano was to have many philosophical friends in the century to come. Among the most illustrious: Fontenelle (Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds), Montesquieu (Persian Letters), Voltaire (Candide, “Micromégas”), Diderot (Encyclopedia), not to mention Swift and his Gulliver’s Travels. Misfortune denied Cyrano to his later contemporaries and successors. At least today he shows us that the current of liberal thought that stretches from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment was very much alive even in the age of Louis XIV’s absolute monarchy.

30 review for The Other World: The Societies and Governments of the Moon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jacques Coulardeau

    DUBITATISME CYNIQUE Ne faisons pas de Cyrano de Bergerac ce qu’il n’est pas, à savoir un prophète de la vérité physique contre tous les dogmes. Il est d’abord et avant tout un amuseur philosophique et un bateleur scholastique. Si on le prend comme guide, s’aller promener dans la lune ou le soleil n’est qu’une aventure mentale car après tout c’est très facile d’être dans la lune et de jouer plein soleil. Mais cela dit ses voyages astraux – ou est-ce astrologiques – auront bien des continuateurs et DUBITATISME CYNIQUE Ne faisons pas de Cyrano de Bergerac ce qu’il n’est pas, à savoir un prophète de la vérité physique contre tous les dogmes. Il est d’abord et avant tout un amuseur philosophique et un bateleur scholastique. Si on le prend comme guide, s’aller promener dans la lune ou le soleil n’est qu’une aventure mentale car après tout c’est très facile d’être dans la lune et de jouer plein soleil. Mais cela dit ses voyages astraux – ou est-ce astrologiques – auront bien des continuateurs et des descendants, même si certains sauront donner au voyage un peu plus de piquant aventurier (comme Samuel Buitler, Jules Verne ou Lao She), car ici le dépaysement est simplement un truc facile pour faire dire à un humanoïdes qui marche à quatre patte toutes les insanités possibles du point de vue de l’église, de la couronne ou de la robe judiciaire et d’ensuite en un tour-de-main de renvoyer le quatre-pattiste à son ignorance d’humanoïde qui n’est pas un homme même s’il considère que les vrais hommes dépaysés dans cet empire ne sont que des singes à deux pattes, ou bien des oiseaux toujours à deux pattes et à mettre en cage. Et même à noyer définitivement quand ils se mettent à penser qu’ils ont de la raison et qu’ils déblatèrent on ne sait quoi après avoir appris à parler les langues locales. D'abord Cyrano fait sa fête au Paradis Terrestre et se paie la tête de ce pauvre serpent qui prit possession du corps d’Adam et dont la tête et le col lui dépassent entre les cuisses. C’est facile, facétieux mais à peine signifiant : simplement un humour amusant at amusé. Puis quand il est exclu de ce paradis terrestre, notre narrateur, et se retrouve sur la lune tout devient une suite chaotique d’assertions extrêmes et de dénonciations prudes et prudentes comme si le démenti supprimait la déclaration initiale. Et Cyrano en a pour tout le monde. Nous n’allons donner que quelques exemples. L’érotisme mâle et surtout adolescent est à chaque détour de page. « Un jeune adolescent, dont la majestueuse beauté me força presque à l’adoration. » Ou bien ce brave Énoch le Juste vu comme « un homme qui abattait du gland » et une note nous explique que c’est là une gentille façon de parler de l’onanisme masculin. Et que dire de celle-ci : « comme ce serpent essaie toujours à s’échapper du corps de l’homme, on lui voit la tête et le col au bas de nos ventres. » Ce qui revient à dire que quand l’homme abat du gland, en fait il ne fait que jouer avec la vipère de son bas-ventre. Et une autre vision pubère : « J’aperçus devant moi un bel adolescent. » Il y a chez ce Cyrano un pédophile qui ne se cache même pas. Et vous apprendrez que dans ce Paradis Terrestre il y a « onze mille vierges » dont personne ne fait rien bien sûr, respectant leur virginité comme sacrée et divine, car c’est une allusion aux onze vierges de Cologne qui furent martyrisées avant 350 de notre ère, sur la fin de l’Empire Romain sombrant dans la barbarie, bien sûr sexiste. Il est vrai qu’elles ont été démultipliées, Mais cela vaut bien les soixante-douze vierges des martyres musulmans de la Jihad dans leur paradis. Parlant de sexisme, le texte est brutalement hilarant : « Hors les coupables convaincus, tout homme a pouvoir sur toute femme, et une femme tout de même pourrait appeler un homme en justice qui l’aurait refusée. » Malheur à l’homme qui ne saute pas sur toutes les femmes qui se présentent et ici l’hashtag METOO est le cri de détresse des femmes qui ne sont pas « harcelées » sexuellement. Mais en ce qui concerne le « JE » qui parle comme s’il était l’auteur il ne semble frémir un peu qu’à la vue d’un bel adolescent ou à l’arrivée du « grand homme noir tout velu » qui vient s’emparer du jeune humanoïde quatre-pattiste qui blasphémait l’instant d’avant pour l’emporter par la cheminée, et le « JE » qui nous intéresse embrasse immédiatement ce jeune humanoïde sélénite et ainsi se trouve emporté par l’Ethiopien tout velu et donc tout nu pour qu’on puisse affirmer qu’il est tout velu. Et pourtant la description de ce jeune sélénite venait juste d’être donnée : « Sur son visage je ne sais quoi d’effroyable, que je n’avais point encore aperçu : ses yeux étaient petits et enfoncés, le teint basané, la bouche grande, le menton velu, les ongles noirs. . . et possible même que c’est l’Antéchrist dont il se parle tant dans notre monde. » Ces jeunes adolescents, ils les aiment beaux comme Adonis, des éphèbes quoi, ou bien sataniques et monstrueux du côté noir et sauvage comme je ne sais quel « Éthiopien » dont en ce temps-là les bons Chrétiens faisaient des esclaves, comme il le dit si bien : « L’Univers ne produit des hommes que pour nous donner des esclaves, et pour qui la Nature ne saurait engendrer que des matières de rire. » Et cela ne change rien de savoir que cela signifie des plaisanteries sur l’arrogance castillane. A cette époque l’arrogance castillane éradiquait d’Amérique des populations entières et des cultures cent fois plus avancées que celle de ces Castillans dont bon nombre ne savaient bien sûr ni lire ni écrire. Quatre livres Mayas ont survécu à l’autodafé génocide des Castillans au Mexique sur ce que les plus timorés historiens évaluent avoir été les bibliothèques Mayas de plusieurs centaines de livres, donc plus de 99% de cette culture écrite dans des livres ont été brûlés ou englouties au fond des mers. Les raisonnements anticartésiens sur l’existence du vide sont dépassés aujourd’hui mais devait bien amuser les gens de la cour qui n’en savait pas le moindre mot, ni même les virgules. Il se permet mème de mettre en doute la théorie du pari de ce pauvre Blaise Pascal. « S’il y a un Dieu, outre qu’en ne le croyant pas, vous vous serez mécompté, vous aurez désobéi au précepte qui commande d’en croire ; et s’il n’y en a point, vous n’en serez pas mieux que nous. » dit le Terrien qui parle à la première personne. Et le Sélénite lui répond, qui prétend qu’il n’y a pas de dieu : « S’il n’y en a point, vous et moi serons à deux de jeu ; . . . s’il y en a, je n’aurais pas pu avoir offensé une chose que je croyais n’être point, puisque pour pécher, il faut ou le savoir ou le vouloir. » Plus que de la casuistique, on a là une brillante jésuistique : un homme peut toujours fornicoter avec sa voisine si cela permet de la sauver du suicide. Mais avec Cyrano on finit toujours à en prendre plein le nez. Et bien sûr ici comme ailleurs il ne résiste pas à ce grand et long jeu nasal. Dans ce monde lunaire les enfants qui naissent avec un nez court, dit camus, sont systématiquement castrés pour ne pas courir le risque de produire encore plus de tels hommes car dans ce monde lunaire l’homme doit avoir un long nez pour que son ombre projetée au cadran de ses dents puisse dire l’heure à qui veut bien la demander. Et la morale est digne d’Edmond Rostand qui doit se retourner dans sa tombe quand j’écris cela. Ce brave Edmond n’aurait donc rien inventé : « Un grand nez est à la porte de chez nous une enseigne qui dit : ‘céans loge un homme spirituel, prudent, courtois, affable, généreux et libéral’, et qu’un petit est le bouchon des vices opposés. » Cela est dur ou fort de bouchon, une vulgaire enseigne de cabaret. Bien sûr il n’est pas question des femmes car Cyrano ne doit pas encore savoir que la génétique se transmet pour 50% par les hommes et pour 50% par les femmes. Toutes les filles nées avec un nez court devraient aussi être castrées, ce qui pose un problème purement physiologique. Si vous aimez une telle satire philosophique, Cyrano est votre homme. Si vous préférez une fiction d’action et de sensation, Cyrano n’est qu’un portier à la grille du grand jardin de l’imagination. Imaginez dans deux cents ans, la publication de la prose du Canard Enchaîné comme une œuvre de fiction sociologiquement révélatrice de notre monde d’aujourd’hui, comme si dans deux cents ans ils sauront la différence entre Hollande, Macron et Wauquiez, pour ne parler, comme Cyrano de Bergerac, que des hommes et sans nommer le diable Sarkozy. Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

  2. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Bravo à Jacques Prévot. C'est très rare qu'un éditeur réussi aussi bien avec ses outils (introduction, dossier et notes) à éclaircir un ouvrage qui est très difficile pour le lecteur qui n'est pas un spécialiste dans l'époque. Je recommande fortement à les membres de GR le lire d'édition de Prévot plutôt qu'une autre. Dans mon cas, il a mis en lumière bien choses que je n'avais pas vues il y a quarante-cinq ans quand j'étais au premier cycle. D'abord, Prévot situe "Les états et empires de la Lun Bravo à Jacques Prévot. C'est très rare qu'un éditeur réussi aussi bien avec ses outils (introduction, dossier et notes) à éclaircir un ouvrage qui est très difficile pour le lecteur qui n'est pas un spécialiste dans l'époque. Je recommande fortement à les membres de GR le lire d'édition de Prévot plutôt qu'une autre. Dans mon cas, il a mis en lumière bien choses que je n'avais pas vues il y a quarante-cinq ans quand j'étais au premier cycle. D'abord, Prévot situe "Les états et empires de la Lune" et "Les états e empires du Soleil" dans le mouvement libertin. Ensuite il annonce que sa thèse est que les deux volumes constituent un seul roman épistémologique; c'est-à-dire qu'ils présentent le récit d'une quête de savoir. Prévot nous montre comment Bergerac critique toute les grandes autorités de la connaissance de son époque. Il commence avec Aristote, les pré-Socrates et Socrate. Il attaque aussi l'Église Romaine Catholique. Finalement, il vise les grands penseurs de la première moitié du XVIIe siècle particulièrement Gassendi et Campanella. Les cibles changent rapidement. Heureusement, grâce au bon travail de Prévot, le lecteur n'est jamais perdu. Je suis pourtant en désaccord avec Prévot quand il dit que les deux romans ne sont pas de la science-fiction. Il aurait dû dire que tout bon roman de science-fiction est forcément épistémologique.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wreade1872

    I thought this was a comedy and expected something like the satire of Gulliver's Travels. However while there is some of that, there is far more focus on scientific and philosophical discussions. Its a little hard to understand in places but the ideas discussed are really interesting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Summers-Stay

    Who knew that Cyrano de Bergerac wrote science fiction? I was impressed by his propulsion systems based on the science of the day-- bottles filled with dew that naturally ascended in the morning towards the sun, a chariot with a powerful magnet chained to an iron ball that the driver had to keep tossing up in the air, firework rockets. I also liked his monetary system based on poetry, and his mobile cities, that move on sails unfurled from each home. The music-box recorded books are a nice touch Who knew that Cyrano de Bergerac wrote science fiction? I was impressed by his propulsion systems based on the science of the day-- bottles filled with dew that naturally ascended in the morning towards the sun, a chariot with a powerful magnet chained to an iron ball that the driver had to keep tossing up in the air, firework rockets. I also liked his monetary system based on poetry, and his mobile cities, that move on sails unfurled from each home. The music-box recorded books are a nice touch, too. Of course it's all satire, but one gets the impression he has thought about it a little more than Voltaire, who was just going for the laughs in Candide. In general Utopian novels of the 1600s-1800s are a good place to find proto-SF. You can find this book online at http://www.bewilderingstories.com/spe... I haven't read the book about the Sun yet.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steve Shilstone

    Tres amusant in a Swiftian manner with the bonus delight in my copy of illustrations by Quentin Blake.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book may be appealing to those interested in the history of ideas or studying Cyrano. However, most of it is dialogues and monologues on ideas that today are extremely dated. Discussions on in what way Aristotle's four elements compose all objects, whether the sinless state of cabbages means they deserve special treatment, and so forth. Perhaps, I've taken more clearly strange examples to get across the point, but little of it seems applicable to modern conditions and understanding. The sett This book may be appealing to those interested in the history of ideas or studying Cyrano. However, most of it is dialogues and monologues on ideas that today are extremely dated. Discussions on in what way Aristotle's four elements compose all objects, whether the sinless state of cabbages means they deserve special treatment, and so forth. Perhaps, I've taken more clearly strange examples to get across the point, but little of it seems applicable to modern conditions and understanding. The setting would justify calling this "proto-science fiction", but most of it is discussion rather than exploration (even in the sense of Gulliver's Travels). The translator does try to find parallels with science fiction (for instance, since it's argued on spiritual grounds cabbages must have high intellects, the translator thinks this is relevant to "first contact" issues.) I did not find such suggestions convincing, but apparently some people do.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    3.5 roundup maybe - two parter imaginary traveller story, moon being more fantastic and widely read, sun being more social satire. both are clear precursors to gullivers travels, lots of descartes content in sun too if you're into that kind of thing. the methods of travel differ in each story - in moon he uses effervescent dews, whereas in sun its more of a prismatic lightsail. the lovell translations are delightfully charming and has lots of potential nwobhm band names like "Chrystal Myrroir". 3.5 roundup maybe - two parter imaginary traveller story, moon being more fantastic and widely read, sun being more social satire. both are clear precursors to gullivers travels, lots of descartes content in sun too if you're into that kind of thing. the methods of travel differ in each story - in moon he uses effervescent dews, whereas in sun its more of a prismatic lightsail. the lovell translations are delightfully charming and has lots of potential nwobhm band names like "Chrystal Myrroir". interestingly less picaresque than godwin, but clearly inspired by him as in moon bergerac's hero meets godwin's. it would seem that bergerac was quite the rogue himself and his life story is more of a picaresque tale than his actual works

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tretratti

    Tanto era dovuto.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    J'ai lu ce il ya trente ans, un des nombreux livres du XVIIe siècle sur les voyages lunaires qui ont abouti à la cartographie lunaire des jésuites dans les années 1650. Je me souviens qu'il soit excellent.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lucille

    Lu pour mon cours de "Littérature XVIe-XVIIIe siècles" en L2.

  11. 4 out of 5

    EJ Daniels

    Although most famous as a character in Edmond Rostand's titular play, Cyrano de Bergerac was a real philosopher and humorist in 17th century France. While many of his works are lost, The Comical History of the States and Empires of the World of the Moon is an extant example of his cerebral brand of humor, and holds the distinction of being one of the oldest works of science fiction. While its particular brand of comedy may not suit many modern audiences, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the Although most famous as a character in Edmond Rostand's titular play, Cyrano de Bergerac was a real philosopher and humorist in 17th century France. While many of his works are lost, The Comical History of the States and Empires of the World of the Moon is an extant example of his cerebral brand of humor, and holds the distinction of being one of the oldest works of science fiction. While its particular brand of comedy may not suit many modern audiences, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the society and culture of early modern French literati. de Bergerac uses the concept of a voyage to the alien cultures of the moon to two ends; first, to provide a whimsical and imaginative depiction of a new world and its unique technologies, and second, to parody our own world. On both accounts he succeeds marvelously through a fanciful ribbing of the sophistry and arrogance of intellectual culture. This particular English thrift edition lacks commentary and is rather poorly edited; while retaining the eccentricities of spelling and punctuation in Archibald Lovell's late 17th century English translation, additional errata seem to have been added through modern problems with the facsimile and in printing. Nevertheless the edition is perfectly serviceable, and while de Bergerac is best appreciated in French, Lovell does a fine job capturing his wit and character for exclusively Anglophonic audiences. I would recommend this book for fans of 17th century Continental comedy and devoted fans of science fiction interested in the evolution of the genre. Interestingly enough, fans of Rostand's work will probably not find this book very enjoyable, although there are a few charming scenes which clearly inspired references in the play Cyrano de Bergerac.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    This is one among several early science fiction stories from the 17th Century. The narrator’s two take-offs from Earth were interesting. First, starting from France, he attaches bottles of dew to a chair, and when they’re warmed by the sun, he rises so high he becomes frightened, breaks a bottle, and lands in Quebec (presumably because the author thought the vehicle would not retain its motion relative to the Earth turning). But next, assisted by some fireworks, he makes it all the way to the mo This is one among several early science fiction stories from the 17th Century. The narrator’s two take-offs from Earth were interesting. First, starting from France, he attaches bottles of dew to a chair, and when they’re warmed by the sun, he rises so high he becomes frightened, breaks a bottle, and lands in Quebec (presumably because the author thought the vehicle would not retain its motion relative to the Earth turning). But next, assisted by some fireworks, he makes it all the way to the moon and correctly observes that the moon’s smaller mass yields less gravitational attraction. Anyway, on the moon a lot of things happen: the narrator discovers the garden of Eden; he meets a spirit that has inhabited many human bodies on Earth; he becomes the captive of a species of giants among whom the nobles speak in music and the common people speak in body movements; believed for a time to be female, he’s paired up with a man from Spain (in fact, the main character from Bishop Francis Godwin’s earlier The Man in the Moone!), ostensibly as a mate but more definitely as a companion; he learns the musical language, so he’s able to write the names of his captors in a musical notation; etc., etc. There’s also plenty of natural philosophy, including a discussion of whether the stars show us that there are infinite worlds, but most of that stuff is pretty dull. More engaging are the many observations of odd facts about life on the moon, like people sleeping (or getting tickled by servants) in little closets on beds of flowers, towns that move around on wheels, people walking around at night with a bunch of crystal globes full of glowworms around their legs, and music boxes that take the place of books in the musical language.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    5/10 This was probably awesome when it was written. There are a lot if interesting ideas (books that you can listen to say whaaaat????) and the philosophy was well thought out while also being sometimes humorous. Then there were things that were most likely unintentionally hilarious. Especially when you know the story of Cyrano. That said, most of it was just so dated that it felt overwhelmingly boring sometimes.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Well, it wasn’t quite what I had imagined. Very rambling and incoherent in places. It’s clear that Jonathan Swift improved on many of the ideas in Gulliver’s Travels, but interesting to read something from the 17th century. As an aside the English of this translation is also interesting. It dates from 1923 and there have been numerous changes in style since then.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Blanchette

    Some of the very first "modern" scifi. I liked it. Which is surprising given how long ago it was written. Some of it was tough to get through, but there's a particularly hilarious chapter where the moon men and the narrator from Earth argue about young vs. old. Who deserves more adoration and respect? I recommend it. It's a very quick read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Antigone Eleutherios

    Un ancêtre de la SF

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Dos primeiros livros de ficção e, ainda assim, continua actual.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris Fellows

    [I read L'Autre Monde ou les États et Empires de la Lune in the translation by Archibald Lovell, on the Kindle; and am writing this without Googling anything first, for the thrill of intellectual brinkmanship.] If you read this expecting swashbuckling adventure or proto-SF, you will be disappointed. It is a series of philosophical dialogues thinly plastered together with bits of adventure; a satirical atopia in the tradition of Gulliver's Travels and Erewhon, that could equally well have been set [I read L'Autre Monde ou les États et Empires de la Lune in the translation by Archibald Lovell, on the Kindle; and am writing this without Googling anything first, for the thrill of intellectual brinkmanship.] If you read this expecting swashbuckling adventure or proto-SF, you will be disappointed. It is a series of philosophical dialogues thinly plastered together with bits of adventure; a satirical atopia in the tradition of Gulliver's Travels and Erewhon, that could equally well have been set at the antipodes and would not now be issued in mass market paperbacks with 'SF' on the cover for the disappointment of its readers. We are very lucky in the modern West. If we have non-standard philosophical opinions, we can put them in a blog, and no one will care. If we lived in a continent ruled by tyrants that burned white hot with religious discord, and we had heterodox ideas that fit nowhere along the spectrum - ideas that burned inside us with a hunger to express themselves - we might be forced to write a satire where we put our arguments in the mouths of characters that we pretend to disagree with. To cover our tracks we can describe these characters as knaves and fools, and have them dragged off to Hell by Zwarte Piet at the end, but if the characters who argue for the orthodox view can only put up feeble and unconvincing arguments against them, then we have shown our hand. I wonder if books like this are being written today in Saudi Arabia? I certainly hope so. The heterodox philosophy in this book seems to be more or less the Epicureanism of Lucretius, as it was explained to me in the introduction to De Rerum Naturum which I have not finished reading yet. An eternal universe that takes its variety from the random jostling of atoms; the primacy of youth and vigour over worn-out age with its spurious 'wisdom'; a resolution to be satisfied with little leading to extreme simplicity of dress and victual; openness about the processes of generation and an Epicurean promiscuousness that foreshadows the Brave New World. As it is expounded by Lunarites and Solarians this philosophy sparkles with outlandish details that remind me of no-one else but Stanislaw Lem. Ijon Tichy is the only true heir to the Cyrano de Bergerac of this work. Swift and Butler do not quite get there, worthy successors though they are. I had forgotten how crushing and complete the arguments against the existence of God once were, before the Big Bang was postulated. And I should have given this only four stars, were it not for the sincerity and persuasiveness of the argument that God loves cabbages more than men. Forgive me, Brother Cabbage!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Old Man Aries

    C'è un personaggio, uno su tutti, che nella letteratura "non recente" mi ha sempre affascinato ed intrigato. Un uomo, un semplice uomo, ricco di doti: coraggio, lealtà, sagacia, arguzia, forza, umorismo, forza d'animo, onestà, intelligenza, cuore. Non bellezza, quella no, e questo non sarebbe un problema, in linea di massima, se il suo cuore non ci si mettesse in mezzo. E così costui, Guascone che non teme di scontrarsi con cento uomini armati di spada, moschettiere capace di spaventare un eserc C'è un personaggio, uno su tutti, che nella letteratura "non recente" mi ha sempre affascinato ed intrigato. Un uomo, un semplice uomo, ricco di doti: coraggio, lealtà, sagacia, arguzia, forza, umorismo, forza d'animo, onestà, intelligenza, cuore. Non bellezza, quella no, e questo non sarebbe un problema, in linea di massima, se il suo cuore non ci si mettesse in mezzo. E così costui, Guascone che non teme di scontrarsi con cento uomini armati di spada, moschettiere capace di spaventare un esercito con la sua semplice presenza, cadetto in grado di tenerne a bada altri mille con la propria fama, diventa un agnellino che trema al solo sguardo dell'amata e diviene il simbolo dell'amore romantico a tutti i costi, anche quando si tratta di permettere (ed anzi, far sì) che un bello ma povero di spirito rubi il cuore della sua agognata usando le sue stesse parole e (in uno dei momenti più famosi) la sua stessa voce come tramite. Ogni pagina dell'opera trasuda umorismo e tragedia, romanticismo e coraggio, gioia e dolore, ogni pagina in cui Lui compare è un esempio di come un personaggio possa descriversi con le semplici parole ed azioni. Ormai sarà chiaro a tutti o quasi che sto parlando di Cyrano De Bergerac, scritto da Edmon Rostand, una lettura consigliata a tutti coloro che non hanno paura di affezionarsi tanto ad un personaggio da lasciare scorrere una lacrima al termine del libro. Tanti sono i momenti che vorrei citare, forse farei prima a copiare pari pari l'intero testo, ma c'è un momento che mi ha sempre fatto venire i brividi: alla fine del libro Rossana, che finalmente ha capito chi era il vero autore delle tante lettere, dice a Cyrano "Eravate Voi! Voi mi amavate! Voi" e questi le risponde "No, No, mio caro Amore, io non Vi ho mai amato!". Brividi. E lacrime. Leggetelo, non ve ne pentirete. PS: sì, lo so bene che il vero Cyrano non fu quello descritto da Rostand, ma lasciatemi sognare, grazie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gijs Grob

    Gelezen in de Nederlandse vertaling van Jan H. Mysjkin. Onzinnige vertelling over een Franse filosoof die met behulp van een vage machine naar de maan reist en daar in het Aards paradijs belandt alsmede tussen mensen die op vier benen lopen en met elkaar in muziek praten. Tussen de grappige fantasieën wordt er door alle figuren die de hoofdpersoon tegenkomt driftig gefilosofeerd (over de natuur, God en ethiek), waarbij Cyrano slim de meest blasfemische uitspraken door de 'rare' maanbewoners laat Gelezen in de Nederlandse vertaling van Jan H. Mysjkin. Onzinnige vertelling over een Franse filosoof die met behulp van een vage machine naar de maan reist en daar in het Aards paradijs belandt alsmede tussen mensen die op vier benen lopen en met elkaar in muziek praten. Tussen de grappige fantasieën wordt er door alle figuren die de hoofdpersoon tegenkomt driftig gefilosofeerd (over de natuur, God en ethiek), waarbij Cyrano slim de meest blasfemische uitspraken door de 'rare' maanbewoners laat doen, terwijl zijn hoofdpersoon zich een braaf Christen houdt. De filosofieën zijn een bonte mengeling van vrij onzinnige Grieks-Christelijke filosofieën en 'moderne' (bijv. oneindig heelal) en zelfs atheïstische opvattingen. Het is niet duidelijk wanneer Cyrano de draak steekt en wanneer niet, omdat de meeste van zijn vermoedelijk eigen redeneringen voor de moderne lezer even absurd zijn als die waartegen hij zich afzet. Het is duidelijk dat de op empirie gebaseerde moderne wetenschap halverwege de -nog zwaar door de kerk gedomineerde- 17e eeuw nog lang geen gemeengoed was.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eugénie

    Lecture absolument hilarante. Un tout nouveau coup d'oeil pour moi sur le XVIe siècle! L'effet comique a peut-être été renforcé par l'image de Gérard Depardieu dans Cyrano de Bergerac qui venait sans cesse, pour moi, se superposer au personnage principal, mais n'enlevons rien au texte génial de Cyrano de Bergerac. Un libre-penseur/libertin s'envole vers la lune et remet ainsi en question, à travers ses rencontres et aventures, les idées de son époque.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I have not yet read this. An English translation by Richard Aldington is available on Amazon's US site: http://www.amazon.com/Voyages-Moon-Su... ...although it's not free, as of this comment it's only $1.00 for the Kindle eBook. I assume there may be other sources inside and outside the US as well. I have not yet read this. An English translation by Richard Aldington is available on Amazon's US site: http://www.amazon.com/Voyages-Moon-Su... ...although it's not free, as of this comment it's only $1.00 for the Kindle eBook. I assume there may be other sources inside and outside the US as well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Fascinating early science fiction classic--along the lines of Gulliver's Travels, although predating it by a generation. Follows the author's often comic adventures as he visits the Moon and, in a sequel, the Sun--with many irreverent and satirical references to Cyrano de Bergerac's France of the mid 17th century.

  24. 4 out of 5

    ilaria

    Inizialmente ho trovato difficoltà a leggere un testo teatrale, ma, successivamente, Cirano mi ha assorbito. Non ricordo se il personaggio mi fosse noto dai tempi del Liceo o se la sensazione di conoscerlo deriva dall'aver visto Roxanne con Steve Martin (accidenti, era il 1987, quanto tempo è passato!), ma questo testo ne ha amplificato i tratti.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eleonora

    Il mio cuore non ti lasciò mai sola un secondo; io sono, e sarò anche all'altro mondo, colui che t'ama senza misura.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Silvia269

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eleonora Carcagni

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rihab

  29. 4 out of 5

    Blueunicorn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lorenzo A.

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