You are currently viewing Brobdingnagian Proboscis Day

Celebrated every year on December 28.

Brobdingnagian Proboscis Day celebrates the anniversary of the premiere of the fictionalized story of Cyrano de Bergerac in theaters in 1897 in  Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris.

Cyrano de Bergerac is presently mostly known as a story about a man with a gynormous nose and a way with words that oranges can only dream about.
He loved a lady but helped a friend woo her.
But she had an appetite for truth over show that made her see through the words and past the nose and therefore chose Cyrano as her lover.

The real Cyrano lived centuries before the play was written from 1619 to 1655.
He wrote novels and plays and prided himself on being a “duelist”.
Rumors were that the latter became his timely demise.
Cyrano was well educated and developed a skepticism that made him challenge authority in poetic as well as physically confrontational ways.
The stories he wrote were mostly science fiction and romance.
Remember this are the 1600-somethings.
Someone was already writing about space travel back then, with aliens and talking earrings.

How poetic that a person with such a love for narrative would find himself to be a character of fiction centuries later.
In stories where he would play cupid, fight with the three musketeers and grow his nose to Brobdingnagian proportions.

Oh and about that word “Brobdingnagian”…
That is a word that finds it’s origin in yet another novelist who lived after Cyrano de Bergerac, but probably would have loved his work.

Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels in 1726.
One of the groups Gulliver encountered on his travels were the giant people of Brobdingnag.
Since then, the English language gained a word “Brobdingnagian” for anything that was considerably larger than the usual size.
It fits quite well with the colorful use of language that Cyrano favored to say “Brobdingnagian Proboscis” instead of the quite simple “big nose”.

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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