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Rostand, Edmond

ROSTAND, EDMOND (1869- ), French dramatist, was born on the 1st of April 1860, the son of Joseph Eugene Herbert Rostand (b. 1843), a prominent journalist and economist of Marseilles. His first play, a burlesque, Les romanesques, was produced on the 21st of May 1894 at the Theatre Francais. He "took the motive of his second piece, La Princesse lointaine (Theatre de la Renaissance, 5th April 1895), from the story of the troubadour Rudel and the Lady of Tripoli. The part of M61issande was created by Sarah Bernhardt, who also was the original Photine of La Samaritaine (Theatre de la Renaissance, 14th April 1897), a Biblical drama in three scenes taken from the gospel story of the woman of Samaria. The production of his " heroic comedy " of Cyrano de Bergerac (28th December 1897, Theitre de la Porte Saint-Martin), with Coquelin in the title-role, was a triumph. No such enthusiasm for a drama in verse had been known since the days of Hugo's Hernani. The play was quickly translated into English, German, Russian and other European languages. For his hero he had drawn on French 17th-century history; in L'Aiglon he chose a subject from Napoleonic legend, suggested probably by Henri Welschinger's Roi de Rome, 1811-32 (1897), which contained much new information about the unhappy life of the duke of Reichstadt, son of Napoleon I. and Marie Louise, under the surveillance of Metternich at the palace of Schonbrunn. L'Aiglon, in six acts and in verse, was produced (isth March 1900) by Sarah Bernhardt at her own theatre, she herself undertaking the part of the duke of Reichstadt. In 1902 Rostand was elected to the French Academy. His Chantecler, produced in February 1910, was awaited with an interest (enhanced by considerable delay in the production) hardly equalled by the enthusiasm of its reception. Lucien Guitry was in the titler61e and Mme. Simone played the part of the pheasant, the play being a fantasy of bird and animal life, and the characters denizens of the farmyard and the woods. Rostand's wife, nee Rosemonde Etienette Gerard, published in 1890 Les Pipeaux, a volume of verse crowned by the Academy.

See a notice by Henry James in vol. 84, pp. 477 seq. of the Cornhill Magazine, ROSTOCK, a town of Germany, in the grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, one of the most important commercial cities on the Baltic. It is situated on the left bank of the estuary of the Warnow, 8 m. from the port of Warnemiinde on the Baltic. 177 m. N.W. of Berlin by rail, 80 m. N.E. of Ltibeck, and 106 m. S. of Copenhagen. Pop. (1905) 60,790. It consists of three parts the old town to the east, and the middle and new towns to the west of which the first retains some of the antique features of a Hanse town, while the last two are for the most part regularly and handsomely built. There are also several suburbs. The town has four gates, one of them dating from the 14th century, and some fine squares, among them the Bliicher Platz, with a statue of Bliicher, who was born here, and the Neue Markt. Rostock was a fortress of some strength, but the old fortifications have been razed, and their site is occupied by promenades. Rostock has five old churches: St Mary's, dating from 1398 to 1472, one of the most imposing Gothic buildings in Mecklenburg, with two Romanesque towers and containing a magnificent bronze font and a curious clock; St Nicholas's, begun about 1250 and restored in 1450, and again in 1890-94; St Peter's, with a lofty tower over 400 ft. high, built in 1400, which serves as a landmark to ships at sea; St James's, completed in 1588, and the church of the Holy Rood, begun in 1270. St Mary's church contains a monument marking the original tomb of Hugo Grotius, who died in Rostock in 1645, though his remains were afterwards removed to Delft. Among other interesting buildings are the curious 14th-century Gothic town hall, the facade of which is concealed by a Renaissance addition; the palace of the grand duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, built in 1702; the law courts, built in 1878-79; the university buildings, erected in 1867-70; and an assembly hall of the estates of Mecklenburg (Standehaus), a handsome Gothic building erected in 1889-93.

The university of Rostock was founded in 1418 by Dukes Johann III. and Albrecht V. of Mecklenburg. From 1437 till 1443 it had its seat at Greifswald in consequence of commotions at Rostock; and in 1760 it was again removed, on this occasion to Biitzow. The professors appointed by the city, however, still taught at Rostock, so that there were practically two universities in the duchy until 1789, when they were reunited at the original seat. Rostock is the seat of the supreme court for both the duchies of Mecklenburg, and is well equipped with schools, hospitals, and other institutions.

Although the population, commerce and wealth of Rostock have declined since Hanse days, it has a considerable trade, being the chief commercial town of Mecklenburg and owning a considerable fleet. Vessels drawing 16 ft. of water are able to get up to the wharves. By far the most important export is grain, which goes almost entirely to British ports; but wool, flax and cattle are also shipped. The chief imports are coal from Great Britain, herrings from Sweden, petroleum from America, timber, wine and colonial goods. Rostock has an important fair at Whitsuntide, lasting for fourteen days, and also a frequented wool and cattle market. The industries of the town are varied. One of the chief is shipbuilding. Machinery, chemicals, sugar, malt, paper, musical instruments, cotton, straw hats, tobacco, carpets, soap, playing cards, chocolate and dye-stuffs are among the manufactures. The town also contains distilleries, saw-mills, oil-mills, tanneries, breweries and electrical works.

Local historians assert that a village existed on the site of Rostock as early as A.D. 329, but no certain proofs have been traced of any earlier community than that founded here in the 12th century, which is said to have received municipal rights in 1218. The earliest signs of commercial prosperity date from about 1260. For a time Rostock was under the dominion of the kings of Denmark. Soon after returning under the protection of Mecklenburg in the 14th century it joined the Hanseatic League; and was one of the original members of the powerful Wendish Hansa, in which it exercised an influence second only to that of Liibeck. The most prosperous epoch of its commercial history began in the latter half of the 15th century, precisely at the period when its political power began to wane. Rostock, however, never entirely lost the independence which it enjoyed as a Hanse town; and in 1788, as the result of long contentions with the rulers of Mecklenburg, it secured for itself a peculiar and liberal municipal constitution, administered by three burgomasters and three chambers. In 1880 this constitution was somewhat modified, and the city became less like a state within a state. It has belonged to Mecklenburg-Schwerin since 1695; in 1712 it was taken by the Swedes, in 1715 by the Danes and in 1716 by the Russians. The badge of Rostock is the figure 7; and a local rhyme explains that there are 7 doors to St Mary's church, 7 streets from the market-place, 7 gates on the landward side and 7 wharves on the seaward side of the town, 7 turrets on the town-hall, which has 7 bells, and 7 linden trees in the park.

See Reinhold, Chronik der Stadt Rostock (Rostock, 1836) ; Krabbe, Die Universitat Rostock im 13 und 16 Jahrhundert (2 vols., Rostock, 1854), Koppmann, Geschichte der Stadt Rostock (Rostock, 1887); Volckmann, Fiihrer durch Rostock (yd ed., 1896); the Geschichtsquellen der Stadt Rostock (Rostock, 1885); and the Beitrage zur Geschichte der Stadt Rostock (Rostock, 1890).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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