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Don Juan (eBook) PDF, ePub eBook The Legend of Don Juan has been told throughout the centuries. This romantic/adventure tale will delight the reader. Lord Byron was born in 1788 in England. He was a leading Romantic poet. Don Juan is one of his best known works even though it was unfinished at his death. Don Juan is a digressive satiric poem based on the legend of Don Juan. Don Juan was a womanized but he The Legend of Don Juan has been told throughout the centuries. This romantic/adventure tale will delight the reader. Lord Byron was born in 1788 in England. He was a leading Romantic poet. Don Juan is one of his best known works even though it was unfinished at his death. Don Juan is a digressive satiric poem based on the legend of Don Juan. Don Juan was a womanized but he also fell easily under a woman's spell. In Byron's poem Don Juan is portrayed in a more humorous way instead of as the tormented soul in previous works.

30 review for Don Juan (eBook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    “But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think; 'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses Instead of speech, may form a lasting link Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces Frail man, when paper — even a rag like this, Survives himself, his tomb, and all that’s his.” If you know anything about Byron, you will know this poem will involve lots of sex, women and Byron/Don Juan getting exactly what “But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think; 'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses Instead of speech, may form a lasting link Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces Frail man, when paper — even a rag like this, Survives himself, his tomb, and all that’s his.” If you know anything about Byron, you will know this poem will involve lots of sex, women and Byron/Don Juan getting exactly what he wants from every situation imaginable. He is an anti-hero so he does not possess the standard characteristics a normal hero would; he is not brave or strong, though he is intelligent and cunning; he serves no greater goal and works only for his own survival and self-gratification. And survive he does. He gets out of so many close encounters and near death experiences, often being the only person alive as the plot moves into the next canto. The poetry here feels natural. It’s not the sort of verse that a poet has sat down and fussed over in order to achieve the most artistic and creative arrangement of words; it feels like he has written it straight out of his head, completely free flowing, making it almost conversational. Byron was a very selfish man, and that’s just part of his poetic persona, so I would go as far to say that this is poetry written for one person: Lord Byron. He wrote it for himself, it is all one big fantasy in which a character, not entirely unlike its author, goes on a long adventure. As such Byron provides the biggest example of an author filibuster I have ever come across; he uses every opportunity available to him to insert his own opinion regarding other writers and critics of the age. He destroys Wordsworth and Coleridge and goads reviewers, informing them that he is going to do more of what they criticised him for just because he can. You have to admire his tenacity and his ability to write whatever he wants regardless of public opinion, which is, essentially, one of the reasons he became so popular to begin with. “Why do they call me misanthrope? Because They hate me, not I them.” This is very much Byron’s poem. It goes on massive tangents as the plot disappears for stanza upon stanza whilst Byron addresses all sort of random issues. And this, in part, is what makes the work so delightfully clever. It’s what you would expect from Byron. He set out to write his own epic, and by the standards of his own overbearing personality, if he wrote anything less than what he did here it would have been a failure. He even says a few things that would pre-date the modernists: “Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction: if it could be told, How much would novels gain by the exchange! How differently the world would men behold!” Byron is so just so ridiculously entertaining to read. The plot of this poem is just beyond what you would expect from a poem. We have men forced into cannibalism, the central character disguised as a woman in order to survive, and, above all, so much revealing honesty about his own perceptions. To relate back to the quote I added at the start, this poem holds so much of Byron’s authorial persona and it certainly did survive him: it made him immortal. Come read this and learn exactly who Byron was.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Byron has been my favorite Romantic poet--as he was during the Romantic period--since I have been able to read with ease (say, since grad school). His "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" sets the standard for English Satire since Jonson and Dryden. It is very funny at the expense of an intellectual elite much less doubtful than ours today. We need another Byron. His "Don Juan" is without equal in English literature; maybe Ariosto's similar in Italian, though I think Byron more witty, finally. Byro Byron has been my favorite Romantic poet--as he was during the Romantic period--since I have been able to read with ease (say, since grad school). His "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" sets the standard for English Satire since Jonson and Dryden. It is very funny at the expense of an intellectual elite much less doubtful than ours today. We need another Byron. His "Don Juan" is without equal in English literature; maybe Ariosto's similar in Italian, though I think Byron more witty, finally. Byron's, and his Don Juan's, main literary legacy is the greatest of all Russian poems, Евгений Онегин. I have read perhaps one-fourth of Pushkin's great work in Russian, and it has struck me as a cross between Byron and Wordsworth. Since I have spent many hours translating Latin and Renaissance Latin, I admire Byron's exact critiques of classical poets like the epigrammatic satirist Martial--"the nauseous epigram of Martial" according to Don Juan's/ Byron's mother. I could add much, but it gets late/early. But I shall add this: Byron lived in the far end of the Mocenigo Palazzo, on the Grand Canal in Venice, within sight of the Rialto Bridge, across from the San Toma stop: The VERY PLACE where Giordano Bruno stayed, and was denounced to the Inquisition by the Bad Student Evaluation of his 33-yr old Mocenigo host, Gianni. His student told him, "I invited you to Venice to teach me, and you haven't." (My theory is Gianni wanted to learn magic, along with math and memory, Bruno had written on; but Gianni does not tell the Inquisition that part.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    So much better than I remembered from college. The rhymes, humor, and slights. Life may certainly be not worth a potato when you are looking for a rhyme for Cato. A fun novel length poem

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    What men call gallantry, and gods adultery Is much more common where the climate's sultry. Byron's long, digressive, wildly funny, outrageously rhymed Don Juan is a wonderful satire of the epic poem, of the legend of Don Juan, and of the mores of Byron's own times. It is written throughout in octava rima, an 8-line stanza that, in English, given the paucity of rhymes, is inevitably humourous. Byron uses the structure variously, often giving us a clinching final couplet that reflects batheticall What men call gallantry, and gods adultery Is much more common where the climate's sultry. Byron's long, digressive, wildly funny, outrageously rhymed Don Juan is a wonderful satire of the epic poem, of the legend of Don Juan, and of the mores of Byron's own times. It is written throughout in octava rima, an 8-line stanza that, in English, given the paucity of rhymes, is inevitably humourous. Byron uses the structure variously, often giving us a clinching final couplet that reflects bathetically back on what has gone before. Inverting the legend of Don Juan, the arrogant, rakish, Lothario who ends up dragged to Hell, Byron's 'hero' is a rather passive young man, girlishly beautiful rather than handsome at the start, who falls in love with the various women he meets. Taking issue with the epic martial heroes of Homer and Virgil, this is more akin to Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, though wider-ranging and more intentionally scurrilous. Juan travels from his native Spain to the Greek islands via a shipwreck (during which his tutor gets eaten by the hungry sailors!), is sold at the slave market in Constantinople and enters the seraglio dressed up as a girl for the pleasure of the sultan's fourth wife... He goes on to fight with the Russian army before being taken to the court of Catherine the Great and, finally, on to London where he is embroiled in high aristocratic society and meets a ghostly friar in a Gothic ruin (of course!). In between the story are Byron's ruminations on everything: from a tongue-in-cheek assessment of erotic poetry ('Ovid's a rake, as half his verses show him | Anacreon's morals are a still worse sample | Catullus hardly has a decent poem | I don't think Sappho's ode a good example') to scathing views on marriage and fidelity, on gender and masculinity, and on the younger Romantics (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey) for whom Byron generally had little time. Written in stages between 1818 and 1824, this remains unfinished at Byron's death. Anyone only knowing the lyrical Byron ('She Walks in Beauty', 'So We'll Go No More A-Roving') or the 'Turkish' tales like 'The Giaour', will meet here the brilliant, mercurial, Byron of the letters.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Byron's famous verse-novel is kind of uneven, but when he's on form it's both moving and witty. My favorite sequences are near the beginning, when the beautiful Donna Julia has fallen in love with young Juan and is having qualms of conscience. First she decides that she can no longer continue to see him, but then she reconsiders. After all, that would be selfish of her! It's just a question of keeping her feelings under control, and she could help him so much:He might be taught, by love and her Byron's famous verse-novel is kind of uneven, but when he's on form it's both moving and witty. My favorite sequences are near the beginning, when the beautiful Donna Julia has fallen in love with young Juan and is having qualms of conscience. First she decides that she can no longer continue to see him, but then she reconsiders. After all, that would be selfish of her! It's just a question of keeping her feelings under control, and she could help him so much:He might be taught, by love and her together— I really don't know what, nor Julia either.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Draven

    Don't be afraid. This book only looks intimidating. It's actually one of the most hilarious and comically sharp books I've ever read. Byron was a genuis, poet status notwithstanding. Poetry has little to do with it actually, with all that is awesome about Don Juan!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Don Juan is a somewhat-scathing, exceedingly witty, epic social commentary that was told by a revolutionary mind with great skill and reverence for the crafting of words. In Lord Byron's cantos of this poem, I see "social networking" centuries before its time with Byron's 'asides' about his contemporaries. And his protagonist, young unfortunate Don Jewan, is tossed about haphazardly from country to country by the strangest events, narrating a dissection of every society he comes upon... which, u Don Juan is a somewhat-scathing, exceedingly witty, epic social commentary that was told by a revolutionary mind with great skill and reverence for the crafting of words. In Lord Byron's cantos of this poem, I see "social networking" centuries before its time with Byron's 'asides' about his contemporaries. And his protagonist, young unfortunate Don Jewan, is tossed about haphazardly from country to country by the strangest events, narrating a dissection of every society he comes upon... which, unfortunately, we read only a fraction of what Lord Byron was planning for the character before the poet's untimely death, leaving the poem unfinished, and yet still one of the best writings ever put to paper. Timeless. Byron's worldview was notably pessimistic, but it was damned eye-opening. For example, on *shrugh* "nationalism" I suppose, in Canto IV, Stanza 101: Hell yeah, the boy spoke some truths that I daresay still flips the world on its side (can you imagine China or America being merely a legend one day, as scoffed about then as Atlantis is today?). And his 'rivals' or critics wanted to 'save' him. But Byron argued (paraphrasing) that his was the MOST MORAL poem of the day. Moral, yes; and why? Because it was truthful. I have it listed in my Top 5, which should include the Bible, Inferno/Purgatorio, Dosty's Brothers K, and probably a Kafka; and Good God I hate to mention Paradise Lost... but! as another reviewer here put it, while Milton's work attempted to tell God's side to humanity, Lord Byron told humanity's side to God. (Successfully, though.) And we're the lucky ones who glimpsed at least some of Byron's tellings before he died. Yes, I find it very moral, AND it keeps me rolling on the floor, laughing. And being a Catholic Anglican Christian type (or so I like to think), it is my sincere hope that we'll hear the remainder of Don Juan in Heaven one day, where I'm sure Lord Byron entertains the angels. (*not that way!*)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    This is doggerel but sublime doggerel. It is brilliant more often than nought for the first ten cantos but then it goes into a ghastly fish-tale that Byron is unable to pull himself out of before he dies. Had he lived, Byron might have been able to get things back under control. The way it stands the reader is simply glad at the end of Canto XVII that the whole thing is over. This much said, I enjoyed the thing from beginning to end. I read it hoping to get to know the poet about the poet that Pu This is doggerel but sublime doggerel. It is brilliant more often than nought for the first ten cantos but then it goes into a ghastly fish-tale that Byron is unable to pull himself out of before he dies. Had he lived, Byron might have been able to get things back under control. The way it stands the reader is simply glad at the end of Canto XVII that the whole thing is over. This much said, I enjoyed the thing from beginning to end. I read it hoping to get to know the poet about the poet that Pushkin, Stendhal, Berlioz and Mickiewicz held it awe. To this end I was well served. What the anglo-saxon world needs is a critic or doctoral student who can find a way to put Byron back on the pedestal he merits.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marios

    I dont know why, I have no clue How one day this idea grew: Byron's works I've had read zero And that's a shame, I'm greek-and he's our hero! I went to bookstores for his poems but in vain! Apart from letters and biographies there was no gain. It was then, when desperation was ample When i saw it: Don Juan in kindle sample. Language was my fear, if I would get it right But what the hell I said, i ll try it! And lo: some words were old, pain in the ass Not even on the dictionairy alas! Its style too I could I dont know why, I have no clue How one day this idea grew: Byron's works I've had read zero And that's a shame, I'm greek-and he's our hero! I went to bookstores for his poems but in vain! Apart from letters and biographies there was no gain. It was then, when desperation was ample When i saw it: Don Juan in kindle sample. Language was my fear, if I would get it right But what the hell I said, i ll try it! And lo: some words were old, pain in the ass Not even on the dictionairy alas! Its style too I could not define The poem seemed childish, like mine! But I would really laugh and lol Such witty rhymes I dont recall! Yet Byron's not only fun and joke Great meaning his verses would provoke. Serious or sad, with ease the rhyme he preserves Some people have it so easy-it breaks your nerves! Like Juan womanizing in every city... The bastard was he lucky or was he indeed so pretty?? His adventures many, I cannot summarize Read for yourselves, his fate a surprise! But hear this, don't get me wrong The poem is masterful but it is also long. Cantos, stanzas on and on Should you finish or abandon? Do as you please the choice is yours I made it though, through charms and bores. And if an advice I am allowed It reads better when read aloud!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Sciuto

    It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I would give this poem the highest rating. Lord Byron's "Don Juan" is the greatest piece of writing I have ever read. It is my favorite piece of writing. I like it better than Joyce's "A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Any serious student of literature, who has not already read this masterpiece, needs to read this sublime piece of writing. I have read it enormous times and have always learned someth It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I would give this poem the highest rating. Lord Byron's "Don Juan" is the greatest piece of writing I have ever read. It is my favorite piece of writing. I like it better than Joyce's "A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Any serious student of literature, who has not already read this masterpiece, needs to read this sublime piece of writing. I have read it enormous times and have always learned something new and never do I fail to marvel at its brilliance, beauty, and wit.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roger Brunyate

    Sentiment and Satire Although I normally read and review only novels, I was intrigued by the short excerpts from Byron's "Epic Satire" Don Juan that Stendhal used as chapter-epigraphs in Le rouge et le noir, and read both simultaneously. Published between 1819 and 1824, in sixteen cantos containing an average of 125 eight-line stanzas in each, Byron's work is essentially a vast novel in verse, a coming-of-age story, an erotic romp, and a fount of social commentary all in one. He reverses the norm Sentiment and Satire Although I normally read and review only novels, I was intrigued by the short excerpts from Byron's "Epic Satire" Don Juan that Stendhal used as chapter-epigraphs in Le rouge et le noir, and read both simultaneously. Published between 1819 and 1824, in sixteen cantos containing an average of 125 eight-line stanzas in each, Byron's work is essentially a vast novel in verse, a coming-of-age story, an erotic romp, and a fount of social commentary all in one. He reverses the normal characterization of Juan, turning the serial seducer into a pretty innocent who is himself seduced by woman after woman; he also changes the pronunciation, now rhyming with "true one." It is easy to see why Stendhal wanted to quote him. Both books begin with easily-seduced heroes; both take them into many different walks of society; and both are punctuated by philosophical commentary from their respective authors. In Byron's case, though, the commentary is almost more the point than the plot; it is certainly entertaining—he can be a very funny writer. Byron left the epic uncompleted at his death, but there is enough there already for several novels. Seduced at sixteen by a married woman, Juan is sent to Italy in the charge of a strict tutor. Surviving shipwreck (and a touch of cannibalism), he is washed up on a almost-deserted island, which becomes a second Eden in the arms of a girl of his own age, Haidée. His further adventures see him enslaved in a Turkish harem, taking part in a bloody siege, serving in the court of Catherine the Great, then engaging in amorous and diplomatic adventures at the English court, to end on the bosom of the "full, voluptuous, but not o'ergrown bulk" of the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke. The ribaldry here is one of the dominant characteristics of the poem, although it is seldom used so suggestively as to rhyme the Duchess' name with "bulk." Byron writes in eight-line stanzas, the ottava rima of Ariosto, with the rhyme-scheme abababcc. That final couplet gives a kind of punch line to each stanza. So he ends a passage on blue-stocking women with: But oh, ye lords of ladies intellectual, Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all? Or Juan's distress on his exile from Spain: No doubt he would have been much more pathetic But the sea acted as a strong emetic. And as we have seen, Byron can also be quite naughty; here he is describing the interior of a harem, into which Juan has been smuggled disguised as a woman: 'Twas on the whole a nobly furnish'd hall, With all things ladies want, save one or two. And even those were nearer than they knew. Every now and then, Byron resists the temptation towards comedy and writes passages of pathos with even a touch of the sublime: Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown, And grimly darkled o'er the faces pale, And the dim desolate deep: twelve days had Fear Been their familiar, and now Death was here. Some of the descriptions of the feasting of Juan and Haidée on her father's island have echoes of Homer or Virgil, and his famous elegy on departed grandeur, "The Isles of Greece," also comes from this section. I could personally have done with more seriousness and less comedy, and these moments were welcome when they came. And Byron's commentary is always amusing. Some contemporary references may require annotation, but his views on literature are still stimulating. He had little time for the "glassy brooks and leafy nooks" of the Lake Poets, for example: There poets find materials for their books, And every now and then we read them through, So that their plan and prosody are eligible, Unless, like Wordsworth, they prove unintelligible. Pointing out that "All tragedies are finish'd by a death; all comedies are ended by a marriage," he asks: Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife, He would have written sonnets all his life? For the most part, Byron's philosophy is the comfortable one of taking life as it comes: Well—well, the world must turn upon its axis, And all mankind turn with it, heads or tails, And live and die, make love and pay our taxes, And as the veering wind shifts, shift our sails. But towards the end of the epic, he reaches towards a deeper explanation of the Romantic search for wider and wilder experiences: The new world would be nothing to the old If some Columbus of the moral seas Would show mankind their souls' antipodes. The soul's antipodes: those indeed are destinations worth punching on one's ticket!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    What can you say about Byron? He's insane, he's brilliant, he's a romantic and so much more. Don Juan is a classic twisted with English humor and the puns are abounding. My favorite, favorite lines are: "Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope; Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey; Because the first is crazed beyond all hope, The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy" I.CCV In 80,000 lines of rhyming verse he attacks cant, politics, and the Lakers (18th c poets, NOT the bas What can you say about Byron? He's insane, he's brilliant, he's a romantic and so much more. Don Juan is a classic twisted with English humor and the puns are abounding. My favorite, favorite lines are: "Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope; Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey; Because the first is crazed beyond all hope, The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy" I.CCV In 80,000 lines of rhyming verse he attacks cant, politics, and the Lakers (18th c poets, NOT the basketball team), revels in failed romance, and massacres the Spanish language with hilarity. Any novel, whose title is a pun, right there I'm in. Also, when he rhymes "intellectual" with "hen peck'd you all"...I'm a little in love.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Pecheur

    "Man's love is of his life a thing apart, 'Tis woman's whole existence. Man may range the court, camp, church, the vessel, and the mart; sword, gown, gain, glory offer in exchange pride, fame, ambition to fill up his heart, and few there are whom these cannot estrange. Man has all these resources, we but one, to mourn alone the love which has undone." (Canto I, Stanza 194) "There still are many rainbows in your sky, but mine have vanished. All, when life is new, commence with feelings warm and pr "Man's love is of his life a thing apart, 'Tis woman's whole existence. Man may range the court, camp, church, the vessel, and the mart; sword, gown, gain, glory offer in exchange pride, fame, ambition to fill up his heart, and few there are whom these cannot estrange. Man has all these resources, we but one, to mourn alone the love which has undone." (Canto I, Stanza 194) "There still are many rainbows in your sky, but mine have vanished. All, when life is new, commence with feelings warm and prospects high; but time strips our illusions of their hue, and one by one in turn, some grand mistake casts off its bright skin yearly like the snake." (Canto V, Stanza 21) "But these are foolish things to all the wise, And I love wisdom more than she loves me; My tendency is to philosophise On most things, from a tyrant to a tree; But still the spouseless virgin Knowledge flies. What are we? and whence came we? what shall be Our ultimate existence? what's our present? Are questions answerless, and yet incessant." (Canto VI, Stanza 63) "O Love! O Glory! what are ye who fly Around us ever, rarely to alight? There's not a meteor in the polar sky Of such transcendent and more fleeting flight. Chill, and chain'd to cold earth, we lift on high Our eyes in search of either lovely light; A thousand and a thousand colours they Assume, then leave us on our freezing way. And such as they are, such my present tale is,A non-descript and ever-varying rhyme, A versified Aurora Borealis, Which flashes o'er a waste and icy clime. When we know what all are, we must bewail us, But ne'ertheless I hope it is no crime To laugh at all things -- for I wish to know What, after all, are all things -- but a show?" (Canto VII, Stanzas 1-2) Above are written some of the most striking lines inscribed in Lord Byron's magnum opus Don Juan, the greatest epic in the English language composed since Milton's Paradise Lost. In grand contrast, however, to Milton's Biblically-inspired work set out to "justify the ways of God to man", Lord George Gordon Byron, in his characteristically hedonistic and sensual style, gives us the unfinished tales in verse of Don Juan to achieve a different feat, perhaps more like a reverse of Milton's ambition, in justifying the ways of man to God. Byron, who was one of the finest poets of the British Romantic period, certainly possessed more than the other Romantics the sensational personality and temperament that typifies the Romantic soul. He attained notoriety in his lifetime for what was perceived as a scandalous and decadent lifestyle, marred by a multitude of love affairs and self-exile from England, drenched in the lavish nectar pools of revelry and consumed by a restless spirit of adventure. His poetry, which is definitely the most crisp and accessible of the Romantics I think, is always seething with an impassioned energy and insatiable vitality, and no where are these qualities invested with more zeal and zest than in the verses of Don Juan. In his epic Byron fleshes out for us the figure of Don Juan, who is a perfect alter-ego for Byron and the consummate incarnate of the so-called Byronic hero: lifted from the legend of the unfettered libertine who seduced, inflamed and then broke the hearts of many a damsel until finally cast into Hell to face eternal retribution for his indecorous life of crime. In this tale however, Don Juan is spiced up and modified in Byron's own flavor. Rather than a heartless rake who ravishes one woman after the other without remorse, Byron's Don Juan is a sympathetic figure who is thrown into a series of larger-than-life misfortunes that pave the adventurous path from one tribulation to the next. The plot itself that propels this tale is fascinating on its own: Don Juan's endless escapades and perils that stem from a single love affair in Spain that ends up being exposed in delicto flagrante to an angry husband, sending him into a sea-borne escape that ends in shipwrecks, delivering him to a remote Mediterranean island where he's a rescued by a voluptuous Greek maiden whose father is a pirate who makes Don Juan a prisoner to in turn be sold to the Turkish sultan, followed by more love affairs, a grandiose battle scene of Homeric scale, moving on to Russia and the Tsarina Catherine the Great and then to Byron's homeland England where sadly the story ends abruptly without closure. I can avow that in the 17 stunning cantos of Don Juan, this lack of finality is the only real disappointment. The stanzas running through the pages simply effervesce with feverish rapture, eloquent paeans of passion, piercing wit, and a subtle humor that could only spring from the inimitable voice of Lord Byron. Besides the unbounded riots of adventure in the story of Don Juan, what is sometimes even more notable are Byron's social commentaries that saturate his verse, often with vitriol, measured contempt, and even smug certitude in his free-thinking ways, but always with wonderful craftsmanship and extremely witty acuity. Byron's frequent digressions often take aim at his contemporaries such as Southey and Wordsworth, whose styles he rejected, as well as many other observations that express Byron's rather cynical worldview and opinions, that in his own day, would be deemed unorthodox or heretical to the mores of the British society. Every subject is fair game for Byron, whether it's the differing sensibilities between men and women, love, religion, philosophy, history, war, politics, social etiquette, etc. One notable line that so well articulates Byron's viewpoint is in Canto IV, Stanza 101: "And so great names are nothing more than nominal, and love of glory's but an airy lust, too often in its fury overcoming all who would 'twere identify their dust from out the wide destruction, which entombing all, leaves nothing 'till the coming of the just', save change. I've stood upon Achilles' tomb and heard Troy doubted; time will doubt of Rome." And there's so many more... In truth, Byron's masterpiece is a veritable treasure-trove of knowledge and enriching lyricism that gushes with emotional electricity traversing the whole spectrum. On a final note, I'd like to quote my own personal favorite description from the epic poem, from the last completed canto, Canto XVI, in which Byron conjures up a ghostly specter, the haunting Blackfriar, with deliciously Gothic gloom that I savor so much. (Canto XVII, Stanza XIV-21) XIV But lover, poet, or astronomer, Shepherd, or swain, whoever may behold, Feel some abstraction when they gaze on her: Great thoughts we catch from thence (besides a cold Sometimes, unless my feelings rather err); Deep secrets to her rolling light are told; The ocean's tides and mortals' brains she sways, And also hearts, if there be truth in lays. XV Juan felt somewhat pensive, and disposed For contemplation rather than his pillow: The Gothic chamber, where he was enclosed, Let in the rippling sound of the lake's billow, With all the mystery by midnight caused; Below his window waved (of course) a willow; And he stood gazing out on the cascade That flash'd and after darken'd in the shade. XVI Upon his table or his toilet, -- which Of these is not exactly ascertain'd (I state this, for I am cautious to a pitch Of nicety, where a fact is to be gain'd), -- A lamp burn'd high, while he leant from a niche, Where many a Gothic ornament remain'd, In chisell'd stone and painted glass, and all That time has left our fathers of their hall. XVII Then, as the night was clear though cold, he threw His chamber door wide open -- and went forth Into a gallery, of a sombre hue, Long, furnish'd with old pictures of great worth, Of knights and dames heroic and chaste too, As doubtless should be people of high birth. But by dim lights the portraits of the dead Have something ghastly, desolate, and dread. XVIII The forms of the grim knight and pictured saint Look living in the moon; and as you turn Backward and forward to the echoes faint Of your own footsteps -- voices from the urn Appear to wake, and shadows wild and quaint Start from the frames which fence their aspects stern, As if to ask how you can dare to keep A vigil there, where all but death should sleep. XIX And the pale smile of beauties in the grave, The charms of other days, in starlight gleams, Glimmer on high; their buried locks still wave Along the canvas; their eyes glance like dreams On ours, or spars within some dusky cave, But death is imaged in their shadowy beams. A picture is the past; even ere its frame Be gilt, who sate hath ceased to be the same. XX As Juan mused on mutability, Or on his mistress -- terms synonymous -- No sound except the echo of his sigh Or step ran sadly through that antique house; When suddenly he heard, or thought so, nigh, A supernatural agent -- or a mouse, Whose little nibbling rustle will embarrass Most people as it plays along the arras. XXI It was no mouse, but lo! a monk, array'd In cowl and beads and dusky garb, appear'd, Now in the moonlight, and now lapsed in shade, With steps that trod as heavy, yet unheard; His garments only a slight murmur made; He moved as shadowy as the sisters weird, But slowly; and as he pass'd Juan by, Glanced, without pausing, on him a bright eye.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kinda Hamwi

    LOVED IT! One of the funniest poems ever, Byron makes fun of an ordinary well known character who is Don Juan by making him the Byronic Hero who is rather acted on than act, always sees and got effected by the result of the action. Don Juan is the modern day hero; he is surviving everything he's going through...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    Byron’s least--or most--Byronic poem, depending on how you understand that term. So what does Byronism mean? The gothic affectations of Childe Harold, Lara & Manfred? Melancholia split with voluptuous pleasure, the delicate with the desolate; the paradigm for the lothario in exile? Sighing in soliloquy that the annihilation of hedonism always fails to banish the morbid chill of ennui--but doing it again anyway? Half mad aristocrats, those revenants from medievalism, bedeviled by a chthonic a Byron’s least--or most--Byronic poem, depending on how you understand that term. So what does Byronism mean? The gothic affectations of Childe Harold, Lara & Manfred? Melancholia split with voluptuous pleasure, the delicate with the desolate; the paradigm for the lothario in exile? Sighing in soliloquy that the annihilation of hedonism always fails to banish the morbid chill of ennui--but doing it again anyway? Half mad aristocrats, those revenants from medievalism, bedeviled by a chthonic ambiguity? And how about the antiheroes of those ghastly Russian novels? The stylized Byron & Byronism of hollywood? Of course not. At least, not in Don Juan. Byron’s satires, Beppo, The Vision of Judgment, Don Juan, are sometimes read as a carnivalesque break from the mortifying self seriousness of his early ‘Byronic’ work; of course, ‘English Bards & Scotch Reviewers’ imperils this periodization. And even in the high gothic baroque or in swashbuckling nautical adventures, Byron’s usually pretty funny (although it’s not always intentional). But from his first poems to his last, he’s incautious, never discerning or tasteful, he overwrites everything & spares no one. There’s just a certain foppishness to Byron. He’s ridiculous. I would suggest that whether he is writing romantic melodrama or puckish satire, he is always writing camp. The worst stuff Byron did, and he produced his fair share of doggerel, was always bleating with sincerity. Earnestness just wasn’t his bag. As he says in Canto VII; ‘but ne’er the less, I hope it is no crime / to laugh at all things --for I wish to know / what, after all, are all things--but a show?’ (this is not to say Byron never wrote an emotionally stirring piece; he did, but his bad poetry all leans into capital-R Romanticism and his best stuff, generally speaking, swerves in the opposite direction) Don Juan is a scalpel to cut the last scabrous flesh away from clean white bone. Everything is funny here; cannibalism, blasphemy and lost innocence are all punchlines. Who could write such a cynical poem but the rouéish author of Childe Harold & Manfred? Who else but this same man, touched by the first grey hues of senescence, hungover from the adventure & scandal of his youth, could write with such exasperating wryness, write as if to deliberately incense the entire world? Whatever the case, the continuity between Byron’s early and late work is very clear. The item which Byron’s arch seriousness and bathic silliness have in common is extravagance; always flamboyant, whether in reflection or opposition. Always bold & vigorous, even when sneering in disdain. This is true in sickness & health; in his youth and in the final years of his tragically short life. Byron possessed in spades the qualities which make for a good satirist; he was a flirt, a gossip, a dandyish poseur, playful & ironic--self indulgent, vindictive & subversive. Kinda belligerent. He hated rules but trembled with fury at injustice. He had morals but no ethics. A great capacity for both introspective self knowledge & worldly understanding, but a childish incapacity for application thereof in practical matters. And above all, a smirking sense of humor which was injurious and raunchy. As literary devices, spitefulness and obscenity exist precariously between the twin magnetic poles of the awkward and the entertaining. Whether they’re unsightly or uproarious is entirely down to the confidence of their operator; and despite his oft-overlooked shyness & self consciousness (he’s always miscast in adaptations as macho & domineering--if only to foil Shelley), Byron was a supremely confident writer. In ‘Don Johnny’ Byron offers a counterweight to his own reputation as an sybaritic libertine; Juan is a naive ingenue, so witless of his own charms as one of Anne Radcliffe’s plucky governesses. But with significantly less gumption and good sense. The array of licentious encounters making up the Don Juan legend are here slapstick accidents, where Juan is preyed on by social climbing vultures. Byron describes his hero as ‘A mischief making monkey from birth’ but he is quickly disabused of his natural disobedience & curiosity by an overly pious education. We are led to believe that Juan might grow up to be the jocular narrator, or at least of a kind with him; and, yeah, Byron encourages that we draw parallels between Juan and himself. This stretches credulity; all we see of Juan is an honorable but airheaded young man. Passionate, but guileless. There is something very quixotic about Juan and it is hard to imagine this quality maturing into the insouciant narrator’s (and by extension Byron’s own) rather dramatic touch. Juan’s upbringing is a naked refutation of the popular myths of Byron’s marriage; his own marriage to Annabella Milbanke, a spectacularly bad match for them both, is dilated across sing-song posey with his wife (more or less) taking the place of Juan’s mother, Donna Inez. She, like Annabella, is ‘mathematical’, ‘magnanimous’ and incapable of wit. ‘Perfection she was, but as perfection is / insipid in this naughty world of ours’. Byron’s descriptions of her usually swerve into plainly autobiographical territory; 'T’is pity learned virgins ever wed With persons of no sort of education, Or gentlemen, who, though well born and bred, Grow tired of scientific conversation: I don't choose to say much upon this head, I'm a plain man, and in a single station, But—Oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual, Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all? This is a typical passage in Don Juan. A smug, conversational tone with rhymes that can barely keep pace with his tangential rambling. Of Juan’s father, many ‘whisper’d he had a mistress, some said two / but for domestic quarrels one will do’. His final verdict on marriage comes later, in Canto III; ‘think you, if Laura had been Petrarch’s wife / he would have written sonnets all his life?’ After Juan’s departure from home, the poem loses focus. Byron instead discusses his obsessions--classical antiquity, English hypocrisy, panhellenism, seafaring adventure--only occasionally remembering to tell the story of Juan. By the last Canto, Juan is scarcely mentioned. But his asides are always amusing; at one point in Canto XIII, I laughed out loud for the first time at a poem, ‘Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; / Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.’ In the (nominally) main narrative, I think Juan was being hosted by wearying English prigs. I barely remember. But so many of these sharp epigrams are splintered into my memory; the best character in Don Juan is not Juan himself, but the narrator. It’d probably be uncontroversial to say that the best character in any of Byron’s poems is Byron himself. After all, Byron’s not an inadept writer. Does he possess the lyrical genius of Wordsworth or Keats? The hallucinatory vision of Coleridge or Blake? I mean, no. Definitely not. But he’s the funniest poet with anything resembling canonicity. What he lacks as a Bard he more than makes up for as a storyteller and wit. I don’t know that there’s any 19th century author who’s so fun to read. At the beginning of Canto IV, he says ‘nothing so difficult as a beginning / in posey, unless perhaps the end’. He never got to muse properly on endings, as the poem remained unfinished at his early death. Bloom called this poem ‘unfinished and unfinishable’ and I wonder if that’s true. That Byron had a few more Cantos in him is beyond question, but how does this poem end? Well, the man himself said, with ‘Juan in either in Hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest’. That would do.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Griselda

    A rattling good tale, but only Byron could contrive rhymes such as: 'She snatched it, and refused another morsel, Saying, he had gorged enough to make a horse ill.' Well, Wordsworth probably could too. Both evidently had too much time on their hands.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    While this isn't complicated to read, this is one long poem. This might be my favorite out of all Byron wrote. I love the langue and how he wrote the poem. Keep in mind this is a satire on epic poems. While I didn't find this funny, it was cleaver and witty.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Vb

    Reading Lord Byron’s poetry is never dull, reading Don Juan is a delighting way to pass your evening. From the very first stanzas the reader will be giggling and keeping a smile that will only be eclipsed at knowing the extent of the poem, for Byron himself joked about long poems “... When poets say, I’ve written fifty rhymes,/ They make you dread that they’ll recite them too.” (Don Juan, Lord Byron, Canto I, 108) Then, knowing that only Canto I (out of XVII cantos) has 222 stanzas... the reader Reading Lord Byron’s poetry is never dull, reading Don Juan is a delighting way to pass your evening. From the very first stanzas the reader will be giggling and keeping a smile that will only be eclipsed at knowing the extent of the poem, for Byron himself joked about long poems “... When poets say, ´I’ve written fifty rhymes,´/ They make you dread that they’ll recite them too.” (Don Juan, Lord Byron, Canto I, 108) Then, knowing that only Canto I (out of XVII cantos) has 222 stanzas... the reader may reconsider reading Don Juan and instead, trade it for Lara... Such a poem is difficult to talk about in an analytically way, the jokes, the themes, some of course not all, are in plain sight, speaks so clearly that we can even say “Just read the poem!” without further explanation. But is also clearly what makes this poem so different and revolutionary for the period, the humours tone, the variety of themes, the ottava rima, and many more. And just as the French critic Hippolyte Taine said about Byron “... he is so great and so English that from him alone we shall learn more truths of his country and of his age than from all the rest together.” (The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Stillinger/ Lynch, 607). With such statement in mind we cannot forget Byron, if not for that then for his life story, either way, Don Juan is a work that cannot be missed, if not for the sake of reading a master piece of English poetry, then for the fun of his playful tone.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Skabar

    So, so witty and so hilarious. I suppose 'cheeky' would be the best term to describe this epic poem. Byron is a favourite of mine, and to me, this is an unparalleled piece of literature. It amazes me how Byron can simultaneously be charming and irreverent in this satire of the infamous ladykiller of the same name. Byron actually flips the script on his hero (whose name is to be pronounced 'jew-an' in this work). Instead of being the romantic conquistador of legend, this Juan is actually the one So, so witty and so hilarious. I suppose 'cheeky' would be the best term to describe this epic poem. Byron is a favourite of mine, and to me, this is an unparalleled piece of literature. It amazes me how Byron can simultaneously be charming and irreverent in this satire of the infamous ladykiller of the same name. Byron actually flips the script on his hero (whose name is to be pronounced 'jew-an' in this work). Instead of being the romantic conquistador of legend, this Juan is actually the one who is susceptible to seduction. There is also a fair amount of digression on Byron's part, as he regularly pauses the bildungsroman of the title character to ruthlessly slander First Generation Romantics such as Southey and Wordsworth. These wanderings do make the piece drag on at times, but it becomes second nature after a while to sort of skim over these sections and get back to the juicy stuff. When on form, "Don Juan" is a brilliant satire which features many of Byron's personal philosophies, perhaps none more telling than this: "Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter- sermons and soda water the day after."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    #listening for school. I only have to read Cantos I & II but I'm enjoying it enough that I may listen to all 12 at some point.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    92 He thought about himself, and the whole earth, Of man the wonderful, and of the stars, And how the deuce they ever could have birth; And then he thought of earthquakes, and of wars, How many miles the moon might have in girth, Of air-balloons, and of the many bars To perfect knowledge of the boundless skies; And then he thought of Donna Julia's eyes. -Canto One --- Byron's Don Juan is a masterpiece of poetry as understood by me as an eight-year old. That's not meant to sound like an insult. The Ottava 92 He thought about himself, and the whole earth, Of man the wonderful, and of the stars, And how the deuce they ever could have birth; And then he thought of earthquakes, and of wars, How many miles the moon might have in girth, Of air-balloons, and of the many bars To perfect knowledge of the boundless skies; And then he thought of Donna Julia's eyes. -Canto One --- Byron's Don Juan is a masterpiece of poetry as understood by me as an eight-year old. That's not meant to sound like an insult. The Ottava rima form is jaunty, fun and rhymes all the time. This is what poetry is, isn't it? People nowadays that don't rhyme are doing something altogether difficult, and perhaps inferior. I do think that to some extent poetry is so unpopular among the general populace because it doesn't always rhyme - the concept of poetry as understood as an eight-year old is something that lingers in the unconscious. It's difficult to appreciate free verse and more abstruse poems unless one has a strong grasp and appreciation for the plain mechanics of poetry. I don't consider myself to be very well-read poetically, and despite my English degree, tracking rhyme schemes and understanding the rhythms of a poem never quite became intuitive in me. I think Byron does something to force a change in reading. Don Juan [pronounced Ju-on, as Byron's rhyme demands a lot of deliberate mangling of foreign names] is a work that does what poetry is meant to, according to scholars in nostalgic asides. It's fun. It's very long, and doesn't have an ending, but one cannot help bear affection for it. I assumed this Don Juan would be the one everyone 'knows' as a cultural figure, and it was only when I reached the final few cantos that I discovered that Byron's Juan is more of a reversal of the original Casanova analogue than the defining depiction of the character. He's passive, handsome but harmless, whose adventures are entirely accidental. Women rule over him, and Byron consistently notes that the man/woman dichotomy misrepresents the authentic feminine experience; that their relationship is unjustly unequal. This exploration of heterosexual relationships is usually delivered in the narrator's frequent (especially in later cantos) digressions, alongside jibes at Byron's contemporaries I'm only half-familiar with and as such couldn't appreciate. Reading Coleridge, Wordsworth and other leading lights of the period before this will likely increase enjoyment. Indeed, the poem is more about the digressions than it is about Juan, which is something of a shame after the great early cantos. Byron wrote without an ending in mind, and this reflects the slapdash, playful quality of the verse and story, but also results in a generally uneven work. It's a great poem to read in small chunks before bed, as a nightcap. Keep an ironic distance from the story, as there is no resolution, and take your time to savour every rhyme. Some are silly, some are fine. Would I say some approach the divine? I better stop writing here before I feel inspired to do further damage.

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

    This epic mockery, Byron writ With excellent recourse to wit, passion, war, and sharp satires: Though by the end it tires. We follow our hero, quite Byronic, on adventures soaked ironic, If you thought you knew Don Juan For Byron's hero is a now one. In Seville, with Julia love Alight'd on his heart: a dove (A dove? why that is just a pigeon! alas-- rhyming is a fool's religion). Anyhow, a dove alighted on heart, And gave his innocence a start. And by-and-by his Julia deary Had a husband old and weary, Who spoi This epic mockery, Byron writ With excellent recourse to wit, passion, war, and sharp satires: Though by the end it tires. We follow our hero, quite Byronic, on adventures soaked ironic, If you thought you knew Don Juan For Byron's hero is a now one. In Seville, with Julia love Alight'd on his heart: a dove (A dove? why that is just a pigeon! alas-- rhyming is a fool's religion). Anyhow, a dove alighted on heart, And gave his innocence a start. And by-and-by his Julia deary Had a husband old and weary, Who spoiled Juan's fun, 'tis true, When discovered 'neath bed: his shoe. And so his mother sent him to sea, to see the World, not touch but see. At see a storm quite fixed his fate! A lack of food made them all irrate And 'came mad with hunger none could sate And poor Pedrillo the crew ate, (Cannibalism is quite serious, And to men's mind: quite deleterious!) And so alone, Greek isle stranded On shores of Haidee's heart he landed. And Haidee showed him love true, Capable with just love's two. Until her dear, thought-dead father, Preferred Juan for a slave, rather. Then to the land of Turkey, went Juan, where money on him spent Made him a slave to Gulbeyez, and also fit him in a dress. She loved him dear, but he could not Forget Haidee, not yet forgot. And then abruptly Russia fought the Turks and home with them brought Juan for Catherine, queen of queans Who gave him ample means. But the weather wrought his health undone And so was sent off to London. At this point all became digression and much slowed down the tale's progression. A ghost and a fair lady pass, And distract Juan from recherché lass. But all with metaphysics clogged And thus the story's bogged. And then, alas, abruptly stopped, Because poor Byron dropped.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I've been reading this book for over a year and finally finished it over this break. I was often entertained, often a little bored, and at times astonished by some great poetry. Byron himself points out the flaw with his work: "Let us ramble on. / I meant to make this poem very short, / But now I can't tell where it may not run. / No doubt if I had wished to pay my court / To critics or to hail the setting sun / Of tyranny of all kinds, my concision / Were more, but I was born for opposition." So, I've been reading this book for over a year and finally finished it over this break. I was often entertained, often a little bored, and at times astonished by some great poetry. Byron himself points out the flaw with his work: "Let us ramble on. / I meant to make this poem very short, / But now I can't tell where it may not run. / No doubt if I had wished to pay my court / To critics or to hail the setting sun / Of tyranny of all kinds, my concision / Were more, but I was born for opposition." So, OK, it's rambly -- as the story goes on, there are large stretches where it's easy to forget that there's a story at all as digression piles upon digression. Yet Byron is a master rhymer, and he's clever and often open-hearted and always interesting -- plus, he's really funny. A favorite, and a famous, example citing Don Juan's martial and amorous accomplishments is: "He'd learn'd the arts of riding, fencing, gunnery, / And how to scale a fortress - or a nunnery." But check this out, a variation on Tolstoy's "all happy families are alike": "For no one cares for matrimonial cooings; / There's nothing wrong in a connubial kiss. / Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife, / He would have written sonnets all his life?" The occasional anti-war attitudes in the book also resonated with me as I continue to be frustrated by this seemingly ever-more-violent (or, at least, ever-equally-violent) world. Take this couplet: "The drying up a single tear has more / Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore." All in all, a worthwhile endeavor. Not sure I'd advise people to plunge in and read the whole thing, but I'm glad I took the time to wade through it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Abeer Abdullah

    wonderful, both modern and archaic, both elements of romanticism and realism. Very beautifully written and exceeded my expectations.

  25. 4 out of 5

    - ̗̀ ash ̖́-

    1.5 Stars

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    'Tis sweet to win, no matter how, one's laurels, By blood or ink; 'tis sweet to put and end To strife; 'tis sometimes sweet to have our quarrels, Particularly with a tiresome friend: Sweet is old wine in bottles, ale in barrels; Dear is the helpless creature we defend Against the world; and dear is the schoolboy spot We ne'er forget, though there we are forgot. - Canto I CXXVI I have generally been taking it slow with Byron, as I find him to be just a tad more difficult to read in comparison to the likes o 'Tis sweet to win, no matter how, one's laurels, By blood or ink; 'tis sweet to put and end To strife; 'tis sometimes sweet to have our quarrels, Particularly with a tiresome friend: Sweet is old wine in bottles, ale in barrels; Dear is the helpless creature we defend Against the world; and dear is the schoolboy spot We ne'er forget, though there we are forgot. - Canto I CXXVI I have generally been taking it slow with Byron, as I find him to be just a tad more difficult to read in comparison to the likes of Keats. However, I must admit that "Don Juan" is a pleasant surprise among other works that sometimes border on insipid and simply dripping with classical allusions that get old so, so fast. As a satirical work, this poem does its job really well- it is clever but not too wordy, funny but not low-brow, and insightful but not rambling. In other words, I am very glad that "Don Juan" is the last work I saved to read in my summer of Byron, so to speak. It leaves a good impression on a poet that I have a harder time enjoying. Essentially, "Don Juan" is a collection of adventures that the titular character embarks on, spanning from his birth to his young adulthood to his full-fledged adulthood. The work is characterized by an enjoyable Spanish flair, almost reminiscent of the likes of Don Quixote. All in all, it is pleasantly funny because of what I have already mentioned as well as the fact that Byron really tends to insert himself into the narrative with little quips against poets from time to time, particularly attacking Wordsworth. Despite the upsides of "Don Juan", I fear that my former difficulties in reading Byron sort of got in the way of me truly enjoying myself. I'm not sure if I can put a finger on it or not, but there's just something about Byron that is off-putting. I find that he has some serious strokes of genius from time to time, but there's a lot of Greek allusions to wade through. He can be funny and insightful, but I find that the flow of his poems is not as fluid as I would like. In short, I wish I could like "Don Juan" more, but as it stands, I thought it was alright.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David Robbins

    Poetry is not as much in vogue these days. More's the pity. Many still read Byron, but when you consider that 'Byromania', as it was called, once swept all of Britain and much of Europe and the Mediterranean countries, it's evident how far his popularity has fallen. Which is even more of a pity. Byron's poetry is exquisite, and much of it is as topical today as when he penned the words to paper. This excerpt from the first stanza of CANTO THE FIRST sets the tone for the entire work: "I would to he Poetry is not as much in vogue these days. More's the pity. Many still read Byron, but when you consider that 'Byromania', as it was called, once swept all of Britain and much of Europe and the Mediterranean countries, it's evident how far his popularity has fallen. Which is even more of a pity. Byron's poetry is exquisite, and much of it is as topical today as when he penned the words to paper. This excerpt from the first stanza of CANTO THE FIRST sets the tone for the entire work: "I would to heaven that I were so much clay, As I am blood, bone, marrow, passion, feeling--- Because at least the past were pass'd away And for the future---(but I write this reeling, Having got drunk exceedingly to-day, So that I seem to stand upon the ceiling.)" At that illustrates, wit and humor are hallmarks of his works, and nowhere are they more in play than in his masterpiece, DON JUAN. Yet he could also be abundantly profound. "Nothing so difficult as a beginning In poesy, unless perhaps the end; For oftentimes when Pegasus seems winning The race, he sprains a wing, and down we tend, Like Lucifer when hurl'd from heaven for sinning; Our sin the same, and hard as his to mend, Being pride, which leads the mind to soar too far, Till our own weakness shows us what we are." (CANTO THE FOURTH I) Byron is justifiably famous for his superb satire. So if you enjoy a good story, if you like to grin and laugh, and perhaps have your Muse be touched in turn, you can do no better than to nestle down with DON JUAN.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    What a fun and educational read. The dedication to Southey and other first generation Romantics who turned their backs on liberalism and embraced Tory causes reminded me of Byron's great romp in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. For epic tear-downs, Byron's got it. Canto 1 was awesome. The story of Juan's parent's marriage was great and I loved his description of his affair with Donna Julia. Canto 2 has a wonderful quote: "H/e fell upon whate'er was offer'd, like / A priest, a shark, an alderma What a fun and educational read. The dedication to Southey and other first generation Romantics who turned their backs on liberalism and embraced Tory causes reminded me of Byron's great romp in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. For epic tear-downs, Byron's got it. Canto 1 was awesome. The story of Juan's parent's marriage was great and I loved his description of his affair with Donna Julia. Canto 2 has a wonderful quote: "H/e fell upon whate'er was offer'd, like / A priest, a shark, an alderman, or pike." (Stanza CLXII). The third canto wasn't as good, more rambling, but still full of barbs. Canto V notes how everyone wants to write a book recounting their travel experiences in order to win praise. Canto's VI, IX, XIII and XIV were also really good. Overall, Don Juan was a fun melding of satire, political commentary, storytelling, and reflections on societal mores. If we isolated just the Don Juan segments, it'd be an amazing story on its own, but adding in everything else makes it so much better.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I’ve enjoyed two incarnations of Don Juan. This is the second I tried. The first is Mozart’s operatic version. Perhaps no artist came to the subject material more qualified than Lord Byron. Lord Byron’s version is the Paradise Lost or Odyssey of Don Juan treatments. It is epic, filled with humor, passion, drama, melodrama, and action. By the end, Byron’s even gotten a ghost in the mix. But is it a real ghost? You’ll have to read to find out. I’m a big fan of Lord Byron. His poems, even the schma I’ve enjoyed two incarnations of Don Juan. This is the second I tried. The first is Mozart’s operatic version. Perhaps no artist came to the subject material more qualified than Lord Byron. Lord Byron’s version is the Paradise Lost or Odyssey of Don Juan treatments. It is epic, filled with humor, passion, drama, melodrama, and action. By the end, Byron’s even gotten a ghost in the mix. But is it a real ghost? You’ll have to read to find out. I’m a big fan of Lord Byron. His poems, even the schmaltzy ones, succeed in taking me somewhere exotic. Don Juan is sometimes a chore to read, but most of the time it is accessible and quick, exactly what Byron intended. Will you envy Juan? Will you despise him? Will you pity him? If you are like me, probably all three before you reach the final canto. Enjoy!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adam Floridia

    I imagined Don Juan (the character) to be an amoral lethario, but I was quite wrong. The situations that he finds himself in are varied and entertaining, and the narrator, who often throws in his own two cents, is hilarious. Plus, I'm always impressed by an epic poem written in a set structure (for example, the ottava rima as opposed to traditional blank verse). I started this during my intense GRE Lit test prep. I read about half, loved it, but put it aside to study other works. Now, six months I imagined Don Juan (the character) to be an amoral lethario, but I was quite wrong. The situations that he finds himself in are varied and entertaining, and the narrator, who often throws in his own two cents, is hilarious. Plus, I'm always impressed by an epic poem written in a set structure (for example, the ottava rima as opposed to traditional blank verse). I started this during my intense GRE Lit test prep. I read about half, loved it, but put it aside to study other works. Now, six months later, I decide to finally finish it--boy am I disappointed. The narrator was tedious and the action surrounding Don Juan very limited. I wonder if my two antithetical opinions are due to changes in the poem itself or changes in me, the reader...?

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