Lord ByronDon Juan Jeffrey Maloney, Ryan Nylander, Jinny Chae Period 1
Lord Byron (1788-1824) • One of the chief poets of the romantic movement. • Led a promiscuous life, which ultimately led to his social isolation.
Lord Byron, cont. • The majority of his works have been at some point interpreted as being autobiographical. • In the case of Don Juan, this is a misconception, though Byron does have sexual experience in common with the hero.
Lord Byron, Cont. • Achieved celebrity status in Europe. • In the words of the Oxford Anthology of English Literature, "No author before or since has enjoyed such notoriety, or had an influence so out of proportion with his actual imaginative achievement."
Essential Characters • Don Juan: A Byronic hero, a sexually ignorant individual whose submissive nature repeatedly gets him into compromising situations with women of all ages. • Donna Inez: Don Juan mother and sole guardian, a woman with a “great opinion of her own good qualities.” (Stanza 20) She educated him greatly in the field of the arts and sciences, but refused to teach Juan anything about about sex or women in his upbringing. • Donna Julia: The woman to first fall in love with the 16-year old. She is his first sexual experience, and is unhappily married to 50-year old Don Alfonso.
Essential Characters, cont. • Haidee: A native from the Aegean island. She is Juan’s first true love. When her father and his pirate run Juan away, she dies from heartbreak. • John: A fellow slave to Juan in the markets of Constantinople. They are bought together and later escape together. • Gulbayez (Sultana): Secretly buys Juan and John from the slave market. She lusts after Juan, despite being the wife of a powerful Sultan. After a misunderstanding involving Juan and another woman she orders that Juan and John be executed.
Essential Characters, cont. • Leila: Juan’s adopted daughter. He saved her during the sack of Ismail. • Empress Catherine II: The Christian ruler of Russia, who is very fond of Don Juan; shares her bed with him and showers him with expensive gifts. • Lady Adeline: A married woman of the English aristocracy who resists her lust for Don Juan. • The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke: A voluptuous upper-class lady who flirts with Don Juan. • The Ghost of the Black Friar: A mysterious phantom that Don Juan sees one night.
Don Juan in European legend • A popular folk legend, the story of Don Juan had already been told many times prior to Lord Byron's epic poem. • Don Juan is originally a Spanish libertine, completely devoid of moral restraints and motivated only by cold, emotionless lust. He takes pride in seducing women of all ages and social classes. • Eventually, the remorseless lady-killer meets his end and is dragged into Hell to atone for his crimes. • Byron would naturally have been attracted to such a character for his epic satire, as he led a promiscuous, sexually deviant lifestyle.
Max Sevogt Don Giovanni
Summary and Quotes by Canto • Dedication • And every now and then we read them through, • So that their plan and prosody are eligible, • Unless, like Wordsworth, they prove unintelligible. • He, Juan (and not Wordsworth), so pursued • His self-communion with his own high soul, • Until his mighty heart, in its great mood, (Stanza 90)
Canto I • "Most epic poets plunge 'in medias res' • (Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road), • And then your hero tells, whene'er you please, • What went before—by way of episode, • While seated after dinner at his ease, • Beside his mistress in some soft abode, • Palace, or garden, paradise, or cavern, • Which serves the happy couple for a tavern. • That is the usual method, but not mine— • My way is to begin with the beginning; • The regularity of my design • Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning, • And therefore I shall open with a line • (Although it cost me half an hour in spinning)"
Canto I • "But that which Donna Inez most desired, • And saw into herself each day before all • The learned tutors whom for him she hired, • Was, that his breeding should be strictly moral; • The languages, especially the dead, • The sciences, and most of all the abstruse, • The arts, at least all such as could be said • To be the most remote from common use, • In all these he was much and deeply read; • But not a page of any thing that 's loose, • Or hints continuation of the species, • Was ever suffer'd, lest he should grow vicious."
Canto I • "For instance—gentlemen, whose ladies take • Leave to o'erstep the written rights of woman, • And break the—Which commandment is 't they break? • (I have forgot the number, and think no man • Should rashly quote, for fear of a mistake.)"
Canto I • Juan she saw, and, as a pretty child, • Caress'd him often—such a thing might be • Quite innocently done, and harmless styled, • When she had twenty years, and thirteen he; • But I am not so sure I should have smiled • When he was sixteen, Julia twenty-three; • These few short years make wondrous alterations, • Particularly amongst sun-burnt nations. (Stanza 59)
She thought of her own strength, and Juan's youth, And of the folly of all prudish fears, Victorious virtue, and domestic truth, And then of Don Alfonso's fifty years: I wish these last had not occurr'd, in sooth, Because that number rarely much endears, And through all climes, the snowy and the sunny, Sounds ill in love, whate'er it may in money. When people say, 'I've told you fifty times,' They mean to scold, and very often do; When poets say, 'I've written fifty rhymes,' They make you dread that they 'll recite them too; In gangs of fifty, thieves commit their crimes; At fifty love for love is rare, 't is true, But then, no doubt, it equally as true is, A good deal may be bought for fifty Louis. Canto I
Canto I • This was Don Juan's earliest scrape; but whether • I shall proceed with his adventures is • Dependent on the public altogether; • We 'll see, however, what they say to this: • Their favour in an author's cap 's a feather, • And no great mischief 's done by their caprice; • And if their approbation we experience, • Perhaps they 'll have some more about a year hence. • My poem 's epic, and is meant to be • Divided in twelve books; each book containing, • With love, and war, a heavy gale at sea, • A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning, • New characters; the episodes are three: • A panoramic view of hell 's in training, • After the style of Virgil and of Homer, • So that my name of Epic 's no misnomer.
Canto I • "All these things will be specified in time, • With strict regard to Aristotle's rules, • The Vade Mecum of the true sublime, • Which makes so many poets, and some fools: • Prose poets like blank-verse, I 'm fond of rhyme, • Good workmen never quarrel with their tools; • I 've got new mythological machinery, • And very handsome supernatural scenery. • There 's only one slight difference between • Me and my epic brethren gone before, • And here the advantage is my own, I ween • (Not that I have not several merits more, • But this will more peculiarly be seen); • They so embellish, that 't is quite a bore • Their labyrinth of fables to thread through, • Whereas this story 's actually true." (Stanza 199)
Canto II • Don Juan is sent by his mother to Cadiz to avoid the shame his affair has brought on him. • The boat to Cadiz sinks and Don Juan with part of the crew survive only by escaping on a long boat • The crew quickly runs out of food, eat Juan's dog, then draw straws to decide who will be eaten next • Juan's tutor draws the short straw and everyone who eats him goes mad. • Don Juan is the sole survivor of the journey
Canto III • Essentially a canto devoted to: • Juan meeting and falling in love with Haidee, a native woman on the island Juan lands upon. • An epic catalogue of the many celebrations of Juan and Haidee. • And Byron trashing his other contemporary poets • William Wordsworth,Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Canto IV • Juan and Haidee are discovered by Haidee's father Lambro. • Lambro attacks Juan with a group of pirates • Haidee dies of a broken heart. • Juan end ups shipped away to a slave market in Constantinople.
Canto V • Juan and another slave named Johnson are bought by a black eunuch named Baba who takes them to the palace of Constantinople • Baba forces Juan to dress up like a woman. • Gulbayez, the sultan's 26-year old wife enters and insists Juan kiss her feat. She is in love with him. • Juan refuses Gulbayez advances as he is still in love with Haidee.
Canto VI • The sultan returns with his men and orders Juan to sleep in a Seraglio. • Juan shares a bed with a lovely 17-year old slave named Dudu. • The Sultana, Gulbeyaz, hears of these sleeping arrangements and reacts by ordering the execution of Juan and John. • This canto ends in a cliff-hanger
Canto VII • Juan and John escape with two women from the palace. • They make it to a battle-ground where a Russian General is preparing his final assault against the city of Ismail. • The General is uneasy at the presence of the two women. But consents to their staying when he learns they assisted in Juan and John's escape
Canto VIII • Joining the assault, Juan storms the city Ismail with the army. • The assault results in the death of 40,000 people, including women and children. • Juan is able to save one 10-year old girl named Leila. • After the battle Juan adopts Leila as his own daughter and swears to protect her.
Cantos IX and X: The Russian Court • Don Juan is brought to the court of Empress Catherine II, dressed as a war hero. She immediately lusts after him. • He quickly falls ill of the Russian cold, and she invents some vague political task for him to perform in England as an excuse to send him somewhere warm. • Meanwhile, Don Juan continues to care for the orphan girl. Being Muslim, she refuses to be converted to Christianity. • Notable quotes: • What a strange thing is man! and what a stranger • Is woman! (Stanza 64)
Cantos XI and XII: London • Don Juan is brought to the English court, where he meets once again with the admiration of women and jealousy of men. • He then sets out to find a suitable caretaker for Leila. He finds one in Lady Pinchbeck, a person he deems worthy despite rumors about her chastity. • Notable quotes: • 'Tis strange that the mind, that very fiery particle, Should let itself be snuff'd out by an article. (Stanza 60; of John Keats)
Cantos XIII and XIV: An Upper-Class Feast • Don Juan is still masquerading as "the envoy of a secret Russian mission," which brings him frequently to the mansion of the Amundevilles for diplomatic purposes. He befriends Lord Henry Amundeville and is heavily attracted to his wife, Lady Adeline. • Canto XIII describes one of the Amundevilles' parties in great detail, giving multiple mock-epic catalogues of the wealthy attendants. Byron sees the distinguished guests as English ennui.
Cantos XIII and XIV, cont. • In Canto XIV, Don Juan fares admirably in a fox hunt. He catches the attention of several of the wealthy ladies, including the flirtatious Duchess of Fitz-Fulke. Though she herself is attracted to Don Juan, and bored in her marriage, the Lady Adeline does not pursue an affair with him. • Notable quotes: • Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,/Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast,/Is that portentous phrase, I told you so. (Stanza 50) • 'Tis strange -- but true; for truth is always strange;/Stranger than fiction (Stanza 101)
Canto XV: Prospective Lovers • Lady Adeline is on the brink of abandoning her honor to pursue an affair with Don Juan. In the fashion of the typical Byronic hero, it is Don Juan's apparent lack of interest that makes him so interesting (nil admirari). • The lady suggests marriage to Don Juan, who contests that most of the women he finds attractive tend to be married already. She proposes a list of suitable lovers, but Don Juan is attracted to the Catholic Aurora Raby, who reminds him of his lost Haidée.
Canto XVI: The Black Friar's Ghost • While in the Amundeville's art gallery one day, Juan sees a monk walk by then disappear. • The next morning, Juan's uneasiness becomes apparent and Lord Henry states that he must've seen the Black Friar's ghost. The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke overhears and becomes mischievous. • That night, Juan encounters the ghost once again and confronts it. Beneath its hood, he discovers the voluptuous Duchess.
Canto XVII (Unfinished) • Byron died before he could complete this section. • Here he responds to his critics, comparing himself to great men, such as Galileo, whose ideas were unpopular in their own times. (Don Juan was dismissed by many as immoral, but contrary to Byron's claims it was widely popular.) • Great Galileo was debarr'd the Sun Because he fix'd it; and, to stop his talking, How Earth could round the solar orbit run, Found his own legs embargo'd from mere walking: The man was well-nigh dead, ere men begun To think his skull had not some need of caulking; But now, it seems, he's right — his notion just: No doubt a consolation to his dust. (Stanza 8)
Sent to Russian court, sleeps with Catherine II Catches cold, sent to London Lives with the Amundevilles Sold into slavery Battle of Ismail Banishment, Shipwreck Greek island
The Byronic Hero • An archetypal romantic figure created by Byron, featured most prominently in his earlier poems Manfred and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. • As described by the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the Byronic Hero is "an alien, mysterious, and gloomy spirit, superior in his passions and powers to the common run of humanity, whom he regards with disdain." (P.1672) The narrative centers very closely around the hero, who is always a wealthy aristocrat, ignoring people of lower social classes. • Typically, the hero has a dark secret, the guilt of which drives him to his inevitable doom.
The Byronic Hero, Cont. • Perpetual suffering from the effects of guilt and loneliness strongly characterize the Byronic Hero; the concept of heroic suffering originates with the story of Christ (Peacocke). • He applies the principle of nil admirari, or "demonstrating indifference to desire as a means of attracting it." (Peacocke) Along with his elegance and aristocratic status, this makes him irresistible to the opposite sex. • Lord Byron appears to have modeled this archetype after himself, as he fits most of the criteria. • The title character of John Polidori's "The Vampyre" (1819) was modeled after Byron himself, and the monsters of subsequent vampire fiction have taken on the attributes of the Byronic hero.
Don Juan, Byron's Epic Hero • In his epic poem, Lord Byron deviates considerably from both his signature heroic archetype and the familiar Don Juan legend. • Unlike the malevolent folk villain, Byron's Don Juan is "unfailingly amiable and well intentioned... he is guilty largely of youth, charm, and a courteous spirit" (Norton, P.1690). • The persistent (though unspoken) joke throughout the poem is that the legendary womanizer of European legend is actually sexually submissive. He is merely attractive and compliant. It is the women he encounters that do the seducing.
Byron's Epic Hero, Cont. • Don Juan does endure heroic suffering of a kind, but "he is guiltless and always remains unaltered by the experience, no matter how violent." (Oxford, P. 315) • Furthermore, the narrative is not so centralized to his story that minor characters are unimportant; characters of all social classes are featured and compared on the same level as the youthful aristocrat. (Peacocke) It is suspected that Byron deviated in this way in order to appeal to readers of lower rank, as well as for satirical purposes. • Norton observes that "the poet who in his brilliant successful youth created the gloomy Byronic hero, in his later and sadder life created... one of the great comic inventions in English literature." (P.1690)
Structure: Ottava Rima • The form of verse featured in Don Juan • Written in Iambic Pentameter; follows the rhyme pattern ab ab ab cc • The first six lines typically build into a comedic observation or commentary in the final couplet. • Amongst her numerous acquaintance, allSelected for discretion and devotion,There was the Donna Julia, whom to callPretty were but to give a feeble notionOf many charms in her as naturalAs sweetness to the flower, or salt to ocean,Her zone to Venus, or his bow to Cupid(But this last simile is trite and stupid). (Stanza 55)
Structure: The Hegelian Dialectic • Lord Byron insisted that his poem did not follow any planned structure, and that all plot developments were entirely improvised. • However, an underlying pattern can be detected throughout the epic. Whether this was intentional or merely developed naturally due to Byron's innate poetic sense of aesthetic balance is unclear. • The Hegelian Dialectic is an ancient method of solving a dispute, which is divided into three parts: • 1. a Thesis, in which an idea is presented, which contains the seeds of • 2. an Antithesis, which contradicts the Thesis while simultaneously containing its genesis as well, leading to • 3. the Synthesis, which reaches the truth by uniting the two conflicting ideas. • If we think of this poem as an attempt on Byron's part to resolve the conflict raging within himself, Don Juan can be divided into these three sections.
Hegelian Dialectic, Cont. • The three sections follow a seemingly logical emotional structure. • Section 1: Cantos 1-5 • Begins with an emotional low, in Juan’s failed affair and the shipwreck • Reaches a pleasant emotional peak in Juan and Haidee’s passionate interlude • Ends on another unpleasant note-Juan’s being sold into slavery • Section 2: Cantos 6-10 • Begins with another peak of pleasant emotion, in Juan’s night with Dudu • Spirals down into the brutal emotional low that is the Battle of Ismail • Concludes with Juan’s amorous exploit with Empress Catherine II • Section 3: Cantos 11-17 • Reaches an emotional resolution, the action and excitement having calmed down
Sent to Russian court, sleeps with Catherine II Falls in love with native Haidee Sleeps with Dudu Escapes from slavery, enlists in Russian army Driven away by Haidee's father Catches cold, sent to London Lives with the Amundevilles Washes up on Greek island Bought by Gulbeyaz "War Hero" The Black Friar's Ghost Sold into slavery Battle of Ismail Banishment, Shipwreck III I II
Hegelian Dialectic, Cont. • The relative emotional structures of the first two sections form a rough symmetry with each other and eventually resolve in the more lukewarm third segment. • In Hegel’s philosophy the dialectic was the means by which all knowledge was acquired. The ultimate goal of this system of reasoning was to achieve understanding of the metaphysical Absolute; for the Christian philosopher, to understand the nature of God. • Byron’s search for meaning in his life is reflected by his use of dialectic structure in his magnum opus, Don Juan, which he wrote over a long period of time. His hero’s anticlimactic confrontation with the Black Friar’s ghost just before he died represents his own failure to achieve understanding. (Whissel)
Epic Qualities • In Medias Res: Byron explicitly states that he does not intend to begin in the middle of the story, as the classical poets did, and instead starts at the beginning of Don Juan’s life. • Most epic poets plunge "in medias res" (Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road) ...That is the usual method, but not mine— My way is to begin with the beginning (1.6, 7) • Vast Setting: After being sent away by his mother, Don Juan makes a grand tour of Europe, from Spain to a primitive Greek island, to the 1790 siege on the Turkish town of Ismail, to the Russian court, and finally to the country manors of the the English gentry.
Epic Qualities, cont. • Invocation to a Muse: Byron sarcastically opens the third canto with this line: • Hail, Muse! et cetera.—We left Juan sleeping, Pillow'd upon a fair and happy breast (3.1) This is not his only reference to a muse, but he never makes a serious invocation. • Theme Statement: • Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure. (1.133) The theme is not stated in the first few stanzas, but thematic statements are made occasionally throughout the epic.
Epic Qualities, cont. • Common epic conventions such as epithets and speeches are largely unused. However, the narrator’s lengthy, rambling satirical digressions take the place of epic speeches, especially if we look at the narrator as a character in his own right. • Cataloguing is featured heavily; in Canto XIII, for example, Byron gives an extensive list of the guests at one of the Amundevilles’ parties. • Don Juan does not embody his culture; on the contrary, in the fashion of the Byronic hero, he is an outcast. Lord Byron uses Juan’s status as an outsider to present a satire of every social class that his hero encounters. Thus, the poem is as much a satire as it is an epic.
Epic Qualities, cont. • Divine intervention is not featured; neither does Don Juan journey to Hell. Byron may have eventually included these events, had he finished more cantos prior to his death: • My poem 's epic, and is meant to be Divided in twelve books; each book containing, With love, and war, a heavy gale at sea, A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning, New characters; the episodes are three: A panoramic view of hell 's in training, After the style of Virgil and of Homer, So that my name of Epic 's no misnomer. (1.200) Of course, he wrote more than 12 cantos, and none of them feature Hell.
Works Cited Byron, L. (2007). Don juan. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21700/21700-h/21700-h.htm Greenblatt, S., Greenblatt, F., & et al, F. (2006). The norton anthology of english literature. (8th ed. ed.). New York: W. W. Norton Kermode, F., & Hollander, J. (1973). The oxford anthology of english literature. (Vol. 2, pp. 285-286). New York: Oxford University Press. Peacocke, E. (2010). "a novel word in my vocabulary": Laughter and the evolution of the byronic model into don juan. Informally published manuscript, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA. Available from Anthropoetics: the Journal of Generative Anthropology. (Volume XV, number 2) Retrieved from http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap1502/1502Peacocke.htm Whissel, C. (1999). 'tis more than what is called mobilit'y: Structure and a development towards understanding in byron's don juan. Informally published manuscript, Laurentian University, Greater Sudbury, Canada. Available from Romanticism on the Net. (DOI no. 10.7202/005837ar). Retrieved from http://www.erudit.org/revue/ron/1999/v/n13/005837ar.html