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Don Juan

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  7,137 ratings  ·  219 reviews
Byron's exuberant masterpiece tells of the adventures of Don Juan, beginning with his illicit love affair at the age of sixteen in his native Spain and his subsequent exile to Italy. Following a dramatic shipwreck, his exploits take him to Greece, where he is sold as a slave, and to Russia, where he becomes a favourite of the Empress Catherine who sends him on to England. ...more
Paperback, 584 pages
Published August 26th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published 1819)
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,137 ratings  ·  219 reviews


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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
...more
Alan
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Joseph Spuckler
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Roman Clodia
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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
...more
Draven
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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!
Tracey
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone on earth
Recommended to Tracey by: Stumbled upon this gem
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 ...more
Czarny Pies
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone wishing to understand Pushkin or Michiewicz
Shelves: english-lit
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
...more
Marios
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Joseph Sciuto
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Roger Brunyate
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Allison
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
...more
Daniel Pecheur
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"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
...more
Kinda Hamwi
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing


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...

Maxwell
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Griselda
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Morgan
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Adriana Vb
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing

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
...more
Thomas Skabar
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jennifer
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#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.
Jack
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
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
...more
David
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
...more
Matt
Aug 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, poetry
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,
...more
Abeer Abdullah
wonderful, both modern and archaic, both elements of romanticism and realism. Very beautifully written and exceeded my expectations.
- ̗̀ ash  ̖́-
Jan 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry, classics, school
1.5 Stars
Sarah
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, english-lit
'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
...more
David Robbins
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Drew
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanticism, poetry
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
...more
Jake
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
...more
Adam Floridia
Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it
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
...more
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George Gordon Byron (invariably known as Lord Byron), later Noel, 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale FRS was a British poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. Amongst Byron's best-known works are the brief poems She Walks in Beauty, When We Two Parted, and So, we'll go no more a roving, in addition to the narrative poems Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan. He is regarded as one of the greatest Bri ...more
“All who joy would win
Must share it -- Happiness was born a twin.”
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“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!”
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