“Don Juan” Byron - a novel in verse - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

“Don Juan” Byron - a novel in verse
Lord George Gordon Byron

Byron's innovation in interpreting the image of Don JuanDon Juan is emphatically faceless. The comely, ordinary young man, unlike his legendary predecessor of the same name, does not conquer hearts and circumstances himself, but he is “taken prisoner” one after another by various ladies and the flow of events leads from Spain to Turkey, Russia and England. But close to him is an unusually active author, a satirist commentator.

The brightness of the event background is neither fantastic nor exotic, but just as emphatically authentic: the expressiveness of concrete everyday details, situations and faces. The narrative is developed in two planes: if the hero, together with Suvorov, participates in the assault on Ishmael, then the author is a contemporary of the Battle of Waterloo, and thus a moving panorama of European social and political life is created at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries. The poem outlines a transition to realism of characters and circumstances. "Don Giovanni", if not the best, then the largest work of Byron, played a very significant role, responding, including specifically, in many, in turn, the largest works of the era - in "Eugene Onegin", for example. Don Juan combined Stern's prose with the psychological novel of the 19th century.

Outstanding contemporaries of Byron (including Walter Scott, Shelley, Pushkin) noted the truly Shakespearean diversity of the poem. Don Juan (1818-1823) is Byron's richest work in terms of content and coverage of reality, which remained unfinished, a great realistic novel in verse. Although its events date back to the 18th century, it gives a broad picture of the socio-political life of the European countries of the 19th century. The novel is striking in its extraordinary artistic diversity: it contains sharp dramatic scenes and political reflections, as well as lyrical digressions.

Byron tells about the adventures of the Spanish youth Don Juan, whom his parents send on a long journey to hush up the scandal over his affair with a married lady. Don Juan ends up on a Greek island; dressed in a woman's dress, he finds himself in the sultan's harem; subsequently fought in the ranks of the Russian army during the capture of Ishmael by Suvorov and was sent as a reward with a report to Catherine II. Finally, fate brings him to England, where he meets the depraved and hypocritical high society. Written in a living language, close to colloquial, perfect in its poetic form, Don Juan is one of the innovative works of world literature.