Don Juan

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Don Juan

(dŏn wän, jo͞o`ən, Span. dōn hwän), legendary profligate. He has a counterpart in the legends of many peoples, but the Spanish version of the great libertine has become the most universal. At the height of his licentious career, Don Juan seduces the daughter of the commander of Seville and kills her father in a duel. When he later visits a statue of his victim and jeeringly invites it to a feast, the statue comes to life and drags Juan off to hell. The earliest-known dramatization of the story is El burlador de Sevilla (1630), attributed to Gabriel Téllez, who wrote under the pseudonym Tirso de Molina. Molière's Le Festin de Pierre (1665) and Mozart's opera Don Giovanni (1787) are perhaps the most famous treatments of the theme. Among the many other literary works that use the unscrupulous gallant as the hero are Byron's Don Juan, Espronceda's El estudiante de Salamanca, and Shaw's Man and Superman.

Don Juan

 

the hero of many works of literature and art. Don Juan is a pleasure-loving cavalier and a violater of moral and religious standards, devoting his life to a search for sensual pleasures; he is the creation of a medieval legend.

One of the first literary treatments of Don Juan is the play by the Spanish dramatist Tirso de Molina entitled El Burlador de Sevilla (1630); his Don Juan, a vain seducer of women, was so socially typical that he attracted the attention of many writers, composers, and artists. Moliere’s comedy Dom Juan (1665) resounded with scourging, antifeudal satire. The hero of W. A. Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni (1787; libretto by L. da Ponte) is a self-willed dreamer, a seeker after the eternal feminine. Such an interpretation was developed in the 19th century by romantic writers (E. T. A. Hoffmann and A. Musset, for example). In Byron’s narrative poem Don Juan (1819-23), Don Juan is not so much a flighty bon vivant as he is a rebel in pursuit of personal freedom. In the humanistic treatment by A. S. Pushkin (The Stone Guest,1830) he is an egoist who tramples upon human laws and is therefore doomed.

REFERENCES

Nusinov, I. M. “Istoriia obraza Don Zhuana.” In lstoriia literaturnogo geroia. Moscow, 1958.
Weinstein, L. The Metamorphoses of Don Juan. Stanford, 1959.
Saint-Paulien. Don Juan: Mythe et réalité. Paris, 1967.

M. A. GOL’DMAN

Don Juan

literature’s most active seducer: “in Spain, 1003.” [Span. Lit.: Benét, 279; Ger. Opera: Mozart, Don Giovanni, Espy, 130–131]
See: Lust

Don Juan

internationally active profligate and seducer. [Span. Lit.: Benét, 279; Ger. Opera: Mozart, Don Giovanni, Wester-man, 93–95]

Don Juan

for murder, devoured by fire. [Span. Lit.: Benét, 279; Ger. Opera: Mozart, Don Giovanni, Westerman, 95]

Don Juan

a legendary Spanish nobleman and philanderer: hero of many poems, plays, and operas, including treatments by de Molina, Moli?re, Goldoni, Mozart, Byron, and Shaw
References in periodicals archive ?
There is a third thematic line which develops the Don Juan myth in the twentieth century and so in almost all literary genres: that of parody and farcical imitations.
In 1931, the Coruna-born playwright, Adolfo Torrado, published a play called Don Juan contra Don Juan, a four-act play written in verse and classified by the author as a dramatic farce.
his fellow seducer, the aristocratic libertin Don Juan. Whereas the
"theory," the dark-haired Don Juan has had his ups and downs.
These scenes contrast with the moment when Don Juan himself is a voyeur, observing the motorcycle couple in the woods, peering almost unwillingly at the mechanics of purely physical union, since these people are truly strangers to him.
As the narrative ends, the cook offers his view of Don Juan's essential personality: "Ich sah ihn als einen, der treu war--die Treue in Person.
The Don Juan figure has captivated writers, musicians, artists, and critics from all over the world.
Don Juan, despite his original configuration as a "burlador," a "trickster" of women who gains their favors through deceit and entrapment, has become synonymous with the ultimate Latin lover, the virile smooth-talking macho seducer women find totally irresistible.
(5) Even within these layered dramatic ironies, however, A claims that his "aim was not to demonstrate but occasionally to illuminate [belyse]." (6) And so he does--De Rougemont goes so far as to say that A's interpretation of Don Juan rivals Mozart's in its magnificence.
In an interesting and well-documented article on literary myths, Philippe Sellier (1984: 112-126) argues that both the myths that shape Western mythologies, even the oldest ones (Ancient Greek, Roman, Hebrew) and the new myths (Faust, Don Juan) share the following set of common features: firstly, they rest on symbolic constructs that elicit emotions in human beings; that is, they move the receiver, and this symbolic foundation provides myths with a very rich indeterminacy in meaning, an exceptional polyvalence.
In this context first his Don Juan, and then the dramatist himself, has been consigned according to Francisco Ruiz Ramon to a critical "Purgatory." (9) In consequence, rather than illustrate and list the mechanics of Jardiel's bons mots and humorous techniques, (10) here I wish to consider his highly personalized "manera de concebir lo literario [...] en apariencia absurda y disparatada pero en la realidad sujeta estrictamente al proceso biologico de la concepcion del ser humano" (OC, I, 1211).
Luis Fernandez Cifuentes emphasizes the role of language in relation to Don Juan's profession of repentance disbelieved by his counterparts, a breakdown of communication also traceable to the letter: "La carte.