George Gordon Byron, Don Juan

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The high-spirited, digressive, conversational and often masterful comic epic Don Juan is the capstone of Byron's poetic career. Begun in 1819 and published in a series of instalments, the poem takes its hero through comic, erotic and martial adventures that were stopped only by the poet's death in 1824. In one of the poem's many self-reflexive moments, Byron commented:

I write what's uppermost, without delay;
This narrative is not meant for narration,
But a mere airy and fantastic basis,
To build up common things with common places. (14. 7)

The meandering momentum of the narration, however, should not blind us to the seriousness of the poem. Don Juan, as several critics have …

1925 words

Citation: Mole, Tom. "Don Juan". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002 [, accessed 02 October 2023.]

5556 Don Juan 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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