Don Juan - The Man - The Legend - The Myth

By | June 11, 2018

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Byron as Don Juan, with Haidee, 1831

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “He’s a typical Don Juan”. For centuries, some men have been labeled as smooth-talking, woman chasing, bad and almost dangerous -for-women-to-fall-for types of guys, as a Don Juan. While some men like the idea that they’re somewhat of a Don Juan…others try to steer clear of that reputation. In fact, a non-clinical term, Don Juanism is used to describe a man who desires to have multiple sexual conquests with women. Even today, women will warn their girlfriends about avoiding this type of guy at all cost.

Was this the type of man Lord Byron, most famous for his epic work, Don Juan, had in mind or was it meant to be satirical?

The legend purports the idea that, Don Juan is a famous aficionado and rogue of love who has claimed to have had over a thousand sexual encounters with women who fell for his romantic and charming ways. 

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Lord Byron in Albanian dress

The famous writer/poet of the legendary poem, Don Juan, is George Gordon Byron. He was born on January 22, 1788 in Dover, England with a birth defect, a club foot. George’s father, Captain “Mad Jack” Byron is said to only have married his mother, Catherine Gordon solely for her income and nobility. George’s father died in 1791 leaving a lot of debt. The birth defect didn’t deter George from playing as a normal child. His love for reading and poetry kept him busy and although his teachers called him a genius, he schoolwork was less than perfect.

Byron inherited the title of Lord and the estate when his granduncle died in 1798. Lord Byron attended Trinity College in Cambridge where he learned the difference between romanticism and reality. Although Byron was more of a lover than a fighter, he was also known for his involvement with politics.

An avid reader and writer, it wasn’t until 1807 when Byron published his first works. A book of poetry called Hours of Idleness. In the beginning, he hoped for forgiveness from the public for not being more useful to the world by being gainfully employed. The book, however, was met with strong criticism by the Edinburgh Review.