Byron’s Don JuanOne writer who has not recieved nearly enough credit for his works isGeorge Gordon, who later became known as Lord Byron. This is the man who wrotehis own poetical version of Don Juan. Don Juan is a man who is known for beingable to arouse the desires of women and to love every one he meets. This DonJuan can be viewed, however, as a loosely disguised biography of Byron.
Lord Byron’s father, Captain John, has ancestors that go back as far asthe Buruns in the time of William the Conqueror. Back in this time it was verycommon for people to marry their own cousins. Captain John was married threetimes and was considered to be very smooth with the ladies. Byron was born on January 22, 1788 in London, and the following year heand his mother moved to Aberdeen, Scotland. His father soon followed, but itwouldn’t be long before he would disappear to France and end up dying in 1791. It was just as well because his parents never got along very well.
In Lord Byron’s early years he experienced poverty, the ill-temper ofhis mother, and the absence of his father. By 1798 he had inherited the titleof 6th Baron Byron and the estate of Newstead Abbey. Once hearing this news, heand his mother quickly removed to England. All of Byron’s passions developed early.
In 1803 he had his firstserious and abortive romance with Mary Chaworth. At the age of15 he fellplatonically but violently in love with a young distant cousin, Mary Duff(Parker 10). He soon had another affair with a woman named Mary Gray. Soonhereafter he was involved with many liaisons with such women as Lady CarolineLamb and then Lady Oxford. Then just as Byron was beginning to live his life the way he had alwayswanted to, his mother dies in 1811.
The following year he became immenselyfashionable and notorious. By 1813 he had began another affair with his half-sister Augusta. Continuing his search for the woman of his dreams, he marrysAnabella Milbanke in 1815 and has a daughter the same year. The next year Lady Byron leaves him to visit her parents and neverreturns. Separation papers are signed and he begins another liaison with ClaireClairmont. The following year(1817), they have a baby named Allegra.
Not toolong after this he falls in love with yet another woman, named Marianna Segati. His next love happened two years later, Countess Teresa Guiccioli. Manysay she was his last love and his first. Byron met Teresa at an evening party. They soon began meeting secretly because she was married to Count AlessandroGuiccioli.
She had auburn curls, large lovely eyes, beautifully shapedshoulders and arms, and an abundant bosom. She was completely intrigued byByron’s beauty. Maybe they both felt that fate brought them together. It wascustomary in the code of serventismo for a married woman to have a lover andthe husband wasn’t allowed to be jealous. Count Alessandro did know aboutTeresa and Byron’s love for each other, but never spoke of it (Trueblood 99). After this liaison ended, Byron’s life began to exhale love and devotionin vast quantities.
Then his daughter, Allegra, and one of his close friends,Shelley, died in 1822. Two years later Lord Byron himself died. His body wasthen brought to England and buried in family vault at Hucknall Torkard nearNottingham. At his death he was the most famous poet in Europe and the mostnotorious sexual adventurer. Lord Byron was a professional poet. His letters and journals prove hisconcern to be the best poet around and to be famous was consistently deep andserious.
Ambition for power and popularity came first and remained always theprinciple reason for writing. Byron had a great range of interests andexperiences of ideas and emotion than your average man ever did (Boyd 4). Don Juan is, all-in-all, a legendary lover. Familiar with the Don Juanlegend, Byron deliberately altered the traditional character and made him theinnocent victim of womankind. He experiences love by natural disaster, slavery,war, the court, and the aristocracy.
Its two main epic themes are love and war(Joseph 74). The first two cantos of the poem Byron wrote were published without anauthor or a publisher. Many thought the poem was novel and powerful, and causedgreat misgivings for Byron’s publisher. Others hoped for the poem to bediscontinued. The first sample of Don Juan got a very mixed reception. Byron’spublisher, Murray, told him the poem was too outrageously shocking and to reviseit.
He did not listen to Murray. He believed in what he had created and hewanted to continue it.