Don Juan  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Don Juan is a legendary fictional libertine and seducer who debuted in the Spanish proto-picaresque novel The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest (c. 1630), whose story has been told many times by different authors. The name is sometimes used figuratively, as a synonym for "womanizer." He is the male counterpart of the femme fatale.

El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra (The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest) by Tirso de Molina is a play set in the fourteenth century that was published in Spain around 1630. Evidence suggests it is the first written version of the Don Juan legend. Among the best known works about this character today are Molière's play Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre (1665), Byron's epic poem Don Juan (1821), José de Espronceda's poem El estudiante de Salamanca (1840) and José Zorrilla's play Don Juan Tenorio (1844). The most influential version of all is Don Giovanni, an opera composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, first performed in Prague in 1787 (with Giacomo Casanova probably in the audience) and itself the source of inspiration for works by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Alexander Pushkin, Søren Kierkegaard, George Bernard Shaw and Albert Camus.

Don Juan is used synonymously for "womanizer", especially in Spanish slang, and the term Don Juanism is sometimes used as a synonym for satyriasis.

Intertextuality between Faust and Don Juan

"Certainly Faust is a reproduction of Don Juan. ... Like Don Juan, Faust is a demonic figure, but at a higher level." --Either/Or, Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard, who had been working up a project on the three great medieval figures of Don Juan, Faust and Ahasuerus (the Wandering Jew), abandoned his project, although he later incorporated much of the work he had done into Either/Or.

The literary characters that most influenced Kierkegaard were Don Juan (representing pleasure), Faust (doubt) and the Wandering Jew (despair), and that he used characters based on them in his writings. For example, both Don Juan and Faust personify the demonic in Kierkegaard's Either/Or, Part One.

L'homme fatal

Men who are fatal include Don Juan, Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, most of the heroes in Lord Byron's books (termed the "Byronic hero"), as well as such diverse characters as Billy Budd, Count Dracula, Tadzio in Death in Venice, Harthouse in Charles Dickens' Hard Times, Georges Querelle in Jean Genet's Querelle of Brest, James Bond, and Tom Ripley in Patricia Highsmith's "Ripley" novels.

Chronology of works derived from the story of Don Juan

There is also a book from Jozef Toman with name The life and death of don Miguel de Manara. Both the Flynn and Fairbanks versions turn Don Juan into a likeable rogue, rather than the heartless seducer that he is usually presented as being. The Flynn movie even has him successfully foiling a treasonous plot in the Spanish royal court. Shaw's play turns him into a philosophical character who enjoys contemplating the purpose of life. Beers' play turns him into a poetic, epic character recoiling from the debasing popular image of womanizer and cheap lover.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Don Juan" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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