Today, after two months of perseverance, I finally finished reading Lord Byron’s epic poem, Don Juan, for my English MA (and the 2017 Reading Challenge). Unquestionably, this is a piece of literature that I would never have read had it not been forced upon me, but as with John Milton’s Paradise Lost, I found an appreciation (certainly not a love) for the work.
Title: Don Juan
Author: Lord Byron
Category: #31 A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”
Don Juan’s grand journey across continental Europe is second only to his personal growth during this epic poem. Juan’s personal life is peppered with encounters with exotic women, shipwrecks, war, and grandiose splendour. The writing style is effortlessly poetic and free-flowing, but Byron often goes off on tangents and political rants that have absolutely nothing to do with Juan’s exploits.
There is no getting away from the fact that this is a long poem; honestly, at times it felt as though it was never going to end, but Juan’s adventures are largely fun-filled and entertaining, and I do feel a sense of accomplishment in having read the masterpiece in its entirety.
As I have done with many literary epics, I listened to the audiobook whilst reading along, and I am so thankful for the ability to do this. It certainly allowed me a much deeper understanding of the plot, and Byron’s amusing innuendos and nuances, that will now, hopefully, enable me to write a halfway decent essay. As for re-reading, it’s certainly improbable, but you never know, Byron might just inspire a PhD out of me yet!
For more content, visit @charlottebibliophile on Goodreads, Instagram and YouTube