About a month ago, I read THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN by Douglas Carlton Abrams. I knew little, if anything, about Don Juan; however, I really enjoyed how the author chose to portray him -- you can read my review here. I am so grateful that Mr. Carlton Abrams is joining me today at Booking Mama with this great guest post. You will get some insight into another side of Don Juan -- the one who appears in the pages of THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN.
Was Don Juan truly nothing more than a rapist and a villain? You would certainly think so, judging by how he has been portrayed over the centuries.
From his inception, Don Juan has been depicted as a libidinous scoundrel, capable of rape, misogyny, and even murder. When Tirso de Molina first created the character of Don Juan in the early seventeenth century, he did so as a warning against the dangers of rampant male sexuality and the galanteadores, who were seducing the women of the time. Later, in Mozart and Da Ponte's opera Don Giovanni, Don Juan rapes a woman and kills her father almost before the curtain even rises.
But would Don Juan have been capable of feeling and doing much more? Male desire can be villainous and overpowering, but it is also multi-dimensional, ranging anywhere from heroic passion to caring tenderness. Any man long rumored to be the world's greatest lover would certainly have understood these subtler aspects of desire, as well as the unspoken needs of the women he loved.
It is this side of Don Juan's story that motivated me to write The Lost Diary of Don Juan. I wanted to explore the true nature of love and passion by creating a more complex Don Juan than the one we usually meet. His previous incarnations in plays, novels, and films have only allowed us to see the man from a distance, and we have judged him accordingly. Reading about his life in the form of an historical diary set in Golden Age Sevilla lets us go further into the body, mind, and heart of the man himself. What we find there is far more than an indifferent playboy, but rather a man for whom romance was elevated into an art form, a Casanova with a calling.
This is a Don Juan worthy of far more than mere lust and villainy, a man capable of forming deep and complex relationships with women. This 16th century Don Juan is worth recovering for the 21st century, if only to provide balance in a culture that all too often forgets the true complexity and mystery of desire.
I am very excited to have a copy of THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN to share with one of you! Please leave a comment with your e-mail address after this post. If you want to double your chances, blog about this post with a link back here. The contest is open until Friday, October 24th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will announce the winner the following day. Unfortunately, this contest is only open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses. Good luck!