In this series, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of literary and historical events of the Romantic period. This is the second of a two-part OTD blog by Dr Emily Paterson-Morgan, Director of The Byron Society. The first was released yesterday to mark the bicentenary of Byron completing and Cantos III and IV of Don Juan and dispatching them to England. Click here for the first part.
In the previous
post, I discussed the first Act of what is, I think, both the worst adaptation of
Byron’s Don Juan and also the funniest in its ham-fisted attempts to simplify
the delicious subtleties of one of the greatest and most complicated poems in
the English language into a low-brow theatrical romp fit for the masses. This is the ‘three-penny Acting drama’ titled Don Juan:
A Musical Drama in Three Acts, attributed to Charles Milner, a bizarre
creation which reduces Byron’s satirical epic to a series of fighting and fornication
scenes complete with a score of
songs and what the author’s stage directions hubristically describe as ‘ballets’.
At the end of Act
I, Juan has seduced (or been seduced by) both the beautiful Donna Julia and her
equally libidinous maid, discovered the cuckolded husband Don Alfonso in a
compromising position with Juan’s own aunt, …read more