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Tirso de Molina (1579—1648)

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Don Juan

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According to a Spanish story apparently first dramatized by Gabriel Téllez (who wrote under the name ‘Tirso da Molina’) in El burlador de Sevilla, and subsequently by Molière in Le Festin de pierre and in Mozart's Don Giovanni, was Don Juan Tenorio, of Seville. Having attempted to ravish Doña Anna, the daughter of the commander of Seville, he is surprised by the father, whom he kills in a duel. A statue of the commander is erected over his tomb. Juan and his cowardly servant Leporello visit the tomb, when the statue is seen to move its head. Juan jestingly invites it to a banquet. The statue comes, seizes Juan, and delivers him to devils. Don Juan is the proverbial heartless and impious seducer. His injured wife is Elvira.

Don Juan is also the subject of plays by Shadwell (The Libertine), Goldoni, Pushkin, and Montherlant, and of a poem by Byron. For R. Browning's Don Juan see Fifine at the Fair, and for Shaw's see Man and Superman. Molière's version was translated by Christopher Hampton (pub. 1974). The Joker of Seville (pub. 1978) by Walcott is an adaptation of El burlador de Sevilla, based on R. Campbell's blank verse translation.

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