Selections from the the illustrations,verse and audio of a new e-book version of Byrons’ comic masterpiece, Don Juan”: available in the Apple iBooks store from September 2012, for the iPad and iPhone.
You can download a sample of the book right now using the button on the right of the page.
The e-book contains the full text of Canto One of Don Juan, more than 20 high-resolution, full-page illustrations and almost two hours of professional audio narration. It uses “read along” technology to synchronise the text and the audio of the poem (unlike this web-extract).
Don Juan is an hilarious, risky, modern poem that uses the Don Juan myth to explore the tangled, intense life and forthright opinions of one of literature’s greatest but also most flawed characters: the author, Gordon, Lord Byron.
Bob Southey! You’re a poet, poet laureate, And representative of all the race. Although ’tis true that you turned out a Tory at Last, yours has lately been a common case. And now my epic renegade, what are ye at With all the lakers, in and out of place? A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye Like ‘four and twenty blackbirds in a pye,
‘Which pye being opened they began to sing’ (This old song and new simile holds good), ‘A dainty dish to set before the King’ Or Regent, who admires such kind of food. And Coleridge too has lately taken wing, But like a hawk encumbered with his hood, Explaining metaphysics to the nation. I wish he would explain his explanation.
Don Jóse and the Donna Inez led For some time an unhappy sort of life, Wishing each other, not divorced, but dead. They lived respectably as man and wife, Their conduct was exceedingly well-bred And gave no outward signs of inward strife, Until at length the smothered fire broke out And put the business past all kind of doubt.
Young Juan wandered by the glassy brooks Thinking unutterable things. He threw Himself at length within the leafy nooks Where the wild branch of the cork forest grew. There poets find materials for their books, And every now and then we read them through, So that their plan and prosody are eligible, Unless like Wordsworth they prove unintelligible.
A real husband always is suspicious, But still no less suspects in the wrong place, Jealous of someone who had no such wishes, Or pandering blindly to his own disgrace By harbouring some dear friend extremely vicious. The last indeed’s infallibly the case, And when the spouse and friend are gone off wholly, He wonders at their vice, and not his folly.
And Julia sate with Juan, half embraced And half retiring from the glowing arm, Which trembled like the bosom where’twas placed. Yet still she must have thought there was no harm, Or else’twere easy to withdraw her waist. But then the situation had its charm, And then – God knows what next – I can’t go on; I’m almost sorry that I e’er begun.
‘And now, Hidalgo, now that you have thrown Doubt upon me, confusion over all, Pray have the courtesy to make it known Who is the man you search for? How d’ye call Him? What’s his lineage? Let him but be shown. I hope he’s young and handsome. Is he tall? Tell me, and be assured that since you stain My honour thus, it shall not be in vain.
None can say that this was not good advice; The only mischief was it came too late. Of all experience ‘tis the usual price, A sort of income tax laid on by fate. Juan had reached the room door in a trice And might have done so by the garden gate, But met Alfonso in his dressing gown, Who threatened death – so Juan knocked him down.